Residents weigh in on Northwood Center project

A map of some of what’s planned for the Northwood Center. Graphic courtesy: City of Tallahassee

The City of Tallahassee held another community meeting Tuesday to discuss ideas for the Northwood Center. The 29-acre lot bordered by North Monroe Street and North Martin Luther King Boulevard, will be redeveloped into the new Tallahassee Police Department headquarters and possibly a performing arts center, but the city also wants to hear from the community about amenities they would like to see included.

The police department got first dibs, because it needs a proper “home.” The headquarters on Seventh Avenue was not originally set to house the police department. Four years ago, there was a proposal to build new headquarters for TPD across the street from Piggly Wiggly on South Monroe Street. But when the community said they did not want police headquarters on the city’s south side, the idea was scrapped.

When the city and TPD settled on the Northwood Center location, they knew they community buy-in and input. Tuesday’s session took place at the Senior Center on North Monroe Street.

Special Projects Administrator Devan Leavins says the police department, which currently houses about 350 sworn officers, needs a new home.

“The building was built in 1970. Right now, if you were to go to the basement of the building, you’ll see dirt. That’s how old the building is, and the department needs a revamp,” Leavins said.

The Northwood project will not only house the police department, and the city is looking for ideas from the community. It has already been proposed by some residents to have a performing arts center, low-income housing, an upscale restaurant and food truck area, a library annex, farmers market, botanical garden, and some recreational outdoor space, among other proposals. As of now the parcel does include a planned community arts center and a mobility hub, which will have covered electric vehicle parking spaces, bicycle parking and possibly a public parking garage. The rest is considered green space — until more ideas surface.

The vision for the project began four years ago, but the demolition of the lot didn’t take place until March 2021.

The director of Environmental Services and Facilities, John Powell, says an internal demolition was done before the external demolishment in August 2021. No word just yet on when the project will be complete, but it is anticipated that utility construction and installation will begin by November.

In addition to the Northwood project, the city commission plans to build a new fire department on FAMU Way at Lake Bradford Road, which is to be completed by late 2024.

If you would like to catch a timeline of events taking place with the Northwood Center project, or to submit an amenity request, go  here.