CRA moving forward with plans to begin Cascades project

Photo credit: Sydne Vigille 

As of this year, the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is moving forward in creating the Cascades project and is expected to begin construction in early August. This is the largest CRA project recorded in Tallahassee history.

It will include the building of 164 apartments, 24 townhomes, a hotel, a fitness center, restaurants, retail establishments, a wellness center and 3,000 square feet of office space.

The economic impact of this multi-use development is an estimated $353.6 million in total, creating 2,209 construction related jobs and 700 other jobs. This will bring in a total of $117.8 million in income and wages.

There will also be a historical plaza that will honor the nation’s first non-violent jail-in – the Leon County Health Unit and WPA District Offices.

“Part of the RFP (request for proposal) reply with the city of Tallahassee and the CRA was to honor the history here,” said North American Properties Florida (NAP) partner Shawn McIntyre. “(To) work with the architectures and work with the stakeholders that actually remember the history, people like John Dew and Reverend Steele they lived it. And it is important to capture those moments while we still can.”   

According to Lindsey Magura, NAP project manager, “This project will be great a tool in retaining talent… with promoting all of the programs and having all of these uses in one place will create an environment that makes college students want to stay.”

A reduction in the loss of young professionals is listed as one of the community benefits of this project.

The project first began when the CRA sent out a request for a proposal in February 2016 with the intent of finding developers. It was not until their second request that was sent out in August of that same year that NAP responded. After the submission of their proposal, the CRA Board was to vote in January 2017. It was not until January 2018 that the developer signed the last five documents with the CRA to build the Cascades project.

The Firestone and the second Bloxham Annex buildings will be leveled together in order to allow NAP the space needed for the new development.

The entire project in total will cost approximately $158 million, with NAP investing $132 million up front. After the project is completed, the CRA will then reimburse NAP a percentage of their property tax for the remaining 13 years.

“The best thing I appreciate about the redevelopment is that it will still remain will a community friendly place with all of the buildings and stores being built around this park,” said Diane Roada, a Tallahassee resident. “I’ve been coming here with my grandkids for the past 3 years and I plan on coming for many more.”