Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson told a group of real estate executives that he's working hard to bring a new hotel downtown.
“I have been in discussions with three viable hoteliers,” says Henderson. One of those would invest $35 million in cash, he notes. “Keep your fingers crossed on that one.”
Henderson has been leading the charge on downtown development with the creation of a $5.4 million water-retention basin that would help new developments comply with costly stormwater requirements. Downtown Fort Myers hugs the Caloosahatchee River, and developments must comply with strict rules governing water runoff when it rains.
Henderson, a real estate developer himself, says the 220-room hotel project will be challenging. “It isn't a slam dunk,” he warned a gathering of the Real Estate Investment Society in Fort Myers.
Henderson noted that the basin and other related projects have been delayed because of accusations that the mayor may be a beneficiary of the project and should abstain from voting. Henderson is a longtime property owner and investor in downtown Fort Myers.
However, Henderson says he has two legal opinions that say he has no conflict as a public official and is awaiting a third due in February. He called critics “mean people messing with me.”