Cascades Project nears completion

Cascades Project projected look. Photo courtesy

Many residents and city officials are excited about the construction taking place in Cascades Park.

The exteriors for the soon-to-be AC Hotel by Marriot and the connecting apartment buildings and condominiums are basically finished. All that’s left are the interiors and electrical workings.

City officials and some big business owners are thrilled to see the estimated $162 million project coming together.  It is scheduled to open next summer.

However, there are some people in the Tallahassee area who are against the new development.

Since January 2019, the construction has been underway and “has been making pretty impressive progress,” according to Eva Jones, an avid walker in the park who sees the project on the north end of Cascades as a promising addition to the area.

But Christopher Williams, another resident, finds that the gentrification is more of a negative addition to the community rather than a perk.

“There’s really no positive to this,” Williams said. “It’s like a city inside of the park and it takes more away from the natural beauty of the park.”

He said he believes that the foot traffic will be awful, and that the area will soon be more crowded.

In addition to those negatives, Williams also blames the Cascades Project for the $35 rent increase recently enacted by his landlord.

A pharmaceutical consulting firm, Artia Solutions, will be relocating from its current office to the Merestone building, alongside Cascades Park.

Chief of operations for Artia Solutions, Matthew Dull, believes that the move into the new building will benefit his company and that overall, the construction as a whole is going to benefit the surrounding businesses in the area.

“The new location is perfect for business because we host plenty of clients from out of town so it will be convenient to have a place for them to stay that is walking distance from our offices,” Dull said.

For bigger businesses and corporations in Tallahassee, the construction — which will also include some retail — at the park is beneficial, especially for the Marriott hotel chain.

Jones said, “I’m really excited for this hotel. My husband and I already put our names on the list to spend a romantic night together in the hotel.”

But for the residents who live close to the park, their rent and cost of living may increase once the project is completed. Along with more foot traffic and higher prices, the gentrification that’s going on in Tallahassee has been affecting some small businesses as well. Luckily for larger corporations, despite the pandemic and social distancing rules, the Cascades Project is moving along swiftly.