Beaches, culture, entertainment, affordable housing and a tropical climate make the Fort Myers area a favorite for those looking to relocate. Proclaimed the “City of Palms” for its emperor palm-lined boulevards that welcome visitors into the city, Fort Myers provides a wide range of housing options, with several affordable city, suburban and rural housing communities as well as exclusive country club and waterside residences.
No matter what kind of housing you are looking for, one of the communities of greater Fort Myers will be sure to have a place you will love to call home.
Ft. Myers, an early fort and commercial center in colonial Florida, has emerged as one of the State’s foremost centers, with a proud array of financial, educational, cultural, and medical facilities that have made it a favorite for both retirees and an increasingly youthful population. And housing ranges from old Florida through every kind of modern; there is something for everybody.
Families; retirees; young adults; professionals; multicultural; educated; education workers; healthcare workers; service industry workers; construction workers
Master-planned communities; waterfront communities; growing population; new developments; single-family homes; condos; affordable housing
Boating; golfing; community influenced; outdoorsy; suburban; urban; nightlife; family friendly; active
Community events; festivals; entertainment; independent boutiques; independent restaurants and brewpubs; easy boating access to Gulf of Mexico; family activities; baseball spring training
Boaters; golfers; outdoor recreational sports enthusiasts; families; snowbirds seeking winter homes; people seeking affordable homes
AROUND THE AREA
Located along the southern shore of the Caloosahatchee River, the greater Fort Myers area with the regions of the city of Fort Myers, South Fort Myers, the Iona-McGregor corridor and Gateway are the heart of Lee County. Fort Myers is the seat of Lee County and is the principal cultural, economic, educational and transportation center of Southwest Florida. It also serves as the judicial center with a federal courthouse in the city. About 213,000 people live in the 195 square miles of greater Fort Myers. The projected population growth rate of the region varies, with Fort Myers and Gateway showing growth around two percent and South Fort Myers and the Iona-McGregor corridor showing growth less that 1.5 percent. The major transportation artery of U.S. Highway 41 runs through Fort Myers and South Fort Myers. I-75 runs through the eastern side of Fort Myers and past Gateway. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is located in Gateway and is reachable quickly from anywhere in greater Fort Myers.
Named in honor of Col. Abraham C. Myers, the son-in- law of the commander of Fort Brooke in Tampa, Fort Myers was built along the Caloosahatchee River as one of the first bases of operations during the Seminole Indian Wars. Reoccupied during the Civil War, the fort itself was disassembled with some of the wood used in construction of the first buildings in what would become downtown Fort Myers.
No more than 10 families lived in the original town when it was platted in 1876. Cattle, farming and logging were early mainstays of the Fort Myers area. Different parts of the greater Fort Myers area were developed at different times. The City of Fort Myers was developed first. Then homes were built in South Fort Myers and along the Iona-McGregor corridor on the way to Fort Myers Beach. Gateway is an area that has only seen substantive development in the last two decades.
The different districts of greater Fort Myers vary as to the price and type of housing. Homes in Fort Myers and South Fort Myers are more affordable, with the median values closer to the state median. Fort Myers homes run a median of $141,000, and South Fort Myers homes run a median of $166,000. Two-thirds of homes in Fort Myers were valued at below $200,000, and half of homes in South Fort Myers were valued at between $100,000 and $200,000. Homes in Gateway run a median of $222,000, with two-thirds valued between $200,000 and $300,000. Homes in Iona-McGregor run a median value of $176,000 and also two-thirds were valued at between $200,000 to $300,000.
Housing options also run the gamut. The historic Fort Myers river district features new urbanism style living with condominiums in renovated historic buildings in a walkable downtown. Nearby are high-rise luxury condos with views of the river. Single-family homes are available in all areas of greater Fort Myers. Additional options include gated communities, country club golfing communities and condominiums, waterfront homes with boat docks and even equestrian communities. Assisted living communities offer resort-style living with full medical facilities right on site.
In the greater Fort Myers area, the city of Fort Myers and Lee County Parks administer numerous park and recreational facilities ranging from small neighborhood pocket parks and playgrounds to large regional parks, such as the 300-acre Lakes Park that features nature trails and gardens. The county also administers a number of nature preserves, including Six-Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, which keeps a bit of ancient wetlands and woods in modern Fort Myers so that both humans and animals can enjoy the tranquility. The city also features 17 golf courses, nine marinas and recreational sports leagues for youths, adults and seniors. There are two professional baseball parks — jetBlue Park and Hammond Stadium — which host the spring training games for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins, respectively. Gulf of Mexico beaches are nearby at Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island.
Shopping options range from malls with national retailers to big-box stores in shopping plazas to quirky little antique stores in old storefronts. Malls include the indoor Edison Mall, the outdoor and elegant Bell Tower Shops and the faux-downtown Gulf Coast Town Center. Dining choices range from franchised chains to upscale chef-driven fine dining and everything imaginable in between. Greater Fort Myers also offers a variety of ethnic eateries. Many themed restaurants with whimsical décor have opened downtown. The historic downtown City of Fort Myers river district has retained much of its charm, and measures are in place to preserve it. The downtown has become the cultural heart of the greater Fort Myers area, with Art Walk and Music Walk taking place on Friday nights every month.
For major events, such as the New Year’s Eve celebration, the streets are cordoned off and fill with people who have flocked downtown to be a part of the party. The river district is also the night-club district, with a number of chic venues that get the party started close to midnight. The downtown is also home to the Florida Repertory Theatre, just one of a number of theater and arts organizations active in the city. The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall hosts two different symphony orchestras as well as a full season of Broadway plays and touring national and international acts. Museums include the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, the Southwest Florida Museum of History, the Imaginarium Science Center and the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.
Education levels of the populace, and therefore their professions, vary widely throughout the greater Fort Myers area, but many work in retail, healthcare and government. Major employers include Lee Memorial Health System, the School District of Lee County, Lee County Government and Florida Gulf Coast University. Chico’s FAS Inc., the parent company of Chico’s and White House/Black Market, has its headquarters in Fort Myers. Fort Myers is served by the School District of Lee County, with five high schools, seven middle schools, 18 elementary schools and 14 charter schools (including middle and high schools) within the communities. Florida SouthWestern State College, Southern Technical College and Hodges University are located in Fort Myers, and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) near Estero serves the entire Southwest Florida region. The Renaissance Academy in Fort Myers offers an additional wide-ranging catalog of adult non-credit classes sponsored by FGCU, and Lee County Schools also offer adult classes.