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Grandview development gains approval for guest suites, eyes construction

January 15, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

With the final approval of the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council this week, the Grandview at Bay Beach high-rise condominium development is ready to take off.

The developers needed approval from the council for two guest suites to be added to the 58 units in the 11-story luxury condominium development. The project received approval in 2017 but has been in development since that time, according to Al Zichella, vice president of development for Naples-based London Bay Homes. The developers hope to break ground this month.

Town staff had sent the project back to the council over the suites since a 2001 settlement agreement didn't reference the guest suites although it allowed for 58 units.

Article Photos

Al Zichella, vice president of development for London Bay Homes, stands in front of a rendering of the Grandview at Bay Beach condominium development which will be adjacent to the Manatee Bay at Waterside condominium development which is in the background.


"My recollection was that there were other Waterside developments up and so we were taking it from here forward," Murphy said. He said Lee County approved the original developments.

According to Lisa Van Dien, general counsel and vice president for London Bay Homes, the issue in front of the council over the guest suites related to a settlement agreement between the town and the former developers of the property in 2001 relating to several buildings at the site. The guest suites won't be long-term living residences and don't have any kitchens, according to Van Dien.

According to Gary Kaufmann, president of the Waterside IV at Bay Beach Condominium Association, most of the seven buildings in the Waterside section of Bay Beach Lane where the development is going, have 58 units with guest suites. "It's always been that way," he said. One site didn't have guest suites because they wanted a larger social room, he said.

"Whether they've got two guest suites or not it's not going to complicate anybody's life. And so in that sense the practical me wants to say (yes) sure have them, but I don't see any basis for it," Cereceda said in explaining her decision to oppose the two suites.

Councilmember Joan Shamp said she didn't see any basis for it either based on the settlement agreement. Hosafros indicated that if the previous developments built on the site were allowed to have the guest suites then she would support them.

"Those are amenities. Those are sales tools the developers use to sell the units," Murphy said. He said the guest suites allow family or friends to stay with people who live at the development when visiting.

The board voted 3-2 to approve the two guest suites for the development at 4530 Bay Beach Lane, with councilmembers Bob Butcher, Hosafros and Murphy voting in favor of allowing the two guest suites.

Each of the 58 units in the development will be between approximately 2,400 square feet and 2,700 square feet, Zichella said. There will be three different models with an estimated price range between $990,000 and $2 million, he said. Zichella said the penthouse suites could run just over $2 million.

The total investment in the project is estimated at $50 million. The architects will be Tampa-based Curts Gaines Hall Jones. Zichella said this is the last available high-rise site on the south side of the island, where boaters have private docks lined up alongside the shore near the Bay Beach development.

Since taking over the site, Zichella said the developers have agreed to extensive landscaping and will be constructing a 1.2-mile walking path around a scenic nature area on site that has ponds and was formerly a golf course. Zichella said the company has agreed to the asphalt path at the request of the Estero Bay Improvement Association.

They will also construct a walkway around the new tower along the mangroves. There will be a community amenity deck on the second level overlooking Estero Bay. The new building is across the street from Waters Edge and Dolphin Pointe, adjacent to Manatee Bay.

The London Bay Development Group was founded by Mark and Gemma Wilson and has a sales office on site at Bay Beach that was constructed for approximately $1 million and a new parking lot. They have worked on projects from Naples to Sarasota including the Founders Club in Sarasota and Bayview on Estero Bay. "The market has been good," Zichella said. "It's reasonably strong."

The construction will take an estimated 15 to 17 months, Zichella said. The target date for completion and occupancy is the summer of 2021.



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