FORT MYERS, FL (January 1, 1999) – During its 30-year history, Shell Point has earned a national reputation as one of the finest retirement communities in Florida. Located on its own private, 75-acre island on the Caloosahatchee River near Sanibel Island, the community has received numerous awards for its natural beauty, medical services and recreational programs.
With a past founded on excellence, Shell Point has turned toward the future, and is setting out on its most ambitious undertaking ever – a ten-year, $750 million project that will create one of the most comprehensive lifecare communities in the world.
Shell Point executive vice president Peter Dys symbolizes the new, forward-looking face of Shell Point. When he assumed the leadership of Shell Point in 1986, Dys had a vision for expanding the services provided by the already successful community. He began by maximizing the potential development of the existing 75-acre Island campus. Once The Island was complete and could be developed no further, it was apparent that additional land would need to be acquired to continue expansion.
A Look at the Property
(photo at right) With The Island (top) built to capacity, Shell Point is planning to develop a 300-acre stretch of land on Shell Point Blvd. and McGregor Blvd., 1.6 miles east of the Sanibel causeway.
In 1997, Shell Point purchased more than 700 acres of adjacent property along both sides of Shell Point Boulevard, allowing the community to enlarge, enhance and expand the services already offered on The Island campus. The new property lies along both sides of Shell Point Boulevard. The property on the west side (closest to Sanibel) will be set aside as a permanent nature preserve. Shell Point will develop the property on the east side of the boulevard for the expansion.
The property on the east side of the road can be divided into four sections. The northern section closest to The Island at Shell Point is Phase I, soon to become The Woodlands at Shell Point. The section in the middle is Phase II and the section near the south end is Phase III; these two will also eventually become new communities, surrounded by an 18-hole championship golf course. There are also approximately 20 acres of commercial property at the front of the property facing McGregor Boulevard; this will become offices, a hotel, and more.
A Ministry with a Mission
According to Dys, “It is our goal to carry out the original mission of our founders, in dedication to God and the care of His people. We will continue to provide the existing wide range of services to our residents, however, through this increase in size, we hope to be able to offer an enhanced level of specialized services to them as well. It is the continued effort of providing state-of-the-art facilities and enhancing services that will keep Shell Point in a position of leadership throughout the industry.”
Lee County Benefits
Shell Point, already one of Lee County’s largest employers with 550 staff members, expects the new development to create an estimated 2,000 jobs requiring a wide range of skills, including positions in the service industries, skilled trades, administrative and professional positions, and jobs at all levels in the field of medicine. In addition to employment opportunities, the expansion is estimated to generate $1 billion within Lee County’s local economy.
“On top of the $750 million construction cost, we’re looking at increased operating costs and the financial trickle-down effect that will be experienced due to the expansion,” said Dys. “Compared to the $28 million it costs today to run the existing facilities at Shell Point each year, we felt these projected figures were reasonable, even conservative.”
Shell Point, which currently has a population of 1,350 senior residents, will become home to more than 4,000 individuals over 65 at build-out, which is estimated to occur in 2009. This expansion coincides with the retirement of millions of baby boomers who have just started to reach 65. “We are prepared to meet the demand of the ever-expanding aging population for high-quality living services,” said Dys. “It is an exciting time for Shell Point.”