While Hurricane Ian reaped havoc across Florida, the MacFarlane Construction Management Team are proud to report that all their existing high-rise developments - and the currently under construction, Prima Luce on the Waterfront, Downtown Fort Myers - have weathered the storm amazingly well. This is due largely to two factors – first, location, as all our developments are located inland on the Caloosahatchee River Estuary as opposed to the Fort Myers Beach area and second, due to the stringent construction requirements mandated by the State of Florida.
Downtown Fort Myers is the County seat with 7000 employees. The City of Fort Myers features major buildings and high-rise towers that today must be designed to resist hurricane force winds. None of our existing high-rise buildings had any structural damage including no door or window failures. Minor landscaping debris, mud in the parking lots and general clean-up is taking place. The PRIMA LUCE site along the Caloosahatchee River is approximately 17 miles North-East of Fort Myers Beach which was most impacted by Hurricane Ian. The barrier islands of Sanibel, Pine Island and Captiva with long stretches of beach with older buildings are further away from the City of Fort Myers. Our site is located in the city on the mainland, not on an island or beach.
Inspections have taken place at our Prima Luce building site where construction will resume shortly. The crews are dealing with some of their personal challenges as power is still in the process of being restored in many neighborhoods. The new seawall and site with over 500 piles installed to date only had some minor storm debris against the perimeter fence as seen here in aerial photographs taken this week. We’re fortunately in very good shape!
Clean-up at our offices on First Street, Downtown Fort Myers is also moving along swiftly. We had some water damage on the 1st floor which has been addressed. Our full team is safe and accounted for and assisting the community to rebuild the best kept secret of Florida – the Southwest.
In 2002, a decade after the damage caused by Category 5 Hurricane Andrew, the State of Florida incorporated High-Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ) into the Florida building code, along with far stronger and more stringent building standards. Since then, as part of those standards, the Florida HVHZ building code requires a new building’s entire envelope, including doors and windows, to undergo rigorous lab-testing to ensure wind-resistant design long before construction even begins.
In 2005, Prima Luce developer Robert MacFarlane transformed the Caloosahatchee shoreline of Downtown Fort Myers with the completion of three new residential high-rises – Beau Rivage, St. Tropez and Riviera – all built in accordance with the new Florida code. Since then, all of MacFarlane’s developments have weathered the many storms and hurricanes that passed through Downtown Fort Myers, all without damage – or losing electricity.
The Prima Luce project has already undergone extensive wind tunnel testing based on wind speeds of 160 mph (as derived by FEMA and determined by the area in which it will be constructed) which is higher than Hurricane Ian's top wind speed of 150 mph.
The Prima Luce structure has been designed to support those test conditions, including the windows and doors, which are required to be resistant to small missile impacts from flying debris carried by high-speed winds.
We are also taking in measures to provide protection and safety from storm surges and flooding like the ones that have hit Southwest Florida from Ian.
Here are some safety standards we are including in our high-rise towers
We will keep you up-to-date on our progress and what we are doing to better protect you and your future home in the wake of this disaster.