Bill Smith, Inc. Announces the Sale of Arcade Theatre, Bradford Block, and Adjacent Parking Lot to Florida Repertory Theatre
Bill Smith, Inc. announces the sale of the two-block parcel bounded by First Street to the south, Edwards Drive to the north, Hendry Street to the west and Jackson Street to the east. The entire property, less the Hall of Fifty States building which is owned by the City of Fort Myers, has been sold in its entirety to the Florida Repertory Company, Inc.This property, commonly known as The Bradford Block, contains the old Bradford Hotel which Bill Smith, Inc. converted to rental residential apartments, the Florida Repertory Theatre located in the historic Arcade Theatre, as well as retail and professional units. The property was initially developed and owned by the Heitman Family before the turn of the century circa 1897 until purchased by Bill Smith, Inc. in 1979. The purchase in 1979 by Bill and Mary Alice Smith, the owners of Bill Smith, Inc., was regarded by many as a bold and risky move. However, Bill Smith had a great love for the City of Fort Myers and its historic buildings and was committed to saving downtown from further demise after the main retailers such as Sears and J.C. Penny moved out of downtown to the Edison Mall. The nature of this sale is historically significant when noting the property has been owned by only two families for over 120 years, the Heitman and Smith families. The Smith family, the owners of Bill Smith, Inc., trust the Florida Repertory Company, Inc. will continue the tradition of being good stewards of these historic buildings and carry on the traditions of the Heitman and Smith families.
Photo Credit: Joe Dafeldecker / Florida Repertory Theatre