Development grows throughout city

As commuters drive through downtown Tallahassee, it is not unusual for them to be bombarded by cranes, ladders, and an abundance of men in armless plaid shirts and hard hats.

With numerous new developments already underway and various other developments in tow, downtown Tallahassee is undergoing a long overdue makeover.

As the capital of the fourth largest state in the U.S., Tallahassee’s downtown district has fallen short of many upscale retail and residential facilities that most people expect from a capital city.

Spanning from Tennessee Street to Pensacola Street in one direction and from Brunough to Gadsen Street in another direction, Tallahassee officials have a lot of work ahead of them.

Different agencies such as the Downtown Improvement Authority (DIA), as well as community and university representatives, such as Delmas Barber from FAMU, all serve as facilitators and project managers for the project of renovating Tallahassee.

In an effort to spruce up downtown, the DIA enlisted the help of Marketek, a survey and marketing firm to pinpoint exactly what the citizens of Tallahassee want to include in their “new and improved” capital.

The survey results determined residents want increased luxury living, unique retail and five-star restaurants to “stimulate activity that will extend downtown hours of business into the evening for a full urban lifestyle.”

Don Pickett, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Hartung & Noblin, Inc., said: “Tallahassee is joining a large number of cities where people want to live downtown. The solution is condominium developments to satisfy those needs.”

New residential projects such as The Tennyson, the Tallahassee Center Condominiums, 417 Park Avenue, Kleman Plaza Tower, the Symphony Condominiums and College Park Commons, are being developed to cater to the residential requests of Tallahassee citizens.

For those who can afford the steep prices of $288,900 to $864,900, residing at the Tallahassee Center Condominiums includes other amenities.

These condos will include fully furnished kitchens with upgraded state-of-the-art appliances and top-of-the-line silverware, dishes and cookware.

The bathrooms and bedrooms come fully furnished as well, with towels and linens.

Tallahassee is also creating “high-class” living downtown: 417 Park Avenue, with prices as high as $1.1 million, and the Symphony Condominiums, which are located conveniently across from the Florida State University School of Music.

Various properties are aimed at attracting FSU residents.

Pickett said properties like College Park Commons are geared towards FSU Boosters, FSU Faculty, FSU students, and FSU Alumni.

Most properties are targeting young professionals, government officials and some students.

A few established downtown residential facilities are renovating their properties to compete with the new developments.

Plans to place a Marriott Residence Inn at the intersection of Gaines Street and Railroad Avenue are in also in negotiation.

If approved, this will be the first major development at this intersection.

It will also “help serve as a benchmark for future development” in that area.

In addition to the abundant number of residential improvements, retail and restaurant projects are also underway.

The restaurants Another Broken Egg and the Cool Grindz coffee shop, and retailer Imagine have all relocated to the capital to attract downtown frequenters.

Some residential facilities have plans to place upscale restaurants within their walls to attract more business as well.

Incentive programs such as Enterprise Zone are being offered to potential new downtown business owners.

The city also wants to improve landscape, scenery and safety for downtown frequenters are also taken into consideration during this period of improvement.

Marilyn Larson, executive director for the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority said: “Downtown Tallahassee is moving more into a café-type of society, and not so much a bar-lounge type. People will be able to be social outdoors and indoors.”

Contact Gheni Platenburg at