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Business Observer Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 8 months ago

Iconic downtown office, retail building sold for $4.4 million

The downtown Fort Myers deal went from start to close in 65 days.

FORT MYERS — A Canadian company with a satellite office in Southwest Florida has purchased a landmark historic building in downtown Fort Myers — site of what purportedly was the city’s first speakeasy — for $4.4 million.

Known locally as the Bank of Fort Myers & Trust Building, the three-story complex is at the corner of 2282 First Street and 1500 Jackson Street. Fischler Property Co., a commercial real estate firm focused on investment, infill and redevelopment across Southwest Florida, represented the seller, 2282 First Street LLP, according to a statement. The deal, from listing to close, was done in 65 days, the release adds. “We marketed the property internationally and received a considerable amount of interest,” says Phil Fischler, who worked on the deal with Fischler Property Co.'s Michael Curran. 

Courtesy. Phil Fischler with Fischler Property Co. represented the seller in the deal.

The buyer is PSFH Fort Myers LLC, an entity connected to Peter Splinter Family Holdings, according to Florida Division of Corporations records. Peter Splinter is a prominent Canadian homebuilder, developer and entrepreneur, and the founder and president of Kingston, Ontario-based Braebury Properties. The firm, with offices in Canada and San Diego, in addition to a presence in Florida, has residential, commercial and storage properties, according to its website.  

The 20,733-square-foot Fort Myers building was built in 1911. Current tenants, a mix of restaurant, retail and offices, include Izzy’s Fish and Oyster and Soni Yoga on the first floor; BSSW Architects on the second floor; and property management firm Great Jones on the second and third floor. BSSW Architects renovated the building in 2005, the release states. The current tenants are expected to remain in place under the new owners.  

Fischler’s initial assignment was to lease some of the vacant office space. “After bringing the property to 100% occupancy, we worked closely with the owners to best position the property for sale, listed it and found the buyer, and achieved the seller’s target price,” Phil Fischler says in the release. “This transaction further demonstrates the strength and appeal of downtown Fort Myers to major-market investors. Our community continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the nation for both employment and population growth, expanding at nearly three times the national average.” 

According to historical records, the corner block where the building now stands was originally the main headquarters for the Fort Myers military establishment and later the site of the Heitman family home and Heitman Arcade, the release states. The Italian-designed building that now stands was constructed by the Heitman estate to house the Bank of Fort Myers & Trust Co. on the first floor, which also included leased offices, a druggist, and other retail stores. The Odd Fellows Hall, on the third floor during prohibition, is allegedly the spot where the city’s first speakeasy called home.

Courtesy. Known locally as the Bank of Fort Myers & Trust Building, the complex was built in 1911.

The building’s distinctive façade will not change under the new owners, the release states.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Fischler Property Co. represents commercial investors and developers from Toronto, Tel Aviv, São Paulo, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Atlanta and Miami. 


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