I wrote a blog post about a year ago on the vacated K-Mart on McGregor Blvd, located in the McGregor Pointe Shopping Center. I tried to predict what the next chapter in that Center's life would be. I recently learned a few things and have to say, it is totally different from what I thought was going to be most desirable to the residents of the Iona community.
I've recently learned that the new tenants in the vacated K-Mart box are going to be Habitat for Humanity and Big Lots. Habitat has been looking for new space for awhile and they are very involved in the Iona community's low-income sector. Their cause is fantastic and Kitty Greene does a wonderful job as President of the Lee & Hendry County faction.
Big Lots for years has been complaining of what I'm told is a rat infestation at their current location just less than a mile away from the McGregor Pointe Shopping Center. Presumably agitated by the issue, they would have had to either break their current lease or decline their option to extend their existing lease.
The McGregor Pointe Shopping Center is also home to great restaurants, a family dentist office, and many other tenants who serve well for the community. I personally think that the empty box could have been something else with a little more pizazz. The location couldn't be better, especially with the amount of money in the Iona McGregor submarket. While I wholeheartedly support Habitat For Humanity, I think there were better locations for their offices. That said, the Mimms Family who owns the center is not interested in selling the property, nor are they interested in investing a whole lot of money into it. So for that reason, I think it will remain a center physically and financially, the way it has the last 20 years.
The Iona McGregor corridor is missing an opportunity of redeveloping any of the old and tired shopping centers into something that will benefit the community regarding tourism, home ownership, and general appeal to the submarket itself. Whether it be McGregor Pointe, Island Plaza (Anderson's Bait & Tackle), or Gulf Point Square (Big Lots)
Now, what to do in the "soon to be" vacant Big Lots box. There is a major opportunity with that shopping center and Allan Development Group is working on ideas to present to the current owners. If it is leased to a Call Center, it's a waste. The current ownership group has always made good decisions on their assets, so hopefully we can have a meeting of the minds.
My first vision would be to tear it down and build retail and restaurant space on the ground level with a component of condominiums above it that includes rooftop amenities and sub-structure parking. Why not? You're close to Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach, and still within minutes of every other social and business node in the area. The location lends itself very well to a mixed-use urban redevelopment opportunity with island style features. Your condo owner would be the thousands of people who want to be on Sanibel but are priced out. Your retail base would be the tens of thousands of rooftops within a stones throw from the parking lot and all of the Island residents on their way to and from Fort Myers.
What do you think?