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Tallahassee Malls  

26 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Mall do you currently shop most?

    • Governor's Square Mall
      13
    • Tallahassee Mall
      4
    • Both about the Same
      9
  2. 2. How would you rate the Governor's Square Mall?

    • Excellent
      3
    • Good
      10
    • OK
      11
    • Sub-Quality
      2
    • Poor
      0
  3. 3. How would you rate the Tallahassee Mall?

    • Excellent
      0
    • Good
      3
    • OK
      8
    • Sub-Quality
      11
    • Poor
      3
  4. 4. Do you think the pending Pinnacle at Cross Creek mall is a threat to any of the following Malls?

    • Governor's Square
      10
    • Tallahassee Mall
      23


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I'm thinking this situation is very similar to what happened in the Commonwealth Park with GT Technologies. The city has given them incentives in the form of infrastructure enhancement financing to expand their current facility. If Feldman is asking for incentives to improve the public infrastructure such as sidewalks, and street lighting, access to and from the mall and that sort of thing, what's the difference?

I'm walking blind here, I haven't seen the letter written by Feldman or the proposal so its hard to take sides at this point. But already I do know, and I'm not surprised to hear that Commissioner Ratcliff is against this venture.

In the article, Michael Wright indicates that most of the new major retail permits issued in Tallahassee are big box detached stores such as Kohls, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Target. I don't think these stores fit the same mold as a shopping mall.

Tallahassee Mall is currently the closest mall we have to the I-10. With some infrastructure investment in the immediate area we could be talking about a rebirth of interest in this NW corridor by private enterprises, a domino effect of much the same that brought the many restaurants Best Buy, Target, Circuit City, World Market, and others to the Parkway. I'm more than confident that North Monroe would see a surge of interest from the outside if we can once again position this area as a thriving shopping destination.

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Like you TJ, I'd like to know more about this proposal (specifics) and Feldman's plans for upgrading the mall. I too was wondering if some of these incentives would be used for enhancements on the surrounding infrastructure. If you find out anymore details from your buds at COT, please let us know b/c I'd be greatly interested.

Your bud Tally is right, if that mall dies, that whole North Monroe corridor will fall apart especially w/Pinnacle coming in. Tally Mall needs to change its focus like we've talked about in the past and become more of an entertainment and dinning center and let Pinnacle and the Disco Mall have the high-end stores.

If you ever want to know what happens when a mall dies just drive north on US 231 to where it runs into the bypass around Montgomery, AL. Montgomery got a new outdoor lifestyle center about 3 years ago that that killed the Montgomery Mall (they do have another enclosed mall) and the whole corridor of the Southern Blvd that the dead mall is on, is now dead too. Things like Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond have all left the corrior and sadly the whole corridor now is pretty much a blighted area.

If the Feldman renovations are good and help make the mall competitive by altering its function and if the incentives help w/the surrounding infrastructure, then it could be the thing to do, notice I said COULD. :)

Only an idiot would have a knee-jerk rejection of the entire proposal w/out doing more research on the proposal and plans. Rejecting it on merit is fine, but I want a commissioner that looks intelligently into something and researches and discusses all viewpoints before publicly announcing his rejection of it. Should this proposal pass, am I going to have to deal w/Silly Ole Bob and his band of granola minions picketing this site too?

The question is do we pay now, or do we pay later? And that question I can't answer w/out all the details.

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Poonther, you hit on my next point which was to address the certain county commissioner that has been the voice of rejection for seemingly anything economically beneficial in the past few years. Quite frankly Bob Ratcliff is embarassing me. He wears the badge of a Democrat, but his constant rejection of Economic Development initatives in Tallahassee perpetuates the idea that Democrats are anti-business, when this isn't true.

Bob needs to not serve this community if he's going to prejudge everything we try economically. Is this not the same man that says he favors giving local businesses a hand's up in the community (Turbocor) before some company from the outside? Is the Tallahassee Mall not a local business? Sure its now owned by an out-of-town group, but it is Tallahassee's longest running shopping mall. Furthermore, you would think he would support an Urban Renewal / infill-type project vs. a sprawl-inspired alternative.

The Leon County Board of commissioners needs to flex some muscle when it comes to economic development, or we'll find ourselves slipping behind those counties around us who want it a little more. I'd hate for Tallahassee to become another Jackson, Mississippi where everything begins to flee the central city for the outskirts because that's where businesses are allowed to flourish.

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Like you TJ, I'd like to know more about this proposal (specifics) and Feldman's plans for upgrading the mall. I too was wondering if some of these incentives would be used for enhancements on the surrounding infrastructure. If you find out anymore details from your buds at COT, please let us know b/c I'd be greatly interested.

Your bud Tally is right, if that mall dies, that whole North Monroe corridor will fall apart especially w/Pinnacle coming in. Tally Mall needs to change its focus like we've talked about in the past and become more of an entertainment and dinning center and let Pinnacle and the Disco Mall have the high-end stores.

If you ever want to know what happens when a mall dies just drive north on US 231 to where it runs into the bypass around Montgomery, AL. Montgomery got a new outdoor lifestyle center about 3 years ago that that killed the Montgomery Mall (they do have another enclosed mall) and the whole corridor of the Southern Blvd that the dead mall is on, is now dead too. Things like Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond have all left the corrior and sadly the whole corridor now is pretty much a blighted area.

If the Feldman renovations are good and help make the mall competitive by altering its function and if the incentives help w/the surrounding infrastructure, then it could be the thing to do, notice I said COULD. :)

Only an idiot would have a knee-jerk rejection of the entire proposal w/out doing more research on the proposal and plans. Rejecting it on merit is fine, but I want a commissioner that looks intelligently into something and researches and discusses all viewpoints before publicly announcing his rejection of it. Should this proposal pass, am I going to have to deal w/Silly Ole Bob and his band of granola minions picketing this site too?

The question is do we pay now, or do we pay later? And that question I can't answer w/out all the details.

Ditto on the wanting to know more, and perhaps I should just shut up until I know exactly what the proposal calls for ;) ..... In any event, my initial read on the article was that the owners want to do $45 million redevelopment/renovation project on their privately owned property (which will presumably result in their making a lot more $$ in the long run), but they only want to pay $30 million and then have around $15 million worth of tax revenue assistance so that someone else foots the bill for the rest at a time when we're supposed to be reducing spending and trying to lower people's tax bills.

Once again, I don't know what that $15 million is supposed to go towards so I'm obviosly just thinking out loud and these thoughts are premature, but I have trouble imagining what infrastructure improvements would be necessary and/or could cost that much for the property (possibly some improved accessability from Monroe Street that might include a new light and/or some lane re-alignment, but nothing anywhere near that costly- but I don't know a lot about the hard costs associated with such so I could be totally off-base). If, in the alternative, the owner/developer is realizing that they may have paid too much for the property 2 years ago, isnt' making the kind of profit-margin they expected, and just wants to do a $45 million renovation when they only have the ability to spend somewhere around $30 million, I don't think the public should be asked to kick in the rest just so that the owner/developer can make their numbers work. Understand, I WANT this renovation to happen, but if a private owner has $55 million to buy and another $30 to renovate, they shouldn't be asking the taxpayers to foot the bill for improvements to their building, parking lot, etc., anything other than maybe improving some sidewalks, bus stops, and maybe putting up another stoplight.

As for the mall and/or that parcel dying- I don't see it happening. If the current owners can't make their numbers work, that property is waaaaay to valuable (has great access from I-10, downtown and the growth to the north) for someone else not to come in and purchase, renovate, subdivide and/or redevelop the parcel (Cheesecake factory, PF Changs, and one of those anchor spaces sure could make a nice Dave & Buster's along side some new adjoining codos....lots of possibilities).

I'll be quiet now until I know more :thumbsup:

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josefk,

I totally understand what you're saying and I agree that tax payers should not be asked to foot the bill for this company to make its numbers. Having said that, I do feel the Tallahassee Mall is the ideal entity to spark the redevelopment of North Monroe Street toward I-10. Although they say they only want to spend $30-$35 Million on their $47 Million renovation, many of the expenses they may incur may involve finance charges, permitting fees, possible environmental mitigation including soil replacement and storm water management, sidewalk installation, transit orientation, site access modifications, as well as neighborhood improvements which are unknown at this point but may include street lighting improvements, pedestrian site linkage, safety trails, etc... These are projects that serve a public good and those that would justify assistance from the local government, in my opinion.

Like the both of you, I'm holding out for the proposal until I know the details.

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As for the mall and/or that parcel dying- I don't see it happening. If the current owners can't make their numbers work, that property is waaaaay to valuable (has great access from I-10, downtown and the growth to the north) for someone else not to come in and purchase, renovate, subdivide and/or redevelop the parcel (Cheesecake factory, PF Changs, and one of those anchor spaces sure could make a nice Dave & Buster's along side some new adjoining codos....lots of possibilities).

I'll be quiet now until I know more :thumbsup:

josefk I'm not trying to cry doomsday here and I certainly don't want Tally Mall and the surrounding area to die. However, your thoughts are exactly what folks in Montgomery were banking on and so far that's not occurred. Montgomery is a city just a tad bigger than us, but their metro is about the same size. The dead mall was at the heavily travelled intersection of US 231 (which handles much more traffic than US 27) and Southern Blvd one of MGM's busiest roads. Southern Blvd connects to not one but two interstates (85 and 65.) Also SE MGM is one of the fastest growing areas of residential development in their city and behind that mall are their more upscale in town neighborhoods. Once the departments stores fled to the new outdoor mall and the surrounding big box retail stores and restaurants followed them and now the corridor is a ghost town. I just don't want what happened there to happen here.

Now is this proposal the correct mechanism for that not to happen here? I sure don't know w/out tons more details. I'm like you, just talking out loud here, not certain exactly how I feel about this.

One way this retail flight can be stopped or slowed by our city is not to allow tons of other retail to surround Pinnacle. I'm not sure if that can be accomplished, however the 2 lanes of Mahan may help play a hand in that for awhile.

Also MGM has a lot more white flight w/ big suburban shopping centers popping up in their adjacent counties including such names as Kohl's and Bass Pro. Not as much of a problem here yet, but it is starting to happen here w/the massive flight to Wakulla.

Even if the mall sat dead for only 5 years, the impacts on Monroe would be great. It might take them that long just to get funding and permits.

I wonder if Feldman will still follow through w/their $30 million to renovate if this proposal does not pass? I mean that's a lot of money and should go far just by itself.

TJ, can you find out more info for us? I know you've got the connections!

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TJ, can you find out more info for us? I know you've got the connections!

I'm already on it Poonther. I've just written to Feldman and I expect a reply soon.

Here is what I wrote:

Dear Feldman:

I

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Feldman Mall Properties, Inc.

Tallahassee Mall Redevelopment and Modernization Project

Situation Overview

TallahasseeMall035.jpg

In effort to revive the mall and rejuvenate the surrounding region, Feldman Mall Properties, Inc.

(FMP), owner of the Tallahassee Mall, plans to invest more than $40 million to improve

the infrastructure and attract new anchor tenants. However, it cannot succeed without

assistance from local government entities.

FMP has approached Leon County and the City of Tallahassee about creating a public/private

redevelopment plan for the Tallahassee Mall, which would require local governments to invest

$15 million in the project. Public dollars would go toward street and transportation

improvements, landscaping and beautification, and updated exterior design efforts.

With the formation of the public/private partnership, the existing city and county real estate and

sales tax base would be retained and even improved. The area would also keep nearly 850 jobs,

and add more than 250 jobs in the coming years. That

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I'm attaching a copy of a circulation that gives surface details about a CRA. It should be noted that a recent Florida Supreme Court decision found a certain method of tax increment financing unconstitutional. I've yet to review the court decision for myself to understand if it will affect our systems.

cra.pdf

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∙ The real estate tax base of $1,179,345 would be diminished

∙ The sales tax revenue of $6,190,203 would be eliminated

∙ Nearly 850 jobs would be lost

Crime and vandalism would increase

The last one is going to need some more explanation.

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I forgot to mention, this was not my own creation. This information was forwarded to me by Stacey Getz of Core Message.

I need clarification on a few things as well.

Furthermore there are certain elements of this proposal I can and cannot support. This is what I hope to see them reach an agreement on.

∙ Re-paving and re-striping the parking field to accommodate

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Im interested to see how they explain the increase in crime and vandalism. Do they mean of the mall/property only? Or the whole area? That was a broad statement to make without any explanation.

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I forgot to mention, this was not my own creation. This information was forwarded to me by Stacey Getz of Core Message.

I need clarification on a few things as well.

Furthermore there are certain elements of this proposal I can and cannot support. This is what I hope to see them reach an agreement on.

∙ Re-paving and re-striping the parking field to accommodate "park and ride" traffic

City to subsidize this as a transit system enhancement.

∙ Broadening and re-doing all road entrances to the mall

City/County to subsidize this as the roads are government facilities.

∙ Installing traffic signals where permitted to create safe turn lanes

City/County to fully fund this as safety is a public interest.

∙ Expanding the Burlington Coat Factory store

NO SUBSIDY

∙ Re-doing all landscaping in effort to beautify the area surrounding the facility

NO SUBSIDY. Landscaping in a private ownership responsibility. This is not public property.

∙ Updating and upgrading the facade with an emphasis on exterior beautification

City has a facade enhancement grant that Feldman should be able to qualify for. The Tallahassee Mall should receive a larger than normal grant as it will involve improving a much larger than normal facility. This grant is available to all local businesses within certain districts.

∙ Renovating the food court to make it more attractive to shoppers

No way, Jose! NO GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY!

∙ Installing new signage throughout the property

Subsidy only under the condition that StarMetro Park & Ride is prominently displayed on signs.

∙ Building a new play area for children with various educational and entertainment features

Subsidy only if these features are free and open to the public.

TJ, we're pretty much on the same page here- these items like new landscaping, upgrading the facade, renovating the food court, expanding Burlington, etc. are EXACTLY the type of $$ requests that I was talking about yesterday, and there is no way that the commission should even consider using public funds to subsidize such plans. Although I also would like some more clarification, I don't think they should receive funds to re-pave and re-stripe their parking lot either (maybe a portion at the front for new "park and ride" facilities, but by no means more than a small area), and I have no idea what to think about a subsidized new play area for kids........I say let the owner use their own money and lease some space to a gymboree if that's such a big concern. Better access and traffic signals I can live with b/c they probably are needed so I don't mind us pitching in a little.

What really gets me here, is that they're trying to lump this into the Frenchtown/Southside CRA. Are they kidding? Where is that $15 million needed more- continuing improvements in Frenchtown and finally moving things along on Gaines and on the Southside where there is very little private money to be invested (notwithstanding the efforts of several local business people and builders, like in RR Square and All Saints) and the public funds are actually needed- or as a gift to a private mall owner who already has the ability to spend $30 million on a renovation project but wants an additional $15 of public money to renovate the food court and relandscape his property. Seriously? I'd much rather see us give $1 million to 15 different small business owners downtown and on Gaines in some type of partnership who actually need the money and who I'm sure would love to have better parking, nicer store-fronts and landscaping (not to mention the property tax relief that the new proposals don't do much for).

I want to see Tallahassee mall improved (interior and exterior), and would love to see some new anchors, restaurants, etc. move in. But if they can't make the renovations they need to make with $30 million- an amount equal to more than 50% of what they paid for the entire property (correct me if I'm wrong, but i believe the purchase price was around $55 million), perhaps they should scale back and re-evaluate to determine which improvements are really needed, and which ones would just be part of that $15 million worth of public icing they're looking to put on their cake.

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I assume they mean it will suffer the fate of many other large, abandoned properties that have become a haven for transients, graffiti, gangs and drug activity. A very broad statement I think aimed at the mall property which is the landmark for that area.

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TJ

I want to see Tallahassee mall improved (interior and exterior), and would love to see some new anchors, restaurants, etc. move in. But if they can't make the renovations they need to make with $30 million- an amount equal to more than 50% of what they paid for the entire property (correct me if I'm wrong, but i believe the purchase price was around $55 million), perhaps they should scale back and re-evaluate to determine which improvements are really needed, and which ones would just be part of that $15 million worth of public icing they're looking to put on their cake.

I'm with you Josef. I believe this $10-$15 Million gift they're asking for isn't really what they think they'll recieve. And why should they. I think when all is said and done they'll be lucky to get $1-2 Million from local government to do what they want to do and if I'm them, I'd be happy to get that. Meanwhile, they should reserve the right to continue to push improvements to the surrounding area if that portion of their plan cannot be funded at this time. I believe if they can give the Mall the hard improvements it needs on both the exterior and interior, and work in the much needed "Park & Ride" element, investment will gravitate back to the area and the burden of rebuilding that community won't fall on their shoulders but will be shared by the area as a whole.

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As a neighbor of the Tallahassee Mall area, I can agree with many of the sentiments posted on this site. The things that I could see that would benefit not just the mall but the neighborhood as a whole are the enhancement of pedestrian access points into the mall (walking on grass and mud and across parking lots/drive aisles is not the safest option out there), the enhancements to transit service (which both Feldman and StarMetro would like to see, based on conversations with Star Metro and the TalTran Renaissance Plan), and the possibility of including a more mixed-use component to any renovation/remodel of the Mall. I also agree that the soon to open Panera Bread store could serve as the second step in the redesign of the area facing Monroe St to be an outdoor center component (except I would like to see both exterior and interior access to this store, unlike the Guitar Center store). As far as the area formerly inhabited by the Burlington Coat Factory, perhaps some incentive for on-site workforce housing can be provided by Feldman (in conjunction with the city and county) that would benefit all parties.

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I'd hate for Tallahassee to become another Jackson, Mississippi where everything begins to flee the central city for the outskirts because that's where businesses are allowed to flourish.

To some extent that's already the case. And would be more prominent but the county has so many growth and business restrictions that fleeing to the outskirts slowed to a crawl long ago.

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^Tallahassee has a very mild case of suburban flight. One thing I can safely say about Tallahassee is that it has maintained and built upon the presence of business within the city. Furthermore, our city streets, neighborhoods, parks, schools, etc. have not been allowed to deteriorate. Sure we could and should do more to ensure we continue to preserve Tallahassee as a vibrant core for our region, but in no way are we a Jackson, MS in this regard.

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As a neighbor of the Tallahassee Mall area, I can agree with many of the sentiments posted on this site. The things that I could see that would benefit not just the mall but the neighborhood as a whole are the enhancement of pedestrian access points into the mall (walking on grass and mud and across parking lots/drive aisles is not the safest option out there), the enhancements to transit service (which both Feldman and StarMetro would like to see, based on conversations with Star Metro and the TalTran Renaissance Plan), and the possibility of including a more mixed-use component to any renovation/remodel of the Mall. I also agree that the soon to open Panera Bread store could serve as the second step in the redesign of the area facing Monroe St to be an outdoor center component (except I would like to see both exterior and interior access to this store, unlike the Guitar Center store). As far as the area formerly inhabited by the Burlington Coat Factory, perhaps some incentive for on-site workforce housing can be provided by Feldman (in conjunction with the city and county) that would benefit all parties.

When you say on-site workforce housing, Psycuda, are you talking in terms of an out parcel apartment/condo/townhome develoment?

I just went back and read what you wrote and I'm uncertain of what you envision when you say that space formerly inhabited by Burlington could be used as workforce housing? Could you be a little clearer about your vision for this space?

And I totally agree with you on the point you make about Panera and the Guitar Center store with dual access. I also feel something should be done with Ross, and that Shoe Store at the far end of the mall. I propose an alternative to finding a new anchor (if efforts are unsuccessful) for the soon to be vacated Dillard's department store could be to allow Goody's to take that space, Ross and the Shoe Store Next to it could move into the vacated Goody's, tear down that white wall that seperates that portion of the mall from the rest of it, erect some glass panes, extend the hall way through those stores and bring in a Best Buy (or similar store) to fill the remaining area.

post-3748-1189773251_thumb.jpg

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^Tallahassee has a very mild case of suburban flight. One thing I can safely say about Tallahassee is that it has maintained and built upon the presence of business within the city. Furthermore, our city streets, neighborhoods, parks, schools, etc. have not been allowed to deteriorate. Sure we could and should do more to ensure we continue to preserve Tallahassee as a vibrant core for our region, but in no way are we a Jackson, MS in this regard.

I disagree somewhat on this point being that the main reason Tallahassee doesn't have a larger suburban flight by businesses is that the county has placed many barriers that have limited such flight. I firmly believe if those barriers were removed, the suburban business flight would increase dramatically. I am very familiar with the history of Jackson's tale of suburban flight and it began when Hinds County (keep in mind Jackson has suburbs in Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Copiah AND Simpson counties) allowed a mall to be built outside the city limits and then refused to enforce the state's "blue laws" (religious based laws strictly limiting business activities on Sundays). The mall quickly became hugely popular especially being opened on Sunday unlike malls in the rest of the state especially the Jackson mall at the time and various shopping centers. This really hurt city businesses of similar ilk and they put pressure on city leaders to do something about. One of the desperate measure seriously considered but shot down legally was an emergency annexation of the mall that was open on Sunday so they could enforce the "blue laws." Once this was legally shot down and it became apparent that operating on Sundays didn't cause the planet to explode but enforcement was spotty, a very few other businesses within the state started exploring the possibility of opening on Sundays despite the blue laws. The first one to do so post-Jackson was Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. Local leaders there were wise enough to know that the added business would aid the ailing beach economy so they turned a blind eye to the Sunday sales but for a long time, only the Edgewater Mall was opened on Sundays. Other shopping centers and individual businesses remained closed on Sundays in Biloxi although no one was enforcing the blue laws. However in the vast majority of Mississippi county governments, the blue laws were strictly enforced.

Over time, several legal challenges to the state's blue laws were fought and although I don't remember specifics on that the bottom line is that over time, more and more businesses, especially malls and shopping centers, chose to remain open on Sundays to conduct business. And even though the blue laws no longer exist in the State of Mississippi codes of ordinances (at least I THINK so) many rural and small-town businesses still honor the concept of closing on Sundays.

Anyway, it was way back then (78-79 to early 80's I seem to remember) when that county mall opened and flourished that began the massive flight of businesses to Hinds County and outside the city limits of Jackson. There was serious bad blood between the city and county that lasted for years. Plus the city government of Jackson remained stubborn in its committment to the blue laws for a long time even after they could have relented keeping many businesses inside the city limits. Furthermore, to attract more businesses not only from within the city limits but from outside the state, Hinds County officials offered many financial and zoning incentives that proved very attractive during the 80's and 90's which was the heyday of the suburban flight of businesses.

So naturally such a massive suburban flight of businesses to Leon County from within Tallahassee city limits would not occur as much as they did in Jackson since the situations are vastly different but it is my opinion that if the restrictions currently in place by Leon County were removed, there would be a marked increase in commerical suburban flight. For example, the north Monroe Wal-Mart/Super Wal-Mart situation (ex-Sam's Club location) wouldn't have even been an issue because Wal-Mart would have simply purchased property just outside the city limits (old airport north of Lake Jackson or somewhere on 90 near the Interstate perhaps?) and built but the current restrictions make that financially unfeasable I would imagine. While I was working for WCTV and they wanted to explore the possibility of building on the property they already owned on County Rd. 12 it was discovered to be too costly due to county restrictions. At one point it was discussed to purchase property just north of the Florida/Georgia line on which to build but for whatever reason, that was nixed.

Anyway, pardon my ramblings, but that's my take on the topic. The bottom line is that I believe the main thing preventing commercial suburban flight from occurring in Leon County are the restrictions already in place by Leon County officials. As further evidence (and this I will keep brief) is that it seems that in recent years whenever a city or county business has expanded beyond what its physical plant can handle, they move outside the county (Gadsden County, especially Midway seems to be a popular destination). Ring Power moved out there. One of the beer distributors did the same. Both WTXL and Fox49 moved to Midway. And from what I understand more businesses are either in the process of moving out there or at least exploring the possibility. If the proposed mall on DeVoe Moore's property doesn't happen for whatever reason, I would be willing to think the developers would think long and hard about building it in Midway near the I-10/Hwy 90 interchange.

However, as Dennis Miller says...that's my opinion...I could be wrong.

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Beukeboom thanks for the interesting information on Jackson and MS's blue laws. I always wondered about Jackson's retail flight to the north and you explained it very well. I get a good chuckle out of Blue Laws these days having lived in AL where they were predominant. The main reason for Country Clubs(including the one we belonged to) in AL was not entirely for the golf course or the big pool or even the tennis courts, no in our area it was for the drinking folks could do on Sunday. :)

I don't believe that Tally's suburban flight has even approached the levels of flight in Jackson or Montgomery (a town similar to Jackson and I am more familiar.) I live in an area of downtown/midtown Tally that would not really even exist to the extent it does in MGM and probably not in Jackson and mine is just one of numerous neighborhoods like this in the core of Tally. The large universities keep inner-Tally very much alive and demographically different that those cores of MGM and Jackson. MGM literally has miles of abandoned retail corridors b/c of white flight. I believe for years the populations of Hinds and Montgomery Counties (the core counties) have either had negative growth or just held their own while the surrounding counties exploded in growth. Not really the case here either w/the exception of Wakulla County exploding, our core county Leon continues to grow and until recently our adjacent counties Gadsden and Jefferson lost people. Just as of the last 5 years or so have these counties began to grow which I think is a good thing. All counties in the MSA/region growing is healthy for us all.

By restrictions of the county, I assume you mean zoning/comp plan policies which I think are doing exactly what they need to be doing. Compared to AL or MS, FL's policies are much greater on the state level and then we add Leon County's policies on top of them. No one is denying the flight to Midway or Wakulla County and parts of that I see as a natural progression as our Metro matures and grows. Midway's growth can be attributed to two things: 1.) like you stated a faster permitting process and cheaper land and 2) most important an I-10 interchange. I've always wondered why Quincy doesn't capitalize on their exit (SR 267) more. I don't think you'd ever see something like Pinnacle move out to Midway in our lifetimes b/c the income demographics just aren't there.

In Leon County, more people still live in the City as opposed to the unincorporated county. Also whenever my AL relatives visit me here in Tally, all of them always seem to comment on how the core of Tally (those parts w/in Cap Circle) seems to be growing and vibrant when they compare it to MGM or even B'ham. Now things maybe a tad different in Jackson than those two cities, but if I recall correctly, not by much.

Now that you've brought it up, I wonder how consolidation would effect growth patterns? Would they pretty much stay the same or would they change?

Anyway, that's my opinion and yours as you've stated is different, no big deal. That's what we are here for, to exchange ideas and I enjoy reading those that are different than mine.

One thing about this situation, we are both looking at it from different angles. I'm here on the inside looking out and you are there on the outside looking in (meaning where we live and do business.) Surely that's got to skew our opinions somewhat.

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Anyway, pardon my ramblings, but that's my take on the topic. The bottom line is that I believe the main thing preventing commercial suburban flight from occurring in Leon County are the restrictions already in place by Leon County officials. As further evidence (and this I will keep brief) is that it seems that in recent years whenever a city or county business has expanded beyond what its physical plant can handle, they move outside the county (Gadsden County, especially Midway seems to be a popular destination). Ring Power moved out there. One of the beer distributors did the same. Both WTXL and Fox49 moved to Midway. And from what I understand more businesses are either in the process of moving out there or at least exploring the possibility. If the proposed mall on DeVoe Moore's property doesn't happen for whatever reason, I would be willing to think the developers would think long and hard about building it in Midway near the I-10/Hwy 90 interchange.

However, as Dennis Miller says...that's my opinion...I could be wrong.

Above I said that Tallahassee has a very mild case of flight. And in your piece you help to reinforce my point yet you say you disagree with what I said. I'm confused Beuke! I'm not sure I understand. Whatever the case may be, this community has done a fair job limiting sprawl and maintaining the urban area. If you go to places like Jackson, MS you'll notice almost immediately they have not done the same within the actual city itself, while outlying suburban areas seem to be flourishing.

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When you say on-site workforce housing, Psycuda, are you talking in terms of an out parcel apartment/condo/townhome develoment?

I just went back and read what you wrote and I'm uncertain of what you envision when you say that space formerly inhabited by Burlington could be used as workforce housing? Could you be a little clearer about your vision for this space?

And I totally agree with you on the point you make about Panera and the Guitar Center store with dual access. I also feel something should be done with Ross, and that Shoe Store at the far end of the mall. I propose an alternative to finding a new anchor (if efforts are unsuccessful) for the soon to be vacated Dillard's department store could be to allow Goody's to take that space, Ross and the Shoe Store Next to it could move into the vacated Goody's, tear down that white wall that seperates that portion of the mall from the rest of it, erect some glass panes, extend the hall way through those stores and bring in a Best Buy (or similar store) to fill the remaining area.

I mean literally, as in a 3-4 story building with direct access to the mall by utilizing parking area that is hardly used right now, or the possibility of incorporating housing in the outdoor center component. I do agree with the sentiment about redesigning the section of the mall in the vicinity of Ross, since having to go outside to get to these stores is a pain.

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Psycuda, Your housing component to me is an innovative way of approaching this. I like the way you're thinking out side of the box. Perhaps you should run that idea by Mr. Feldman & Co. (e-mail address)

As for the Ross and Goody's portion, I definitely feel that is the weak spot on the mall for the very reason you named... you have to go outside to get to each of those stores (exception being Goody's of course). Those aren't bad stores, but the way they are attached to the mall makes them liabilities at this point. But if they're brought into the mall, that part of the mall, may perhaps become a shopper's favorite. I know I've enjoyed buying items from each of those stores. This point also brings to mind the thought that these outdoor malls aren't going to be a long-standing trend. The whole benefit to an indoor mall was well articulated by a recent post on the Tallahassee Democrat's most recent article about the Tallahassee Mall:

On a 105 degree day indoor malls in the south are packed with families trying to do something out of the house but indoors. There is a huge market here for summertime indoor activities. The mall is one of them.
--- TallDolFan

When you think about it, the Tallahassee Mall really isn't in that bad of shape... it seems the main part that needs to be worked on is the exterior. The inside is quite modern and well kept. They just need some higher quality stores and a re-worked exterior.

TallahasseeMall047.jpg

Picture Taken of interior of Tallahassee Mall looking toward the Goody's Wing

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