FORT MYERS, Fla.—November 11, 2015— The City of Fort Myers has honored Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Shareholder Joseph Coleman with a key to the city for his dedication and hard work in facilitating the sale of the former Ambassador Hotel.
Mayor Randy Henderson presented Coleman, who is the head of Buchanan’s Fort Myers office, with the key to the city during a recent Fort Myers City Council meeting. Coleman represented Amtel Group of Florida in the sale of the long-dormant hotel in the heart of downtown Fort Myers. Now under new ownership, the 26-story Ambassador building will be transformed into Campo Felice, a high-end senior independent living facility that is expected to bring more than 500 new residents into the city’s revitalized downtown.
“I am extremely grateful to receive this honor from Mayor Henderson and the City Council,” said Coleman, who has been practicing law for nearly 30 years. “The long-awaited revival of the Ambassador property will be a catalyst for the downtown area.”
The Ambassador Hotel was a thriving destination for tourists and convention visitors when it opened in 1987 in the city’s Riverfront District. As many downtown businesses and retailers relocated to the suburbs, the pink building languished and became an eyesore for the city. Amtel purchased the property in 1993 with plans to inject new life into the building through capital investments and improvements. But the untimely death of the Amtel family patriarch in 2001 led to contentious litigation over the company’s remaining assets, and the hotel continued to decline.
Amtel decided to pursue a sale of the hotel property. The city offered incentives to potential buyers. Yet, numerous deals fell through without a sale. During one particularly frustrating meeting, Mayor Henderson turned to Coleman and said, “Joe, if you ever get this deal done, I’m going to present you with the key to the city.” Thanks to Coleman’s persistence, a $13.5 million sale of the building to The Pittman Group was completed in January 2015. The mayor made good on his promise during the Sept. 21 City Council meeting.
Coleman practices in both state and federal trial courts. He focuses his practice on business litigation, including contract disputes, business dissolution, restrictive covenants, wrongful discharge, wage and hour disputes and commercial torts, in addition to real estate and probate litigation. Since 1995, Coleman has been a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator and Circuit Court Mediator.
A graduate of Georgetown University and the Florida State University College of Law, Coleman has always been an active member of the community. He is on the Board of Directors for Tiger Bay Club of Lee County, Habitat for Humanity of Lee County and the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties.
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