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Real estate firm eyed for Seven Islands marketing

October 11, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The city of Cape Coral is apparently ready to rely on a third party to find a developer for the long-anticipated Seven Islands project and, if all goes according to plan, residents could see someone make an investment there by this time next year.

Most on the Cape Coral City Council said at a special meeting Wednesday that the ability to find the right developer for the city-owned acreage would be money well spent, money the city would get back once a developer started work on the project.

City staff recommended the city retain the services of CBRE, one of the world's largest commercial real estate services providers.

Mike McShea gave the presentation for CBRE where he outlined the scope of work. The city would pay a monthly retainer of $7,500 with a no out-of-pocket contract for the city.

CBRE would earn a 3 percent commission payable by the investor when they achieve a commissionable outcome, which could include a sale, lease or public-private partnership associated with the property and approved by council.

The city would then be reimbursed for any monthly costs paid to CBRE.

The contract is expected to be approved sometime before the end of the year, with pre-marketing and solicitation beginning in the winter. Bid responses, short list proposers and selection of a developer should happen in the summer, staff said.

The developer would be working on a design concept plan that calls for 995 units of residential, a 240-room resort hotel, a 25,000 square-foot meeting facility and 45,000 feet of commercial space with a community center, park, marina and boat slips.

Councilmember Marilyn Stout was supportive of the proposal as were three other members of council, including John Gunter.

"They will be an asset for the project and I'm in favor of them. The caveat is once successful, it won't cost the city. It's a win-win," Gunter said.

Among the concerns raised were environmental studies and the use of local contractors. McShea said the winning investor would take care of whatever the city wanted.

The city purchased the 48-acre Seven Islands property in 2012 as part of a $13 million land buy of foreclosed parcels.

Though controversial at the time, the purchase has proven to be an investment for the city, with Seven Islands being the crown jewel.

Residents in the Northwest Cape were worried about what might end up there, but in 2016 the city council approved an intense development plan for up to eight stories of vertical development along with other features such as the marina, parks and commercial properties with a goal of turning the area into a destination.

Despite earlier protests, the Northwest Neighborhood Association has been on board with the plan as long as it doesn't become something the neighbors don't want.

The city has placed it on Monday's regular city council meeting agenda as a consent item, meaning unless pulled for discussion and voted down, the resolution will pass along with all other items. Monday's meeting is at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.

In other business at its Wednesday workshop, the City Council discussed community values related to parking.

Robert Pederson, city planner, said parking in residential areas is a problem, and Pederson sought direction from city council on finalizing changes to current parking rules.

Unlike Seven Islands, there wasn't a consensus on how to handle trailers, recreational vehicles, parking on the grass or boat parking.

Council was split on allowing one or two boats in the backyard, handling trucks with racks and utility boxes and even parking on grass.

"We had five cars and four kids. We had emails from people saying they didn't want major changes to grass parking. Some want no rules and some want the tightest rules. Right now, they're a good compromise," Councilmember Dave Stokes said.

Gunter said there should be a common-sense approach to commercial vehicles parked on driveways.

"We allow fully wrapped SUVs and vans, but not small cars and trucks with a sign on them," Gunter said, a sentiment that was backed up by Stout, who said she had signs on her cars until they got stolen.



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