I was walking along First Street in downtown Fort Myers one Thursday morning and ran into Michael Sullivan. First Street in Fort Myers is really the main street in downtown and Main Street is really the third street. It seems that years ago the Caloosahachee River bank was somewhere along First Street, but over the years Edwards Drive and Bay Street were added between the Caloosahatchee River and First Street. In any case, if you are going to open a store that is counting on pedestrian traffic, you will open it on First Street.
It’s on First anyway that I ran into Mike. Mike and his father, Haywood Sullivan, purchased the property along the River in Fort Myers that includes Legacy Harbour Marina. Mike has been active in downtown redevelopment and a big promoter of downtown. About a month ago I met with Mike about his plans for the property and compared ideas on the direction downtown was going and the likelihood of success of the Downtown Redevelopment Plan. I now represent a client that is interested in developing downtown Florida hotels and I have been gathering data and assembling opportunities for us to review for potential acquisition or joint venture.
When I ran into Mike we discussed the perceived uptick in interest in downtown and the number of businesses that are now considering locating in the newly renovated area. As I left Mike I remarked, “You know Mike, with all the downturn news we seem to have forgotten that the Baby Boomers are still coming!” It was an off hand remark, that I made with out much thought – but then started thinking about. “Here come the Baby Boomers.” I’ll often say on a Friday night at Artwalk as the streets begin to fill with tourists.
More than 10 baby boomers turn 55 years old every MINUTE of every day. These are the folks that are gong to retire here. Sure retirement plans have been upset, the timing has been extended, and retirement plans have, by necessity, become more modest. But this downturn it just that, a down turn, and it will not stop the avalanche of retirees that are going to hit the area.
We all know it will happen, we are just not as sure when.
All the reasons that people wanted to retire here five years ago still exist today, except now it is even cheaper.
I bring this up to you to remind you to stay the course, think Buffett like – and think long term.
It’s hard to think now that we will have horrific inflation coming – most economists predict it – and that the prices we see now in real estate will be but a memory. The smart money that is left is down here buying either investment property or their future retirement home at deeply discounted prices.
The Baby Boomers are still coming. You better believe it and count on it.
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