Lee Health sold 45.6 acres across from US 41 and Coconut Road in Estero for $32 million.
Coconut Road Estero Apartments LLC, which is owned by South Carolina-based developer Woodfield Development and ELV Associates, bought the land looking to build an apartment complex and town center.
Gary Tasman and Sean Stoneburner of Cushman & Wakefield brokered the deal, which closed Monday.
The Estero land at 23281 Lyden Drive, which is selling for more than $700,000 an acre, is directly across the street from Coconut Point Shopping Center.
“That’s certainly a big number,” Tasman said. “He has rights. But it also has significant infrastructure. There are utilities there. There are sidewalks. There are curbs. There is dirt. There’s a lot of it that’s already there.”
Lee Health purchased the property at the northwest corner of US 41 and Coconut Road as an investment while Lee Health Coconut Point, a 163,500-square-foot outpatient facility, was under construction.
“The property was never intended for a hospital,” said Mary Briggs, a spokeswoman for Lee Health. “Lee Health Coconut Point was designed with an option to build a hospital tower, but since the current facility meets 95 percent of Estero’s medical needs, it was not in our short-term plans to build a hospital there.”
Lee Health raised the ground in early November 2017 with purchases of $8.8 million and $732,540. He added another parcel in March 2020 for $950,000. The land value of $10.48 million is up 205% from the current price.
“Over the past several years, Lee Health has worked collaboratively with various stakeholders, including the Village of Estero, to develop a conceptual plan for the development of the mixed-use land,” Briggs said. “Lee Health never envisioned being the ultimate developer of the property as that is not our core business, but rather bringing in an established developer to bring the vision to life.”
In February, Lee Health’s board of directors voted to put the property on the market.
Woodfield was happy to buy it, said Ross Abramson, who oversees multifamily development.
“We strongly believe in the Estero area,” Abramson said. “There is a lot of job growth, population growth and property value increases. We see tremendous opportunity in the US 41 corridor. Our location in the heart of Estero Village is well positioned to take advantage of continued growth in the region.”
Since it is Estero, Mediterranean style architecture will be needed.
“Having lived in the Coral Gables area of South Florida for the past 20 years, I have a great appreciation for Mediterranean-style architecture,” Abramson said. “We hired Dover, Kohl & Partners urban planning. They are extremely experienced with this style of architecture and even wrote the code for the Mediterranean Village in Coral Gables. Their design envisages street-facing buildings, parking with screened structures and high-quality public spaces to create a walkable and diverse environment.”
The land would have to be rezoned for a planned mixed-use development for Woodland to create a “city center destination”.
Woodland hopes to make the first move within two years, Abramson said. It will be a luxury market-rate apartment complex with surrounding shops and restaurants. The number of units and other details have not yet been finalized.
“We are interviewing potential retail tenants to create an exciting and fun-filled shopping, dining and entertainment experience aimed directly at Estero’s growing population,” Abramson said.