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Updated: County tags Bridgewater Inn; building ‘unsafe’

By Staff | Jan 14, 2016

Updated: Owner says county action overblown

A Lee County Building Department action related to the Bridgewater Inn has been overblown, inn officials said Thursday, adding the historic building is open and renting rooms.

“This whole thing got way out of hand,” manager Diane Martini said. “We’ve had structural engineers in for months to examine the building for our regular maintenance. We were planning the necessary repairs when this happened and the repairs will be made soon. The Lee County Building Department has only cited four rooms. The rest of Bridgewater Inn is open for business and still renting rooms.”

On Tuesday, the Lee County Community Development, Community Services Division posted a sign at the Bridgewater Inn in Matlacha that said “Demo Motel.” That sign was modified today to read “Repair Motel.”

According to the “Dangerous Building” sign posted on the front of the building the “floor and structural members underneath have decayed to the point of failure” and “all connections, bolts, straps, anchors have deteriorated and are rotting away.” Also, “pilings have settled, beams are deflecting to maximum tolerances”.

Thursday’s update from Tim Engstrom, Lee County Government communications specialist, clarifies the issue.

“County building officials have tagged as unsafe and have stopped occupancy of four of the rooms. The rooms have some structural issues with the floors caused by some deterioration of the joists and fasteners underneath,” the release states.

The Bridgewater Inn is a Matlacha landmark that dates back to the 1920s. The building, located at 4331 Pine Island Road, N.W., was built on a dock that extends into Pine Island Sound and was designed after the famous stilt fish houses that pepper Southwest Florida.

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Original story:

Lee County has tagged the Bridgewater Inn in Matlacha, saying the historic structure is “unsafe.”

“This building is unsafe and its use for occupancy has been prohibited by the Lee County Building Department. Only persons engaged in repair or demolition may enter,” the posted notice from the Lee County Community Development, Community Services Division posted on Tuesday states.

According to the “Dangerous Building” sign posted on the front of the building the “floor and structural members underneath have decayed to the point of failure” and “all connections, bolts, straps, anchors have deteriorated and are rotting away.” Also, “pilings have settled, beams are deflecting to maximum tolerances.”

The Bridgewater Inn is a Matlacha landmark that dates back to the 1920s. The building was built on a dock that extends into Pine Island Sound and was designed after the famous stilt fish houses that pepper southwest Florida.

“This is bad news for Matlacha,” said Jim Frock, owner of the nearby Seven Seas Bait and Tackle Shop. “If we lose the Bridgewater Inn it will effect all of the businesses here.”