Cleveland Avenue Offsite Stormwater Credits Program

As an economic development incentive for the Cleveland Avenue redevelopment area, developers can either be sold or given offsite stormwater credits from the treatment system at the golf course that they may use instead of having to build their own onsite water quality treatment system. These credits can be used as an incentive to (re)develop ONLY within the Cleveland Avenue redevelopment area.

These credits can be used as an incentive to (re)develop ONLY within the Cleveland Avenue redevelopment area..


The Cleveland Avenue Offsite Stormwater Credits program is a new tool that uses environmental improvement as a means to encourage economic redevelopment. Offsite stormwater credits counteract the redevelopment limitations of the aging Cleveland Avenue/U.S. 41 corridor when making efforts to revitalize the corridor.

Program Overview

Over the decades, as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) widened roads to accommodate increased traffic volume, a redevelopment issue was created his created for smaller commercial parcels. As a result of street widening, these smaller properties now lack the depth to both redevelop the property for use and create an onsite stormwater treatment facility now required by code. 

When the CRA heard that the City of Fort Myers was planning to redesign the Fort Myers Country Club golf course, the CRA asked to partner with the City so that additional stormwater treatment and volume could be built into the existing system. This creates a stormwater “mitigation” bank that can be used to incentivize redevelopment along Cleveland Avenue/U.S. 41. In exchange for offsite stormwater credits, the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) contributed $1.3 million to build additional water quality treatment above what was required at the City’s golf course.

By using the CRA’s offsite stormwater credits, a developer can maximize the build out of the entire site since the burden of onsite water quality treatment will no longer apply to the project.

This program attracts innovative development projects through more flexible negotiating and predictable permitting—plus this nutrient-removal system actually improves the impaired water body it feeds, the Caloosahatchee River. What really sets this system apart from other local government stormwater projects is that it removes excess nutrients when treating runoff, thereby making the water better.

A shining first example

Grand Central Apartment Complex

The Grand Central apartment complex was the first project to use the program. 280-unit market-rate apartment complex features commercial space along Cleveland Avenue, including the popular Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, and is viewed as the catalytic project to jumpstart revitalization of the corridor.

By incorporating the use of stormwater credits into redeveloping this former abandoned mobile home park site, the development did not need to use its back property for water treatment.

Grand Central’s developer agreed to sell that section back to the city for use as a parking lot for the bustling Sam Fleishman Regional Sports Complex.

The active apartment complex helps address the area’s housing shortage by introducing market-rate rental units, and increases property values in this Cleveland Avenue sub-area, thereby generating more funding for other revitalization efforts.

Get more info

Developers and commercial property owners interested in developing along Fort Myers’ Cleveland Avenue redevelopment area corridor can contact the program administrator for more information on how they can incorporate this program into their (re)development project.