September 2, 2023
We have had some of our October guests wondering how we did from the latest Hurricane Idalia. It took a few days to get a good informative report. Overall, the work that had been done, did well. We didn't suffer and property flooding or further erosion. Unfortunately, we did have water get into our top floor units and a third floor unit. The roof was inspected and some damage done by Hurricane Ian was newly discovered. The roof has already been been repaired, but the condos did suffer a setback. Our General Contractor says we should still be ok for October, but I am not sure how far into October that means. I have blocked out dates in October until I get an updated solid estimate. If you have a reservation in October, we may have to change the unit you booked to be sure you get one that is 100% ready for guests. I never like to have to move people from their preferred condo, but I don't want anyone upset with an unfinished condo. I will continue to update this page with any information I get.
August 29, 2023
Well we are exactly 11 months out from Hurricane Ian and now we sit watching Hurricane Idalia. I am watching very closely as I know many of you are too! I was assured our building is going to prepared for what is expected, at this point rain, some wind, and possible storm surge up to 4ft. If Idalia continues on the forecasted track, I believe we will be just fine. But we know things don't always go as forecasted. So we play the waiting game. With that said, I was down on the beach for a week mid-August to get more photos and another update.
Things continue to shape up. The beach was just as beautiful as ever, the birds are back as well as many dolphin and turtle nests line the beach and the babies are working on finding the ocean. Shelling was unbelievable! We found so many shells and many different types of shells which is always exciting! More and more restaurants are opening in different capacities. We enjoyed meals at Pinchers, Parrot Key, Yucatan, Dixie Fish Co., Doc Ford's, The Fish House, Mom's, Snug Harbor, Wahoo Willies. We ventured up to Captiva for the Mucky Duck and Sanibel for a look at the lighthouse and frozen custard at The Shack! It was a wonderful trip! Other local favorites open are Heavenly Biscuit, Junkanoo, Fresh Catch Bistro, Yo Taco!, Cafe O La, Bonita Bill's, Doc's Beach House and more! Publix was open and we did enjoy the Key Lime Pie! Some retail shops are starting to open as well!
Cornerstone is shaping up slowly. When I was down there the permits were still held up which was a bit disappointing but our fantastic construction crew and general contractor and working very hard on everything that does not need to be permitted. Drywall has been installed in the units needing it, which was all of them! Most of the drywall damage was in the bathrooms and the wall separating the living area and the bathroom. Most units looked just about ready to be repainted. The new elevator is supposed to be coming in September. I know the company was out looking at what needed to be done to remove the old one and prep it for the new one. The grounds have been prepped for the new pavers around the pool. The pool itself will get a new coat and tiles. I have seen all the renderings of the spaces when they are done, and very excited to see it all come together.
Below are some photos from the August trip. Thank you again for following our journey to recovering and reopening! The office is still not operating on the island, so I will continue to take your reservations and hold time. I anticipate making calls in about 4-6 weeks to start collecting deposits. At that time we will make sure all the details and dates are solid and you will receive a confirmation via email. We will start with the reservations this fall and winter, then move to our spring and summer 2024. I will continue to have limited office hours as I do have another job, but will do my best to return calls, emails and texts as they come in.
It has been a long 11 months but I am so excited for what's ahead!
July 15, 2023
Things are still progressing in a positive way! The pavers have been pulled from around the pool and under the building. I believe they are being replaced with a new style/color. The storage room wall has been repaired and new hardy board has been installed on the exterior. Interiors are still being worked on. The portal to make reservations will open August 1. We just want to make sure anyone who had to cancel this past year has had the chance to secure their time. I can tell you, February and March are pretty full which is very exciting to see everyone wanting to come back. If you were hoping for a February or March reservation, please feel free to send a message and we can put you on a waiting list if we don't have your dates. Once we start asking for deposits in late September and October, things may open up a bit. Here are a few photos from this past week of the grounds.
July 11, 2023
We have had many guests asking about deposits. I just got off the phone with our property managers and they said we will begin reaching out for deposits likely in September or early October. If you have not reached out to us, and intend to return for 2024, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be sure your time is reserved. The online portal to the general public will be opening August 1.
In other news, I am happy to report work has been ongoing at Cornerstone! Both interiors and exteriors have seen improvements since my last post. Contractors have been busy at work putting our girl back together! We are still looking at an October 1 target date to reopen, if not sooner. Again October 1 is the date we feel very confident about, but as soon as the elevator is operational and we have passed all safety inspections, we will open up.
June 9, 2023
I went down to see Cornerstone this past week. I met with our property managers and James from the Seaside office, for those of you who know him. It was a week filled with many different emotions. It's been nine months since Ian hit the Island. For those of you who saw the pictures and videos right after the storm passed, much work has been done! Most of the big debris has been removed. There are still some very large piles and as they continue to demolish structures the piles will continue. I think I can safely say, every single structure was affected by the storm one way or another. Some buildings are literally shells, some were totally washed away and some have less damage, but everything has some. Anything on the ground built of wood is gone or damaged beyond repair. Anything made of concrete or cinder blocks fared much better. Most things built in the past 10-15 years did pretty well.
The beach is looking great! I was surprised how great it looked! We walked north and south of Cornerstone on the beach and saw no dangerous debris (glass, nails, wood, tile). To stand on the beach and look north or south was beautiful! If I had never been to Ft. Myers Beach, I wouldn't really notice much. Those who have been there, will notice many houses and some resorts missing.
Shelling was great! We found shells I was never lucky to find in the past! The only thing we really missed, was not having a pool to cool off in.
Estero Blvd. is a different story. Walking up and down the sidewalks gave us our best look at the work still to be done and showed the unforgiving side of Mother Nature. There is smaller debris almost everywhere except the street. As we walked I saw mirrors, tiles, dishes, sheets, shoes, flatware and things I'm not sure what they were. Homes and buildings waiting to be demolished, condo buildings needing to be repaired. I was surprised at the lack of activity on many properties. In talking with the locals they seem to be in the same situation as Cornerstone and Seaside. Waiting for insurance to pay and waiting for permits to be issued. Insurance being the bigger problem. Contractors will not start the work without deposits and without the insurance money it's hard to get the deposits together. As we all sit waiting for these two things, the homes and businesses and condos sit waiting.
It was strangely quiet, not much construction noise.
What's open? We found many of our favorite places to eat open! We ate wonderful meals at Pinchers, Dixie Fish Co., Coconut Jacks, Yucatan Bar and Grill. Times Square has many food trucks serving ice cream, Mexican food, sandwiches and smoothies. Wahoo Willies, Snug Harbor, Junkanoo, Fresh Catch Bistro, Bonita Bill's, Parrot Key at Salty Sam's are all open. Across from the Lani Kai hotel is Yo Taco and a shrimp food truck. Liki Tiki has relocated to the other side of the bridge and The Whale has a large tent bar on Estero Blvd. The pink movie theater has been repainted a bright blue and is being turned into a restaurant. Publix is open and we enjoyed some great sandwiches, key lime pie, fresh fruit and did our regular grocery shopping. For those of you who like to venture out to Sanibel, Captiva and Pine Island, we went to the Mucky Duck which looks exactly the same as it did pre-hurricane. Bubble Room is under construction and will reopen, Island Cow is totally gone, but they are rebuilding. Mudbugs is open. Pine Island and Matlacha is a little bit of a drive up north. The Matlacha are is still quite devastated, but Pine Island Tarpon Lodge restaurant did not disappoint! You can really feel the hope and love of the beach in every employee, the gratitude was undeniable as we talked to people. They are so happy to have people back at their business. The island has a long road ahead, there is still so much to be done. It is a very mixed feeling of loss for the old beach life as we knew it, but an excitement of what's to come. The locals have been very clear about not wanting high rise condos taking over. They do not want it to look like Clearwater or Miami. They put a high priority on the environment and keeping the wildlife safe and cared for. Only time will tell.
When will Cornerstone and Seaside reopen? That is the million dollar question. As mentioned previously it depends on permits and insurance monies. Cornerstone has been ready for months to have work begin. It has power and water, all debris is cleared out. The brick in pool area was supposed to be started Wednesday. The owners have decided to go ahead and begin work not requiring permits. I was last told permits were supposed to be issued this week. I have learned to not count on these timelines. Everything seems to take twice as long as we expect. I was able to go into several of the condos and was very happy to see minimal damage. They look a mess mainly because the furniture is moved to the center of the rooms and covered in plastic, but the areas needing repair are mainly the bathroom drywall. Some water came in through vents causing the lower four feet to be removed in the bathroom and some bathroom ceilings drywall removed, but everything else held up fantastic! No funky smells, carpet looked good too. Screens and railings in several condos will need to be replaced but the units themselves did well. The elevator should be installed end of July. The fence around the grounds and pool will be replaced, bathrooms will be renovated, storage rooms need doors and a wall rebuilt.
After meeting with the property managers we feel confident we will be open October 1. I hope sooner, but feel the October 1 date is a safe estimate. I was so hopeful we would be open this summer, but glad to have a real target date. Once we have an actual reopening date, we will begin taking deposits. If you have contacted me about a reschedule for 2024 because your 2023 reservation was cancelled, I will continue to hold your dates. If you would like to confirm your 2024 date please don't hesitate to contact me. If you have not contacted me, please do as soon as possible. Email, text, call, voicemail would be great!
I will be able to start taking new reservations very soon! No deposit needed at this time. Once we get the payment system up and running again, we will contact everyone and request deposits.
Thank you again to everyone who has sent an email, a call, left a message! I have appreciated every single one of them! It means a lot to me knowing you are thinking of us. Below are the photos I took over last week, June 1-7. They should help you visualize where things are at.
May 31, 2023
The latest news I have is permits were expected this week. Our contractor says once these are in hand we are looking at about 8 weeks of work. I am heading down to Cornerstone and the beach tomorrow for the week to spend time looking at the progress of not only the building, but also the island and beach itself. I will be meeting with our property manager and members of Cornerstone's board. I am looking forward to giving all of our former and future guests a full update. I am confident we will be up and running this fall and beyond. For all of our Spring 2024 holds, I am hoping to get you a better date as to when we can start taking those deposits and get out some confirmations. I will be in contact with all of the guests who wanted to reschedule your 2023 stay to 2024. I sincerely thank all of you for your continued emails, calls and inquiries. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have such loyal guests. Look for updates in about a week!
April 5, 2023
It's been two months since my last update and unfortunately I don't have much news. We continue to wait for permits to be processed and until then we are at a standstill. It has been a very frustrating time for all of us at Cornerstone, but we will continue to be patient and do what we can with things not needing permits. My original hope of being open by late May or June is not looking to promising at this point. I wish I had better news. If you were hoping for a summer stay, you may want to have a plan "B". I will continue to update with information as it becomes available.
February 4, 2023
February! Everyone in the midwest is wishing they were in Florida right now! The good news is we have had both power and water restored to the building after several delays! The general contractor is ready to go and things should start progressing much faster now! I can't wait to get some photos once the work has been done! We do not have a firm reopening date yet because many things still need to happen, but we are hoping to get the first three floors open roughly May/June and add the fourth floor at the end of June or July. We can not open the fourth floor until the elevator is installed and ready to go. The expected elevator installation is end of June or July. We are still working on getting our offices repaired and online. Once we have them ready to go we will be able to start taking new reservations and deposits. If you had a 2023 reservation which was cancelled, please let me know as soon as you can, if you intend to reschedule it for 2024. Only reservations cancelled and coming back the following year, for the same time frame are being put on the calendar as holds. Once we are up and running in the office, we will contact you for a deposit on the 2024 dates. Anyone who had a 2023 reservation between our reopening date and December will be allowed to rebook that time as well, before we open the calendar to new reservations. If you have any questions, please contact me.
January 12, 2023
I know it's been a while since the last update, but not much news to report. We are truly in a holding pattern at this
point. Waiting for insurance funds, waiting for permits. Everything is lined up to be repaired and our General Contractor
tells us once work can begin, it should be done fairly quickly, which is encouraging. The wheels of insurance companies
and government run slow. My best guess at this point, and it's only a guess, would be a mid- 2023 reopening. Work on
the island is non-stop and everyone is trying to reopen and rebuild as fast as they can! Trucks and heavy equipment are
running 24/7, either demolishing, rebuilding or collecting debris.
I have had guests ask about our staff. I am happy to report, they are all doing well and have found employment while we
wait for Cornerstone and Seaside to reopen.
I look forward to being able to post photos as they become available of all the repairs and improvements, Cornerstone is
going to be even more beautiful once we get her all fixed up!
There she is! Prepped and ready to be fixed up!
October 31, 2022
I was just informed the property management company has decided to refund ALL 2022 and 2023 deposits. I have had many of you asking about refunds you did not expect. This is why. If you would like to reschedule your reservation for the following year with the same dates, please contact me. I will put you in the system, without a deposit and hold the condo. I will then contact you when we are ready to take deposits. I apologize for the confusion. When we are ready to take new reservations, you can be assured, I will let you know!!
Here are some new photos of the progress being made. Crews came out this past week to begin the clean up. Most of the debris has been removed, pavers have been relocated to the pool area, lots of sand which seems to cover everything was cleaned up as well. Our next few appointments will be with the electrical trades to fully assess what needs repair. We do know one of the walls destroyed on the ground floor storage areas housed the main electrical box for the building. We will need to replace it and determine what other damage was done. We estimate it will be about 6 weeks before this will be complete. A mold remediation company has been out and determined the building did take on water in walls and ceilings. They will help us determine what walls and ceilings will need replacing. The structural engineer is scheduled to come later this week, to certify the building. We have put in to get the elevator repaired/replaced. Unfortunately, everyone needs their elevators repaired and replaced, so we are being told this could be about six months out. Little by little we will get her back.
October 10, 2022
The good, the bad and the ugly. Good news! One of our owners who lives local was able to get in to see all of our condos yesterday! As we thought, there seems to be minimal damage. A little water seeped in through the sliders, some water seeped in through the exterior dryer vents, lanai fans were damaged and some screens were blown out (not all, which is amazing!) This was wonderful to hear, since many of our owners had just finished up repainting, new floors and other updates just two weeks prior to the hurricane! The bad and the ugly happen to be where I thought it might be. The ground floor. Just like the rest of the island we have lots of debris, a pool full of sand, pavers/bricks displaced, storage closet repair and elevator repair just to start. The stilts look good from what I can tell, but a professional will come in to certify. The beach and ground in general has a lot of sand erosion 3 to 4 feet in some places. Luckily in Florida, we have lots of sand and can replace it. As bad as some of the photos look, I feel we were very blessed. We are working to get the condos up and running as soon as possible, but as you can see it will take some time.
October 9, 2022
I believe James and Monica are on the island right now as I type, taking a first look at both Seaside and Cornerstone. I have not heard back from them yet, but was able to grab a few new close up screenshots from a new video I found. It shows the Dakota beach access right next to Cornerstone, the beach and some of the closest photos I have seen to date.
October 8, 2022
It looks like we will be able to get on the island tomorrow! I hope to have more photos soon of progress. The streets have been cleared and the search for missing people is coming to an end. The residents and very anxious to get to their properties and see what work needs to be done.
Deposits for condos reserved October-November are being refunded first, by the dates they were reserved. You do not need to call, this will be done automatically by our billing office. Thank you for your patience as they are working to fully refund many, many guests. If you plan to reschedule or cancel a winter or spring 2023 reservation, please email, text or call me at email@example.com, 847-331-0504 or 847-420-1041. We are not taking new reservations at this time, only rescheduling until further notice.
Me and my son in front of Cornerstone.
The surviving elevator shaft in Times square.
Me and my son in front of Cornerstone.
October 1, 2022
Yesterday afternoon we were able to listen in on a conference call with city officials. They are first and foremost working to get people off the island who need to and providing food and water to those able to stay. They have been, and will continue to work around the clock to clean up. First removing debris from Estero Blvd. to make it passable, then working on side streets. You may have seen the "snow plows" plowing sand off the road. They are also working to remove cars and boats. The latest information on Cornerstone, so far is pretty good. We believe our windows and sliding glass doors all made it. We did get a short video showing a storage closet on the ground floor was breached and created a hole in the back side along with some stucco work, which I mentioned yesterday. Here are some screenshots from some of the video we have seen. I believe we are going to be able to try to get on the island today to assess damage. If we can get on I will of course update again later tonight. They are very strict about who is allowed to come on island with not only safety concerns but criminal intent.
Again, I want to thank everyone who has called, texted and emailed with such kind words and concern. I know Cornerstone has been a part of many of our guests and families for close to 20 years. In all the craziness and uncertainty your words are very comforting. I will be reaching out to our October and November reservations as soon as I hear back from the property managers and give you all an honest assessment of our situation and a timeline about reopening.
September 30, 2022
As of this morning, I do not have much news. We are not able to be on the island yet. I have had many phone calls and emails about upcoming reservations. Please give us time. As soon as we can get into the the billing office and process refunds or reschedule we will. The next week or so is going to be very telling as to what we are looking at for repairs and rebuild of the entire town. I have seen aditional video of Cornerstone and we do have some damage to our ground level. A storage closet for cleaning supplies and linens which runs east to west has left a hole on the east side along with some stucco damage. The fencing around the pool appears to be gone as well.
September 29, 2022
It is just after noon on the 29th. The good news is, I have confirmation Cornerstone is still standing tall. We had one guest chose to stay and took video of the surrounding area from the balcony. Many of the older homes around cornerstone are gone. Junkanoo is gone, Hooters is gone, Santini Plaza only had the roof showing early this morning, but much of the flooding has gone down to the point of streets are visible but covered in sand and debris. Times Square is in rough shape, with many businesses gone and the pier seems to have been washed away. Information is still coming. The goal now is to search and rescue any who did not evacuate, and make sure it is safe to be on the island regarding power lines, water management and determining if structures are safe to be in or around. If you have a reservation booked and and need to cancel or would like to reschedule for another time, you may contact me and we can push it out to a further date.
Looking for a few bright spots in all of this. The city of Fort Myers Beach has been through bad hurricanes before. They will be working around the clock to get businesses, condos, roads and recreational places back up and running in better shape than they were pre-hurricane! Business will rebuild and will thrive just as they always have. It is a wonderfully resilient community.
September 28, 2022
I sit here tonight with a heavy heart. Hurricane Ian has passed over Ft. Myers Beach leaving a trail of destruction we have not seen since hurricane Charlie. The island has been evacuated, so we do not know how things are at this time. We can only watch the news and social media and hope. I have heard from so many of our loyal guests and have appreciated all the thoughts, prayers and love shown for Cornerstone and the staff. I know many brave, hardworking linemen, construction crews, National Guard are on standby ready to get our island fixed up and ready to welcome back the people who love Ft. Myers Beach!