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6 days ago, 10/16/2014 at 4:59pm

Sunset at Junkanoo'sJunkanoo’s Property Sold

Another long-standing beach landmark changed hands this week as Junkanoo’s property was purchased by local developers Terry Persaud of Persuad Properties and Joe Orlandini on Wednesday. Restaurant owners will lease the property back from the new owners and both restaurants will continue to be operated by current management.

"The first thing I want people to know,” Orlandini said, "is that Junkanoo’s will remain open through the winter season this year and Fresh Catch will remain open for years there.”

The new owners plan to build ten single-family homes on the property, beginning in mid-2015, after taking down the building that currently houses Junkanoo’s. The building housing Fresh Catch will remain for several years, according to Orlandini.

The property has quite a history. The 80+ year old building began as Ma Turner’s Honeymooners’ Houseboat, according to the Estero Island Historic Society, becoming the Pelican Hotel & Restaurant when the houseboat was pulled up onto the sand in 1933. The Reasoner Family purchased the property in the late 1950’s and held it until East Coast Restaurants purchased it in December 1992. The property has been a mainstay since, anchoring the southern end of the more commercial northern end of the island.

Orlandini is involved in several Fort Myers Beach development efforts and speaks of each of them with excitement for what it will bring to the community he calls home. He and Persaud Properties are working to finalize a tenant/partnership agreement for the old Top O Mast property in Time Square, which Persaud and Orlandini purchased in August. He’s also working on a plan for a north-end parcel, comprised of 611-673 Estero Blvd, where they plan to build 9 single-family homes.

"We’re working with a professional planner and really want to develop that property with a true old beach cottage feel to it. It is going to be a stylish, really cool development!”

To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, the only constant in life is change; especially here on Fort Myers Beach where we are in the midst of redevelopment just about everywhere you turn. What we’re not often offered is a chance to appreciate one of our iconic landmarks before it’s gone. Islanders are encouraged to come out and enjoy Junkanoo’s and Fresh Catch this season and Fresh Catch for years to come!

Missy Layfield