Fishermen’s Village, the city’s major tourist magnet, maritime port, and dining and retail center overlooking Charlotte Harbor, is poised to undergo a two-phased, $40-million renovation and redevelopment.
The announcement last week by the principal owners of Fishermen’s Village launches the start of immediate renovations and lays the groundwork for a five-year expansion phase at the 35-year-old facility, all of which will be undertaken with private financing, requiring no tax breaks or financial liability on the part of the City of Punta Gorda, said investment partners Jon Larmore and Jeremy Hamilton.
Larmore and Hamilton are executives and managing partners of ArciTerra, parent company of ATA Fishville FL, LLC, based in Phoenix, Arizona, which owns Fishermen’s Village.
“Fishermen’s Village has grown into a regionally significant destination that offers a unique culture and charm that have not been replicated elsewhere,” Larmore said from his Phoenix offices. “The time is right to build on this successful model and ensure its productivity for years to come.”
Patti Allen, long-time general manager of Fishermen’s Village, described the impact of the two-phased work plan to Punta Gorda City Council in its April 15 session: “Our improvements will create more than 100 new jobs and significantly increase revenues to the city from new sales, property taxes, and payroll taxes. We believe that our plans will help fuel ongoing efforts to establish Punta Gorda as a top-tier destination for tourists, snowbirds and year-round residents,” she said.
The renovation and development will occur in two phases. Phase one, scheduled to begin immediately and budgeted at approximately $8 million, includes:
- Constructing new main entrance: designed to be more welcoming.
- Renovating center court: removing plantings and infrastructure that block harbor views; raising the floor height to be level with the mall walkway; adding palm trees, new furniture, new decking for waterfront and sunset views, a moveable stage and retractable presentation screen; and adding beverage and food service.
- Creating additional parking.
- Extending the Punta Gorda Harborwalk: to follow the shoreline and waterside of the village perimeter terminating at Marion Avenue, providing spectacular sunset views and directly connecting Fishermen’s Village with downtown Punta Gorda.
- Opening Scotty’s Brewhouse restaurant (scottysbrewhouse.com): in the former Oyster Bar location.
- Expanding and renovating restroom facilities.
A major feature of phase one includes completing the Punta Gorda Harborwalk extension, which will save the city more than a half-million dollars in capital outlay. “Because Fishermen’s Village is proposing shoulder the cost of the Harborwalk extension, the City of Punta Gorda will not have to spend $335,000 budgeted for this, freeing those dollars for other projects,” Allen told City Council.
Phase two, anticipated to be completed within five years at a cost of $30-35 million, will include:
- Building a new mixed-use building: housing retail shops, restaurants, and new marina facilities, including a ship store, showers, laundry and community gathering space.
- Constructing a parking deck: to accommodate approximately 150 additional parking spaces.
- Adding a sand beach with zero-entry and negative edge pool: overlooking the harbor.
In order to facilitate and finance the projects, Fishermen’s Village is asking the city to allow it to purchase adjacent property parcels that are not already owned by ATA Fishville, LLC. Several independent appraisals exist on the parcels, including the most recent one obtained by the city for approximately $3.5 million.
“The managing partners of Fishermen’s Village are committed to these buying the parcels from the city at the full amount of their appraised value, $3,510,000, because they want this to be a good and fair deal for the city and our community,” Allen said. In addition, the investors will not request city tax breaks, enterprise incentives, or other considerations in order to undertake their expansion plans.
In her presentation to City Council, Allen said ATA Fishville partners are committed to every step of these major enhancements: “Fishermen’s Village is an outstanding economic engine for our city and one of its largest employers. We are building on a proven concept and refreshing a highly successful business model in order to fuel that economic engine for decades to come,” Allen said.