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November 22, 2023

Hello everyone,


We wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your input and support during the months since our open house this past May, and to give you a quick update as you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family.


Reactivation of ARCHES Bayfront Applications

To summarize our previous letter, our team took some time last month after the Joint Council LPA meeting to pause our Commercial Planned Development (CPD). Based on an in-depth review of our plans, design charrette, Open House, and most importantly, your 1,300 survey responses, we have decided to move forward and resubmit our CPD. We strongly believe we're on the right track to be an important part of our island's rebuild. We are excited to restart our work alongside Fort Myers Beach Town Staff, LPA, and Council to make ARCHES Bayfront a reality for all to enjoy.




Moss Marina

Equally as exciting, we have received approval to rebuild our 90 dry-stack boat storage system and our brand new fork lift "the BEAST" can handle up to 50' long boats and up to 29,000 pounds! Reserve your spot today. If you haven't yet, come by and visit the marina in full swing. We are so grateful the season is here and thank all of you for your patronage.

Smokin' Oyster Brewery

As you know, we've hired BSSW Architects, Inc. to head up the rebuilding design of SOB and fully expect to be open by next summer.


We'll have big news to announce soon.


RUDE Shrimp Co

America’s Best Restaurants is bringing their ABR Roadshow right to Fort Myers Beach and will highlight RUDE Shrimp as one of America’s best restaurants where you should "eat on a weekly basis." Plus -- new Tuesday hours! The bar will open at 11:00 am and will be serving Onolicious Grindz at 4 pm. Make your way over and spend some time with the RUDE CREW.


As always, feel free to reach out to us any time. And thank you, once again, for all your ongoing support.


Best regards,



Ben Freeland

October 13, 2023

Hello everyone,

Checking in to let you all know the latest news for ARCHES Bayfront and Moss Marina.


Status of ARCHES Bayfront Applications

As you know, the Joint Session: Town Council/LPA meeting took place yesterday -- you can view it here in its entirety.


To refresh your memory, last month we submitted two applications to town Staff -- the first was a minor map amendment which would include the Arches Bayfront properties in the Pedestrian Commercial future land use, and the second would entitle the properties under a CPD (Commercial Planned Development) with uses of hotel, marina, restaurant, retail and civic spaces.


We invested in DPZ CoDESIGN, one of south Florida's most renowned urban planners at post-hurricane rebuilding, alongside an exhaustive community engagement process with all of you to create what we hoped would be a celebrated plan for Moss Marina post-Ian. Our applications were made with the goal of reflecting the community's input, such as a desire for a water ferry, visual lines of sight to the water, and a publicly accessible bay front park.


In summary, we have decided to pause our CPD application at this time. We very much want to be part of the rebirth of FMB, and are committed to proceeding in a way that is in alignment with what the community wants. We plan to move forward with the minor map amendment, and will keep you updated as that progresses.

Smokin' Oyster Brewery

Since our last update, we've hired BSSW Architects, Inc. to head up the rebuilding design of SOB and fully expect to be open by next summer. Keep an eye on that progress -- we're very excited about all of it! And keep posting your favorite pictures on Facebook.


RUDE Shrimp Co

We've got some exciting expansion plans under way and will share more soon. In the meantime, make your way over and spend some time with the RUDE CREW.


Moss Marina

Lots happening at Moss Marina -- we are really excited about all the marina operations. First, we plan on expanding our drystack storage with up to 90 additional slips. We also purchased a new state-of-the-art forklift that can handle up to 50' vessels, plus we have utilities back at the wet slips!


Also, look for the new Farmers Market opening soon on Wednesdays from 9 am - 1 pm beginning November 1.


As always, feel free to reach out to us any time. And thanks for all your ongoing support.


Best regards,



Ben Freeland

August 31, 2023

Hello everyone,


We are writing to let you know we will be joining Ed Ryan on Beachtalk Radio tomorrow (Friday, September 1) at 5:00 p.m.


For your ease of reference, you may click here tomorrow at 5 pm to tune in live for the reveal of the Ferry Service Survey results as well as a general Moss Marina/ARCHES Bayfront update. If you haven't already, you make take the survey here.



In less than two weeks nearly 850 of you participated in the survey. We knew this was something the community wanted, but were, frankly, overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the write-in comments -- the suggestions were amazing. We'll take a deeper dive into the results tomorrow with Ed, but for now, some highlights:


  • Over 850 people took the survey in less than 15 days

  • About 50% of respondents are FMB residents, with about 50% spending more than six months of the year on the island

  • The other 50% are tourists and regular visitors

  • With regard to pricing, we were intrigued by some of the very smart strategies the community put forth -- we will explore more on the call

  • 83% are interested in tours, sightseeing, booze cruises, etc.

  • We will reveal the top five amenities desired, and so much more


We look forward to connecting tomorrow.


Best regards,



Ben Freeland

August 14, 2023

Hello everyone,

We are excited to share with you that after assembling a world-class development team and extensive community outreach, two ARCHES Bayfront applications have been officially submitted to the Town of Fort Myers Beach. More details can be found below.


But first, an important survey on how you feel about getting a ferry service in Fort Myers Beach.


The Survey.

Our previous survey indicated a ferry service connecting points of interest in and around Fort Myers Beach is one of the top desires of the community. Please click here to share your thoughts on our proposal to implement a ferry service. Then forward this email to friends, family and neighbors and encourage them to take the survey as well.


The ARCHES Bayfront Applications.


  1. The first is a minor map amendment to the Comprehensive Plan which will expand the Downtown District to include all of the ARCHES Bayfront properties with a Pedestrian Commercial future land use.

  2. The second application is to entitle the properties under a CPD (Commercial Planned Development) with the uses of hotel, marina, restaurant, retail and civic uses. These entitlements do not change any LDC (Land Development Code) language, are consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan, and apply only to the ARCHES Bayfront properties. To see the plans, please go to

Smokin' Oyster Brewery.

We're busy planning the re-build of SOB to come back better than ever, and are in the process of interviewing restaurateurs and local architects who are interested in leading the rebuilding effort. If you know anyone who may have interest, please send them our way -- they can reach out via email to


RUDE Shrimp Co.

Make your way over to RUDE Shrimp Co., now located at Moss Marina for live music great food, fun, and unbeatable views of the bay. Mark your calendar for the dunk tank coming in for our Labor Day bash on Saturday, September 2. All proceeds from ticket sales will go back to help the FMB Beach kids rebuild their school. 


As always, if you have any ideas or questions, just let us know.


Best regards,



Ben Freeland

June 14, 2023

Hello everyone,


Lots of news to share for Moss Marina/ARCHES Bayfront today.


We are working with Ed Ryan to schedule a Q&A and discussion with Ben Freeland on an upcoming Saturday Beach Talk Radio show for a deeper dive, but wanted to give you a heads up on what's happening. As soon as we have that date confirmed, we will let you know.


First, as you may have heard, Rude Shrimp Co. will be moving to Moss Marina this summer! Stay tuned for more details.


Another exciting development -- The Freelands have just purchased 340 & 401 Old San Carlos Boulevard, as well as 935 & 939 Third Street -- and yes, that includes Smokin Oyster Brewery (SOB).


The purchase was made with community feedback in mind to:


  • Reduce traffic down residential streets (Bonita Street and Harbour Court) by creating the ARCHES entrance on Old San Carlos Boulevard. Traffic on these residential streets was perhaps the biggest concern from the open house.

  • Increase accessibility to the ARCHES Bayfront development

  • Reactivate Old San Carlos Boulevard by reopening the Smokin Oyster


The previous owners decided they wanted to sell everything at once, which included the SOB restaurant. The Freelands are excited to rebuild the original SOB and are actively seeking another local family/restauranteur who wishes to keep the Smokin Oyster Brewery legacy alive. If you or someone you know is interested in relocating their restaurant to the SOB location, send us a message at, or reply here. The goal is to rebuild -- as it was -- and reopen within 12 months.


As always, we will continue to keep you posted on updates and submission developments for ARCHES Bayfront as they become available.


In the meantime, if you have any questions, just let us know.


Best regards,



Irina Woelfle

IWPR Group Community Engagement

(203) 832-6773

May 31, 2023

Hello everyone,


Just a quick note to say thank you again for coming to our open house and for participating in our survey. 


We wanted to let you know the Freelands have scheduled a pre-application meeting on June 1 with Town Staff, and have reached out to schedule follow-up meetings with your elected and appointed officials to discuss the development plans. 


We will keep you posted on updates and submission developments for ARCHES Bayfront as they become available.


In the meantime, if you have any questions, just let us know.


Best regards,



Irina Woelfle

IWPR Group Community Engagement

(203) 832-6773

May 17, 2023

We are thrilled to share with you the latest designs to reimagine the Freeland family's Moss Marina post-hurricane Ian. These were the drawings we unveiled at Monday's ARCHES Bayfront open house.


If you participated in the surveys -- as nearly 400 of you did! -- you should see many of your ideas and concerns addressed in the updated renderings. A sampling of these can be seen here. Your continued input will help us refine the concept before it is officially submitted to the town.


The feedback we received was tabulated and the results informed the new drawings by DPZ CoDESIGN. Following are the top ten desired amenities:


  1. Hotel lobby and rooftop bars -- (nearly 80% of you!)

  2. Water ferry (68%)

  3. Retail shops (65% -- that was surprising!)

  4. Marina (55%)

  5. Green space and parks (55%)

  6. Farmers market (49%)

  7. Coffee shop (49%)

  8. Local grocery (48%)

  9. Hotel with fine dining options (47%)

  10. Hotel with family friendly dining options (46%)


So grateful to Ed Ryan for joining us to live stream the event on Beach Talk Radio -- you can watch it here. If you want to take a deeper dive, you can review the 52-page PowerPoint presentation by scrolling to the bottom of the page here. And for those of you who want to imagine how it would feel to actually be at ARCHES Bayfront, you can watch a fly-through video here.


Let us know what you think. Did we miss anything? Do you have any more questions? Stay in touch, and if you haven't already, take the survey here.


Last, but certainly not least, my sincerest apologies to those inconvenienced by the fire code restrictions on Monday -- we did not anticipate 200+ guests. It felt awful for me to make people wait and even worse, to turn some people away.


Thank you for your interest and comments.




Irina Woelfle

IWPR Group Community Engagement

(203) 832-6773

April 27, 2023

Hello everyone,


As promised, and as you've likely heard in the news, we are sharing for your review and input new renderings from the design workshop hosted last week by the Freeland family and DPZ CoDESIGN to reimagine Moss Marina post-Hurricane Ian.


The team spent five days meeting with community leaders, area businesses, industry experts and town, county and state representatives to prepare these initial concepts for your review and feedback. Please click here, review the designs, and then take the survey.


We want to hear from everyone, so please share with friends, family and neighbors -- especially those you know who have not yet been able to return to the island. We encourage you to watch the Beach Talk Radio interview with Ben Freeland -- it's a deep dive into the vision supporting the development.


Lastly, join the team for the in-person open house and public presentation with LPA and Council members on May 15 where we will share survey results and updated plans reflecting your input.



Monday, May 15

Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina, 275 Estero Boulevard

Lido Ballroom


We will stay in touch in the coming weeks and look forward to seeing you in person on the 15th.


Best regards,



Irina Woelfle

IWPR Group, Community Engagement

(203) 832-6773

April 13, 2023

Dear Fort Myers Beach Residents,


I am writing on behalf of the Freeland family to let you know of exciting plans being explored for the future of Moss Marina post Hurricane Ian, and to encourage you to visit to sign up for updates, stay engaged, and share your ideas with the team.


World-renowned DPZ CoDESIGN has been engaged to re-imagine the possibilities for the 4.5 acre family-owned bayfront property, currently home to Moss Marina and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Freeland family and DPZ are currently engaging in ongoing conversations with local government, civic leaders and non-profits as they prepare to begin sketching designs when DPZ arrives in Fort Myers Beach next week. They will unveil those design ideas for your input beginning Monday, April 24, when they will be posted at the website.


Also, mark your calendar for Monday, May 15 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. for a community open house at the Pink Shell Resort and Marina, where DPZ will present final designs based on community input.


We will stay in close touch. In the meantime, take a moment to visit the website, to read a letter from Ben Freeland, see current news to date, and sign up for regular updates.


Best regards,



Irina Woelfle

IWPR Group, Community Engagement

(203) 832-6773

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