Cascades Project may transform downtown

An image of what the Cascade Project is to look like when completed.
Photo submitted by Lindsey Magura.

Over the next year you might notice that the north section of Cascades Park is going to start looking a little different. That’s because North American Properties, the company that owns Stadium Centre, is working on the largest economic development project Tallahassee has seen in recent years.  

The development is called  Cascades Project. It will be located in a two-block area just south of East Gaines Street, directly across the street from Cascades {ark.

In addition to bringing a vibrant scene to the downtown, the project is expected to bring in more than $350 million in economic growth to Tallahassee. Along with the money, it will bring nearly a 770 jobs to the community.

According to, the project is to “Capturing the spirit of Tallahassee and creating an iconic sense of place in the downtown region.”

Lindsey Magura, a project manager for NAP, says that this development has been in the works for a few years.

“This development marks the culmination of nearly three years of planning and gathering input from the community about the best way to create a more vibrant downtown and keep residential growth within the urban core,” Magura said.

Even though this is a college town, the apartments that are included in the development are more geared to people who have already graduated and are looking for their first job.

“Our market studies show that 70 percent of our residents would be under the age of 35 but this is not student housing. We believe it would attain a lot of talents, graduates from FAMU, FSU, and TCC, but this is more geared toward students that have graduated and they’re having their first or second job, young professionals,” she explained.

The project will feature apartments (175 units) and locally sourced dining options.  The master plan currently includes a food hall concept, a Marriott AC hotel, and office space. A variety of event venues and support spaces that will bring people together and energize this entire area are part of the plan that includes 250 public parking spaces.

According to an announcement by the AC Hotels by Marriot, the hotel will sit at the heart of the 5-acre development. Plans for the seven-story, 154-room hotel boast more than 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space as well as a rooftop bar and observation deck overlooking the park.

“The lobby will be European-inspired and feature high ceilings and an open staircase leading up to the AC Lounge, which will serve craft beers, signature cocktails and tapas-style small bites. Stylish yet efficient guest rooms, sleek furnishings, ambient lighting, hardwood floors and intuitive in room technology will offer discriminating guests a tranquil retreat at the core of a local hot spot,” stated the announcement.

The Cascades Project also hopes to highlight the rich history of Tallahassee by creating a “four corners of history” at the intersection of Gaines and Gadsden streets. The four corners include: The Old City Waterworks, the Historic Caroline Brevard Grammar School, the former County Health Unit, which NAP will preserve and repurpose and a new community-envisioned historical plaza commemorating the important events of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

NAP will invest $132 million in the project, and a hotel partner will invest $18 million; $2.5 million of Tourist Development funds will be used to purchase city-owned support space for the Capital City Amphitheater. And $6.9 million in city funds will be used to purchase the requested public parking that will be built as part of the project. Also included in the funding plan is $2.25 million in CRA funds or grants to support the $7.1 million in public improvements that will be made as a result of the project.

The Cascades Project is on track to be completed in late 2020 with the apartments to start leasing in 2021.