Posted by Mark Washburn on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 10:28:46 AM By Mark Washburn / October 2, 2015 Comment
Living and working in downtown Bonita Springs will transform the historic area into a more vibrant community. Bonita Springs’ downtown along Old 41 Road has a lot of potential in the retail marketplace, according to urban retail consultant Robert Gibbs, who was hired by the city to conduct a retail market study to help city leaders work on its downtown redevelopment project. In a presentation last month, Gibbs told an audience of small business owners, government leaders and local residents that the Millennial generation wants to shop at in-town business districts, similar to one being planned now in a new Bonita Springs’ downtown redevelopment project. Forget about national retailers at big malls and plazas, Gibbs said, the future is in unique spaces and quality independent retailers. As an alternative to the large national chains, the refurbished downtown would be an ideal area for limited service restaurants, clothing stores, and supermarket-style grocery stores. Gibbs said potential patrons prefer attractive shopping villages and easy parking spaces. He said more than half of the potential customers would come from less than 5 miles away running from the Gulf Coast to the Lee County line, and Pelican Colony to Imperial Golf Course Boulevards. Folks in the area would rather shop locally and downtown than farther away in big shopping plazas, said Gibbs. City Manager Carl Schwing said the $18.6 million downtown redevelopment project would be a mixed-use development with part retail and part residential use. During the past 9 months, the City and the project team have been working on plans to improve storm drainage; streetscape features, like lampposts, paver crosswalks, and landscape planters; roundabouts at Pennsylvania Avenue and Terry Street; and utility relocations. Underground storage and treatment for storm water within right-of-way will be implemented, as well as additional parking spaces. The project is an important one to revamp and improve Bonita Springs’ historic downtown, boosting the local economy. The city is preparing for future growth in the downtown area, as it continues to embrace and maintain its charming history.
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