The Magical Land of Gateway…

Sign for The Club at Gateway

In 1966, Westinghouse Electric Corporation formed Westinghouse Communities Inc. (WCI), after acquiring Fort Lauderdale developer Coral Ridge Properties. In the early 1980s, Westinghouse moved it’s massive headquarters, along with most of its people and operations from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to Orlando, Florida. Shortly thereafter, in 1986, Westinghouse Gateway Communities Inc. (a division of WCI) received a development order for a master-planned community covering approximately 5,000 acres in Lee County, Florida.

So began Gateway, or as it’s known today on social media check-ins; “The Magical Land of Gateway.”

The Club at Gateway was opened on New Year’s Day, 1989. The 18-hole Tom Fazio signature golf course is listed in Golf Digest’s Top 100. As per Florida Golf News, it is one of the top ten in Southwest Florida, and includes a world-class 20-acre training facility.

The new millennia brought steady and significant growth. In 2004, Lamar began developing Stoneybrook, the family-friendly 750+ household community bordering the northeast section. Though the Great Recession and downturn in the real estate market hit southwest Florida particularly hard, Gateway weathered the storm quite well. The area didn’t suffer nearly as bad as some others. Property values did not drop as drastically and recovered quicker. The community came back better than ever.

In 2012, the first spring-training games were played at Jet Blue Park (Fenway South), a 126-acre sports complex adjoining Gateway and winter home to the Boston Red Sox. The addition of the stadium, along with many other factors, contributed to significant commercial growth along the Daniels Parkway corridor, including the Skywalk shopping complex.

The 5000 square foot Griffin Grill & Pub was completed in 2015 and was placed new management in 2020, The Club completed a $5 million renovation, to include a new resort style pool, a 300-seat dining facility and a state of the art, 24-hr fitness center.  Also added were pickleball courts, Olympic lap pool, spin and aerobics classes and an outdoor bar.

Gateway and the surrounding areas have seen tremendous growth over recent years. As of 2021, there are about 15,000 residents in approximately 30 communities. There is a large, six field soccer complex, many miles of bike trails and above average local public and charter schools. Tennis, pickleball, bocce and volleyball courts. Many shops and restaurants have emerged commensurate with our growth – you can now enjoy Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Greek and all manner of local food. In the evening, residents enjoy the local Boulevard Tavern and our own Fort Myers Brewing Company – Thursday food-truck nights became a big hit for the latter.

With addition of the newest communities near the southwest entrance (Santa Luz and Westhaven, completed in 2020), Gateway is for all intents and purposes, built out. Residential sales will be primarily existing housing, with any new development – which has been significant – occurring surrounding in areas.

Bustling Business…

Commerce Lakes Commercial/Industrial Flex Condominiums in Gateway, Fort Myers, Florida Overhead shot of Commerce Lakes Industrial/Commercial Flex Condos

Due to it’s desirable location and growth, Gateway has developed substantial commercial assets, to include everything from class-a office, to retail to residential.

Gartner, Xfinity and many other national companies have major operations here. A division of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is the leaseholder to many of our local businesses. Gateway is adjoined by Jet Blue Park (Fenway South), with Norman Love Confections national headquarters right next door.

Commerce Lakes or “Intelliflex” Condominiums are commercial/light industrial-flex units located at the east end of Commerce Lakes Drive. Flex condominiums are an attractive option for small business owners who prefer ownership to leasing. Along with growing their respective businesses, many of these proprietors have seen significant equity gains through owning their location as opposed to leasing. With 18′ high ceilings and 12′ x 12′ warehouse doors, they are ready for just about anything. The versatility has attracted an eclectic variety of businesses, from craft beer to real estate and professional offices.

One thing business owners love about Gateway is being able to serve to local community. The Fort Myers Brewing Company, for example can brew their product on site, then serve it fresh to festive crowds enjoying some of the best food-truck offerings available. Easy access to major Fort Myers arteries benefits their delivery operations.

Brew it and They Will Come…

Fort Myers Brewing Company
When Rob and Jen Whyte moved from California in 2011 and founded their modest brewery in the Commerce Lakes section, they couldn’t have known it would become the popular community gathering place it is today. The Fort Myers Brewing Company is now something of a hot spot Fort Myers, to the point where even during the off season, cars are parking around the corner for the weekly Thursday food truck nights.

Check their website and Facebook page for scheduled events that include food, fun, live music and fresh brews. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, it has been voted the best large brewery in Florida.

Resident specialist…


John Grasmeier is a real estate agent who lives in Gateway

John Grasmeier (full bio)

After living and doing business in Southwest Florida since 1999, my wife Marie and I moved here to Gateway Greens with our daughter Annabelle in 2011.

Before moving to Gateway, I had been involved in Fort Myers real estate since 2003, when I was the systems admin for our entire MLS system, which was run by The Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach (now Royal Palm Coast).

Since becoming a specialist in the Gateway area commercial market, I have learned nearly all there is to learn about the our area’s retail, industrial and various commercial property, including the 100+ Intelliflex units in the Commerce Lakes section. Better still, I have gotten to know many of the owners, lessees and their respective businesses very well.

Over the years, we have regularly patronized our local Gateway and Commerce Lakes proprietors. Our landscaper, kitchen contractor, lawncare pro and many others are here. We carpool, spend leisure time and see these proprietor/owners on a daily basis, many have become good friends.

John Grasmeier, Commercial Real Estate Agent in Gateway
Annabelle (2016) with one of my signs on a commercial lot across from the 7-Eleven on Gateway Blvd.


With numerous preserves, countless lakes and vast green-space, Gateway enjoys an amazing array of wildlife. Listed are some of the more exotic and prevalent, in no particular order.
American Black bear (Ursus americanus) - Not usual inhabitants of Gateway, but black bears do pass through from time-to-time, if only to frighten the occasional golfer or newcomer. Bears should never be fed. Though there haven't been any incidents with humans, it is always best to leave them be and/or call wildlife officials if necessary.
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) - development in surrounding communities have reduced their habitat, but they're still with us and still bearing fawns.
Coyote (Canis latrans) - In previous years, Coyotes were rarely seen south of the Caloosahatchee. These days there are frequent sightings, mostly at night when they can often be heard howling.
Wild boar (Sus scrofa) - Another species - this one considered invasive - that wasn't prevalent in southwest Florida until recent years.
Nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) - you'll sometimes find these critters scurrying around, mostly at night.  They've been known to dig around in gardens looking for worms and insects. 
Marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) - darker with smaller ears than their cottontail cousins. Not nearly as ubiquitous and no cottony tail. They are also more shy, preferring damper areas and hedges.
Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) - so common in Gateway, they are basically lawn decor. Very cute, but not quite as cute when they're eating your hibiscus. 
Raccoon (Procyon lotor) - Like the rest of America, Gateway has these too.
Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) - if you grew up on the east coast, these little critters need no introduction. Wherever you're from, you will get to know them well if you move to Gateway. 
American bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - America's amazing national bird flies in for an appearance now and then. Perhaps souring above admiring golfers or landing on some awe-struck resident's lawn. 
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) - big and beautiful. Some call them "mexican eagles." Very rare as it is mostly a western bird, but this is the magical land of Gateway and there have been documented sightings. 
Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) - Magnificent and highly efficient night predator. The females, which are much larger than the males, will at times sit on top of some lucky resident's roof and scream loudly for a mate... in the dead of night. If this happens anywhere in near your location you'll know it.
North American turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) - not common, but seen  every so often on the golf course or along wood lines. It goes without saying we can't take game in Gateway - the HOA would not be amused. 
Western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) - these awesome aerial predators like to fish from our many bodies of water.  
Sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis) - Large, beautiful birds that enjoy to grazing and rearing their young in the area fields and power lines. They'll become friends if they like you. 
Moorhen/common gallinule (Gallinula galeata) - known by some as "water-chickens," moorhens decorate the edges of Gateway's lakes and waterways. 
Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) - Kingfishers are diving birds that stand like sentries from a waterside perch, then suddenly kamikaze-dive for their prey. Not often found this far out from the glades, but lots of fun to watch when they're around. 
Roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) - the pinkish hue comes from their diet and is why they're sometimes mistaken for flamingos - which Floridians see way more often on TV than in real life. Another bird that prefers glades-like habitat, but will come for a visit.
Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) - these large fish-mongers stick mostly to the shoreline, but fly out to Gateway once in a while to sample some of our fresh water fish. 
Wood stork (Mycteria americana) - somewhat rare and welcome waders that mostly stick to the marshes, but occasionally fish our numerous lakes, ponds and canals.  
Black-bellied whistling duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) - Whistlers distinctive calls are frequently heard as flocks pass overhead. They seems to like our driving-range, as large flocks have been known to congregate there.
Florida mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) - these native Floridians are most often seen together in mating pairs. Not to be confused with mallards, these males look more like their female mates, lacking the mallard's distinctive colors. 
Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) - exotic species that is quite common throughout Florida.  
Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) - large, beautiful waders. Shy as adults but still seen quite often spearing meals or lofting through the air like modern pterodactyls.  
Little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) - not to be confused with its larger and more esteemed cousin. Different species but closely related. 
Great egret (Ardea alba) - All white bird in the heron family. Some males will get quite large as they age and develop beautiful exotic plumage, once sought after by European hate makers.
Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) - Limpkins are regularly seen busily seeking fish around the edges of lakes and ponds. 
American white ibis (Eudocimus albus) - Ibises like to graze along Gateway lawns and fairways in military like formations. They'll also use their long beaks for catching small fish and crustaceans. 
Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) - Sometimes called a black ibis. Very similar to his white cousin. So much so that they're often seen together, though the glossy ibis is far less common. 
Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) - the most common hawk found in this part of Florida. Proficient hunters that dine on lizards, rodents, fish and even snakes and turtles. 
Merlin (Falco columbarius) - small and fast falcon. Very agile flyers. You'll hear them chittering as they zip around the lakes and fields. 
Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) - the bird that inspired Woody. One of the larger and louder woodpeckers (we have several) with a very distinctive call. 
Turkey buzzard (Cathartes aura) - part of our environmental clean-up crew. Very common in southwest Florida. 
Black vulture (Coragyps atratus) - common but not quite as common as the turkey vulture. 
American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) - this once-endangered species can now be found in nearly every body of water in Florida, Some of our larger, older and more well-known gators even have names. DO NOT FEED. Doing so or causing them to get comfortable around humans is not good, and could even be a death sentence to them... or something they see as food.
Florida soft-shelled turtle (Apalone ferox) - unique and beautiful water turtles native to Florida. Very shy unless they know you. 
Yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta) - the most common of the inland water turtles. You'll see them sunning themselves on rocks and shorelines. Sliders will occasionally go mobile looking for new waterways or mates. We often help them across roads so they don't hold up traffic or get run over.
Water moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus) - not a common nor welcome site, but moccasins are seen here occasionally. You don't want to to get bit, but fortunately - contrary to lore - they're rarely deadly to humans. 
Scarlet king snake (Lampropeltis elapsoides) - as harmless as it is useful for keeping rodents and pests away. Not to be confused with the venomous coral snake - which has its red bands on yellow, not black.  
Black racer (Coluber constrictor) - sometimes called an "eastern" racer, but these are more specific to our habitat and darker in color. Fast moving and scary looking to some, but harmless if left alone and very good at keeping pests away. 
Eastern rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) - harmless, even gentle pest-sentry. You want these in your garden. 
Green anole (Anolis carolinensis) - These will change color chameleon-like depending on their surroundings. Unlike the brown anole, the green species is native to this area. In fact, they were the only type of anole found in Florida before large populations were displaced by its invasive cousin, the brown anole. 
Brown anole (Anolis sagrei) - Invasive close relative of the green anole. These originated in Cuba and can now be found in nearly every backyard in south Florida. 

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