Weeks Fish Camp redevelopment could include a restaurant

A restaurant could be built next to a public boat launch at the former Weeks Fish Camp if the developer’s plans are approved.

Bayview on Estero Bay, a residential development that has promised public water access to boaters, wants to add a 7,500 square foot gourmet restaurant open to the public.

The Bonita Springs Zoning Board approved the change at a meeting on Tuesday. City council is expected to consider final approval at a meeting on November 3.

London Bay Homes, which plans to build a 300-unit residential community, wanted to provide more services to the public, said Alexis Crespo, site planner.

“This will really provide a great waterfront amenity for the residents of Bonita Springs that will only be enhanced by the addition of this restaurant to the project,” Crespo said.

Developments in Estero Bay:London Bay Homes to Own Raptor Bay High Rise Project

The property at the end of Coconut Road has been a hot topic for boaters since Weeks Fish Camp closed in 2014. The site had been a popular boat launch for decades before a developer bought the 30 acres. with the promise of building a large marina and a restaurant.

The idea fell through and London Bay bought the property in 2018 and submitted plans to develop it. There was no need to add public access to water despite increasing public pressure.

A layout document for the Bayview on Estero Bay project on the former Weeks Fish Camp property based on a September 2020 document. The layout is subject to change slightly as London Bay Homes adds a public restaurant to the site.

A public boat launch as well as 15 on-site boat trailer parking spaces will be open to the public in perpetuity as part of the London Bay development plan. Another 10 parking spaces are available at a different site about a mile east on Coconut Road with a public shuttle. A small boat store, public restroom, and sunset park have been included in the three-acre public space.

Bonita Springs City Council approved the plan in September 2020. Some residents initially opposed to the plan, including former landowner Jim Weeks, had ultimately given their blessing to the project.

The approved project included two 20-story towers over a two-level parking garage – one approved for 286 feet high and the other 245 feet high. Five smaller buildings have been approved for the site. It was envisioned as a continuing care retirement community with 300 condominium units and everything from lodges to pickleball fields and private restaurants.

London Bay has pivoted and now plans to build a full residential development with 300 luxury condos, said Rich Yovanovich, London Bay lawyer. The new request includes the ability to turn some of the condos into hotel rooms, but Yovanovich stressed that this was a back-up plan.

“We are going full steam ahead on a multi-family project,” he said.

A view of the former Weeks Fish Camp boat launch and marina compared to what London Bay Homes proposed for their Bayview on Estero Bay project.

The developer also requested to increase the height of the short tower to match the taller building based on market research, Yovanovich said. London Bay plans to raise the ceilings of the main lobby and several units on the upper and penthouse floors.

A new Coconut Road traffic study, counting restaurant and hotel rooms, indicates that “the road continues to operate at an acceptable level of service” with these additions, Crespo said.

City staff agreed with the London Bay findings and suggested that council approve the project.

Four towers at Raptor Bay

Last summer, London Bay bought the Raptor Bay Golf Club from Lennar. The former owner fought Bonita Springs in a multi-year court case that forced city council to approve the construction of four 20-story residential towers on the site.

London Bay has not submitted any site plan to the city, but it is working to develop the land, Yovanovich said.

“We own (Raptor Bay), we control it now, we have plans for the ultimate future development of this site,” he said. “This site has already been approved for towers, and we anticipate these towers will go ahead and be built.”

Thaddeus Mast is a Southern Lee County reporter for the Naples Daily News and The Banner. Support his work by subscribing to our local news organization. Find him on Twitter as @thaddeusmast.

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