Brightwater a potential game changer for NFM
Imagine taking your boat out on the clear blue waters, diving in for some snorkeling, or just sitting on the white sand along the shoreline, sunbathing.
Now, imagine doing that in North Fort Myers.
Sound farfetched? Not if a planned development off Pritchett Boulevard comes to fruition, one that those involved call a potential game-changer for the area.
Brightwater is a planned community from Metro Development with more than 1,300 units to be located east of Interstate 75 and north of Bayshore Road on both sides of Pritchett Parkway.
The project will be developed in four stages, with homes expected to start in the mid-to-upper $200,000 range.
But the main attraction will be a manmade lagoon, the first of its kind in the nation, to be built by Crystal Lagoons. It will be about the size of eight football fields, where residents will be able to swim, kayak and sail, using a technology that will keep the waters clean while using a miniscule amount of energy or chemicals.
Greg Singleton, president of Metro Development, said they are bringing to the area a great place to live while bringing middle- to upper-middle class living to a still-depressed area of Lee County actively seeking just such a project..
“The idea is to bring rooftops to the area, and that will bring commercial development. It’s right there on I-75 so it’s easy to get in and out of,” Singleton said.
Singleton has owned the property for several years and wants something that will differentiate itself from other communities and be a key driver to those who want to buy in.
Singleton said he and his company looked into the lagoon concept and were soon hooked.
“We went to South America and saw their lagoon in their home office in Chile and in Mexico. It is such a visual thing,” Singleton said. “We literally stuck our toes in the water. We thought it would be perfect for North Fort Myers because it’s an amenity that’s affordable, unique and cutting edge.”
This will be one of four developments Metro is bringing with this concept. The others will be in the Tampa Bay area.
Crystal Lagoons has developed a technology, which allows building and maintaining crystal clear lagoons of unlimited size, at low costs, anywhere in the world, said Uri Man, Crystal Lagoon U.S. Corporation chief executive.
The lagoons use 100 times fewer chemical products than conventional swimming pools, uses about 2 percent of the energy needed by conventional filtration systems, can use any type of water with low consumption, with compensation only for evaporation, Man said.
Man adds the technology has also allowed areas to be converted into prime “oceanfront” property where it previously wasn’t possible. It creates seafront properties anywhere and can increase the density and value of properties.
“This enables developers to promote an active, healthy lifestyle to those who are interested in it. It’s a big differentiator when you can walk outside your house and be near a beach,” Man said. “This changes the paradigm from location, location, location to creating your own location.
While North Fort Myers has nearly 17 miles of waterfront on the Caloosahatchee River, this would give the area a dose of “ocean living” and a destination.
“Now, you have something other parts of the country don’t have. It’s really a game-changer. Municipalities are scrambling to be the first to have them because of the impact on property values and lifestyles,” Man said. “It’s revolutionizing real estate development. You can go to the beach by walking up the street.”
Permitting has already begun. Work could begin as early as next month, with construction of the lagoon coming as early as October. It is expected to take about a year to construct.
“It’s the first large development we’ve had since Moody River. It would spur development of all kinds,” said Michael Land, president of the North Fort Myers Civic Association. “I’m a beach bum myself. I lived on the Jersey shore for 41 years. I’d love it if it came true. I’d consider moving there myself.”
Land said the development, with that kind of attraction, would tell the world that North Fort Myers is on the move and he’s looking forward to seeing it.
“As vice president of the design review panel I can’t wait for it to come before us for an application for approval,” Land said.