fgcu Fort Myers: Home to the Ultimate CinderellaOK America.  It’s officially time to focus on Florida Gulf Coast University and their amazing, incredible and fun-filled rise in the NCAA Tournament.  They have so many storylines.  A former Wall Street hotshot turned coach who married a supermodel.  Players no one wanted or knew about.  A 22-year-old school with dorm rooms overlooking a beach.  And, let’s face it, until this weekend the school had about as much public awareness as the migration patterns of pelicans.

And included in the story is the school’s home in Fort Meyers, FL.  It’s a city of about 65,000 that is home to the  Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox spring training.  Michael Madden, who heads the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office at Fort Myers Beach believes the city is a bit of an undiscovered gem.

The school itself is located about 20 minutes from downtown or the beach and is situated right near two major shopping destinations – Miromar Outlets and Gulf Coast Town Center that continues to grow with new restaurants and hotels continuously being added.

“We have so much to do here with great fishing, boating and other outdoor activities with great weather,” he said.  “While Naples is likely more well known as a luxury destination, Fort Myers has a nice mix between our tourism base and residents.  Our downtown has been developed and Florida Gulf Coast University has also brought renewed vibrancy to the area with its student population. Along with Chicos headquarters here, the school has also created a lot of jobs.”

It’s also a very affordable place to live.  According the Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report, a 4 bedroom/2 bath home in Fort Myers would average $201,803 compared to the same type of home in Naples costing about $300,000.

The affordability has allowed many FGCU students to forego dorm living according to Sue Wolverton, who manages the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office in the downtown Fort Myers area.   “Condos in the immediate area around the school can start at around $100,000, so it makes economic sense.  Often the parents discover the area through their kids and eventually buy a second-home here because it is so affordable and amazing.”

And there is no doubt FGCU is doing its job in raising greater awareness for the region.

“We are going crazy about the FGCU basketball team,” Madden said.  “It was a  great weekend and the entire city is EXCITED.  And that is in all capital letters!”