Proposed location of Hertz world headquarters in Lee County
Rental car giant Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. wants to create a retail sales and leasing lot for up to 50 cars at its planned world headquarters in Estero, and at least one county commissioner is concerned.
“My concern is they would be selling used cars. I don’t support that,” Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass said Friday. “If they want to rent high-end cars, that would be fine.”
A car lot goes against the zoning for the proposed Hertz site at Williams Road and U.S. 41. The parcel is part of a 482-acre development of regional impact, a zoning category for large developments affecting more than the immediate area. The DRI, which included plans for Coconut Point Mall, a hotel, office, medical and residential development, was approved in 2002.
Hertz announced its intentions to buy the 34.5 acres on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Williams Road from Bonita Springs-based Oakbrook Properties on Tuesday. Ned Dewhirst, Oakbrook Properties’ senior vice president of Florida operations, said Friday that Hertz wants to amend the DRI to allow for a 50-car leasing and sales lot. The lot would take up 1 acre of the site’s 34.5 acres, Estero Community Planning Panel Chairman Jack Lienesch said.
Hertz’s application for 300,000 square feet of office space needs approval from the Estero Community Planning Panel, the Lee hearing examiner and the county commission. The application is expected to go before the hearing examiner in June and county commissioners in August. Lienesch believes the car lot will be approved.
“My guess is this will fly through,” Lienesch said. “I can’t see any reason why this would hold it up. They want to put a car lot on 1 acre. With 34 acres, it would seem to me that they can find a spot that wouldn’t get anybody upset.”
Hertz hasn’t released design plans for the parcel, but Lienesch said Hertz can build the car lot on a spot so it’s not visible from U.S. 41.
“You can hide the lot with landscaping,” Lienesch said. “In Estero, we don’t like to have a million parked cars that you can see from the road. It doesn’t look good.”
Coconut Point Ford, which is across the street from the proposed Hertz site, has its car lot along U.S. 41. Leinesch said the eight-year-old dealership got its zoning approved before Estero finished its community plan.
Unlike Coconut Point Ford, Hertz will have to adhere to Coconut Point Mall’s standards. Before the mall opened, the Estero Council of Community Leaders worked with architects to create an 80-page design standard manual that applies for all of the 482 acres. The 1.2-million square-foot outdoor shopping mall is known for its Mediterranean architecture.
Hertz CEO Mark P. Frissora has said the plan for the headquarters is for a Tuscan-style building that will fit in with its neighbors.
“I don’t think they wanted to have some big concrete and glass palace that would stand out as some kind of clumsy albatross,” Frissora said.