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Luminary Hotel & Co. on Fort Myers Riverfront Withstands Hurricane Ian

Resilient design strategies helped protect the hotel, which functioned as a base for first responders and emergency management personnel working to restore the power and infrastructure in Fort Myers, Florida, and surrounding areas.

The 12-story Luminary Hotel & Co., a member of the prestigious Autograph Collection® of Marriott International, opened along the Fort Myers riverfront in Sept. 2020.

Within hours of Hurricane Ian battering Fort Myers with winds over 100 mph and a catastrophic storm surge from the Caloosahatchee River on Sept. 28, 2022, the Luminary Hotel was up and running, serving meals via its emergency generator. No water had entered the building. The downtown Fort Myers hotel began to house emergency response personnel within a week after the hurricane struck. The hotel also has served as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ command center.

“We are happy to have them here and be a part of it,” said Joe Collier, president and founder of Mainsail Lodging & Development. “We are incredibly grateful to have escaped any damage, and that our five food and beverage concepts were completely operational following the storm. This enabled us to help the governor and help the city, which is a role we’re both humbled and excited to play.”

Part of this 12-story hotel building extended 17 feet over a 30-foot-wide wide underground viaduct, the top of which was only four feet below grade. HOK’s structural engineers designed a solution that supports the 12 stories of columns that stretch 17 feet over this viaduct, with no noticeable deflection.

“We’re very conscious of using design strategies that help protect buildings in coastal communities from potentially catastrophic storm events like this,” said Jonathan Rae, AIA, LEED AP, who led the HOK team that designed the hotel. “To safeguard against flooding during severe weather events, our design placed the hotel higher than the surrounding context. We’re devastated by the loss of lives and property damage in Southwest Florida, but pleased that the hotel was able to contribute in a meaningful way to the community’s recovery efforts.”

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