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My name is Ben Freeland and I am proud to represent six

generations of Freelands who have called Southwest Florida

home. Since 1966, our family has owned and operated

numerous businesses, employed thousands of Southwest

Floridians, graduated children from our excellent local schools,

supported non-profits and actively engaged in our

neighborhoods and communities.     


My father, George Freeland, purchased Moss Marina in 1982.

The property has since been home to the largest Chris-Craft

dealership in the world for annual sales, was home to the Big M

Casino boats for over 15 years (where it entertained over 100,000 guests!) and still serves as the home to Moss Marina and temporary home to the United States Coast Guard. 


I still remember as a child waiting in the car on San Carlos Boulevard under the beautiful stone arches for the old swing bridge to close so the family could drive over the bay to go enjoy the white sandy beaches and warm waters. We have all enjoyed being part of the Fort Myers Beach community -- from helping the Chamber of Commerce, supporting charities and non-profits, to even having one of our own, Devin McDaniel-Taylor, crowned Shrimp Queen in 2011.


Given that strong bond and history on Fort Myers Beach, even Hurricane Ian could not discourage us.  Despite the devastating losses to our property, buildings, equipment, inventory and employees’ livelihoods, the Moss Marina team and our family locked arms and went to work immediately rebuilding what was left. Led by our general manager, Gary Foco and the team, we knew that getting the USCG station up and running for mission critical operations was job number one. Not only did the Moss Marina team come through, but the entire community -- from first responders and public servants to vendors, neighbors and politicians -- came together to get the job done. 


Now that the USCG station and Moss Marina are operational and we all have a better sense of the challenges facing Fort Myers Beach moving forward, our family is rising to the challenge to be a driving force in rebuilding and stabilizing the economic engine that makes it all go.


Our vision for the property is to develop a vibrant and unique mixed-use bayfront,  integral to the downtown district with a complement of restaurants, shops, cafes, hotel rooms, and bayfront access for the public to enjoy.  As we proceed, we are committed to garnering input from residents. We aim to embrace the charm of this community and the history of the island in a manner that is consistent with the character of the place and its people.


With that in mind, we chose the name Arches Bayfront in honor of the storied history of The Arches, which we hope to feature throughout our development.   DPZ CoDESIGN, renowned for their award-winning work throughout Florida, will be our design partner.  We’re excited to share more with you via this website and in person at an open house for the entire Fort Myers Beach community scheduled for May 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina. 


We look forward to seeing you then.  In the meantime – especially for those who may not be on the island -- be sure to share your thoughts through the “Contact Us” button above.





Ben Freeland

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