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Symphony Condominiums

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http://www.talchamber.com/action2010/2010_news.php?ID=25

"It takes a Village to raise concern at FSU

21-Feb-05 - The city of Tallahassee recently paved the way for The Symphony condominium and commercial project, which will severely squeeze the neighborhood surrounding Florida State University. This Wednesday city officials are considering rezoning for construction of a second similar project.

The university has been forced to oppose the first rezoning and will oppose this second one, which would permit massive density increases on the site at the southwest corner of Call and Macomb streets.

While the university certainly does not oppose development, this particular kind of project clearly violates FSU's 20-year-old master plan, which has been agreed to by the city. It flies in the face of long-standing zoning in the area.

Rezoning for the proposed Symphony project means that 83 condominium units and 10,000 square feet of commercial space will be built directly across from the College of Music, on Copeland Street.

If rezoning is approved for this second project, The Village, it will consume an acre and a half on the same block, featuring up to 160 residential units and 40,000 square feet of commercial space. One of its four buildings would be more than 10 stories tall.

The population and traffic that would come with this massive development would severely impact adjoining properties and nearby streets and residents.

While we will encourage commissioners to reject the rezoning request, it is important for them to know that FSU welcomes the high-rise condominiums planned for downtown. But downtown is downtown; the area adjoining our campus is not.

The buffer zone from downtown is very small, intended to protect our campus from massive projects that could wall us in. Florida State already operates under the greatest geographical constraints of any university in the state.

Longtime zoning of the area between the campus and Macomb Street protects this buffer while still providing opportunity for compatible development. Smaller versions of the proposed projects would be welcome in the area.

But this rezoning would more than double the permitted density and intensity of development adjacent to FSU, and the city has offered no justification for allowing such a huge increase.

If the application is approved, the city's decision will have set a precedent that could begin to transform the area on the east side of our campus from a buffer zone to a high-density complex of multi-story condominiums and businesses.

A wall of high rises directly across the street from Westcott and the entrance to our campus is neither a pretty picture nor good planning. And it is inconsistent with our joint efforts to beautify College Avenue.

We also question who is going to live in these condominiums at this location. The seductive picture painted by the developer is that the $200,000-$300,000 units would be for FSU faculty and staff, who could then walk to work. But our faculty and staff have told us clearly that's out of their price range.

Our forecast is that parents will buy the units, and pack four or more students into each. And, whether we approve or not, they'll have cars and need parking spaces.

Likewise, the proposed rezoning doesn't restrict the type of commercial businesses that would go on this site. For the security of our students and neighbors, we don't need more Tennessee Street-style restaurants and bars on these roads.

The city's actions also raise important issues of cooperation and communication. The university is required by law to prepare a campus master plan and has spent significant time, effort and public money in the process. Both pieces of property have been included in the master plan for years, something the city knows from its required review and approval of our plan.

Yet, the first time a developer proposes to rezone the area to do away with the buffer zoning, it ignores the master plan and approves the development without even the courtesy of a telephone call to the university. All zoning requirements fly out the window.

Historically, city planners have worked with the university's facilities staff to ensure compatible uses of property. We have jointly rerouted campus thoroughfares, addressed stormwater treatment problems, and solved environmental and land-use problems.

Yet no one on this campus received prior notice of the potential rezoning for The Symphony project. Basically, the rules of the game - rules we had followed for years - changed without notice. If FSU could purchase the properties in question, it would. The fact is, we offered, but state law limits the amount we can pay for real estate. Since we are unable to purchase the property, we must rely on the city to enforce its current zoning ordinances.

This university cares about its surroundings and is committed to being a good neighbor. On campus, construction, renovation and enhancement are ongoing. We are making constant improvements in our capacity, appearance and environmental quality. Our intention is to make this campus a spot of beauty and pride for us and our community, even as we deal with the inevitable growth in our enrollment.

We encourage the City Commission to support us in this effort.

Contact Florida State University President T.K. Wetherell at [email protected]

Contact: T.K. Wetherell

Florida State University [Web site]

Phone:

Email: [email protected] "

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^Just to let you guys know, due to copyright issues, posting full newspaper articles isn't allowed on Urban Planet and could result in the entire thread, with the news article, being deleated. It is suggested that you just post the link to the article or write a brief summary instead.

As far as the story goes, I agree with Commissioner Andrew Gillum. That's one of the best areas in town for urban infill development. Its time FSU consider what's best for the city as a whole.

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"I have deep rooted respect for FSU President T.K. Wetherell, but his recent comments regarding the city's lack of appreciation for the University's economic contributions to Tallahassee are unconstructive in these times of progress and steady growth.

Dispute over a development proposal should not tarnish a healty working relationship between FSU and the COT with regard to economic development. The commission did the right thing in approving the condominium projects near campus for they are elected to represent the overall community's interest and not simply FSU's. Through our votes to elect a smart growth commission, to extend the penny sales tax for Blueprint 2000, and to enact a 1/2 penny sales tax for our schools; citizens have made it clear that we are willing to make the financial sacrifices to tap Tallahassee's potential. "...

-TaureanJ

Letter to the Editor: March 17, 2005

Commission and City have since sat down and are now trying to iron out differences over development disputes.

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The COT doesn't appreciate FSU, that is for sure.

None of what is listed excuses the COT changing zoning plans that had been in place for decades...but there is no logic in the COT game plan nor convincing it's supporters. There excuses for this are weak at best.

What is healthy about the relationship between FSU and COT? The COT changes the rules of the game without any warning and despite decades of agreements and the blame is TK's for pointing it out? That is a joke

There are litterally blocks and blocks of underdeveloped lots in the area, but the COT had to hammer FSU and it's zoning interest. That is called not working as a team.

The Blueprint tax...what does that vote have anything to dod with Zoning? Nothing. That wasn't a voter OK to just ignore all master planning.

Bottom line...Why even have zoning at all? Why claim a relationship when you screw your partner? YOu can't. The COT will get what they want here...but FSU is not defenseless. The COT will pay the price, as they should. Shoddy politicians with no game plan, no success at job development, and an antagnonistic attitude to the on research in the area.

Starting a fight when there is no need to have one...not sure how this is good for Tally.

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None of what the city did in rezoning the ADAR properties was weak or without reason. The point is, the land was available for development and wit was going to be developed by someone, if not ADAR someone else. Wether it would have been 1 room shack or a 90 Unit condo would make no difference to FSU. FSU had an opportunity to purchase the lands at question and fell short, thats not the City's fault.

Now you want to sit here and tell me that the City of Tallahassee doesn't appreciate Florida State Univeristy!? Well then tell me, who get's a discount on their utility bill to run up electricty at their Mag Lab? Who gets a $3 Million piece of the best land in the city to build a Learning Center donated to them? Who has streets renamed in their honor (From Clinton to College Avenue?) Which school gets constant mention in the news papers, and on television news reporting while the other is ignored? Which school gets the City and County to give up power of the Civic Center to allow it more control? You tell me FSU isn't appreciated by the City of Tallahassee and I'll tell you, "you're dead wrong".

The City of Tallahassee loves FSU, and we do care about ensuring we work as a community to look out for one another's best interest. Quite frankly, why doesn't the doesn't the Univeristy try to uproot some of the old decaying homes on the opposite side of the campus to make room for future growth. As was revealed, FSUs for the ADAR parcels was to merely build parking garages anyway.

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Quite frankly, why doesn't the doesn't the Univeristy try to uproot some of the old decaying homes on the opposite side of the campus to make room for future growth. As was revealed, FSUs for the ADAR parcels was to merely build parking garages anyway.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

First part, good point there. There is alot of beautiful realestate in areas on campus that are in dissaray. But for the second part- I am an art student who would have loved that parking garage... :( lol

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I too am a student at FSU and I'd love it if parking at school were easier. The reason this whole parking Garage issue is so important is because our Univeristy President made it an issue to mention how traffic through Copeland Street area would increase as a result of a 80 Unit Condo. I figured it was important to point out more traffic would be created due to a 1000+ car parking garage. You know what Im talking about if you've driven down Woodward.

Don't get me wrong I favor additional parking, which is why I think the University should work harder at consolidating some of the gravel lots, and purchasing some of the crumbling homes south of campus to make room for extra parking, extra classrooms, and any other additional features our Future FSU students will need such as campus housing.

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I too am a student at FSU and I'd love it if parking at school were easier. The reason this whole parking Garage issue is so important is because our Univeristy President made it an issue to mention how traffic through Copeland Street area would increase as a result of a 80 Unit Condo. I figured it was important to point out more traffic would be created due to a 1000+ car parking garage. You know what Im talking about if you've driven down Woodward.

Don't get me wrong I favor additional parking, which is why I think the University should work harder at consolidating some of the gravel lots, and purchasing some of the crumbling homes south of campus to make room for extra parking, extra classrooms, and any other additional features our Future FSU students will need such as campus housing.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

FYI, FSU can't buy most of that land for a couple of reasons. The state just won't allot FSU money for land acquistion in the budget anymore (why? Because the state doesn't support higher ed very well). The last time they did, Jeb Bush vetoed that money.

The 2nd reason is because the state has a very specific process FSU must follow to buy land, including purchasing guidlines. Basically with the real estate boom, the state literally won't allow FSU to purchase the vast majority (if not all of ) land near FSu anymore. So FSU's hands have been tied multiple ways here.

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It sounds like you are telling us FSU has given up on any attempt to purchase lands they do not own. Yet you contend they should be allowed to oppose development on those same parcels. I'd be more sympathetic if I saw the school agressively attempting to purchase these pieces of property.

Maybe when we seat a new Governor (Don't get mad get ------) then we might be able to get the funds we need to purchase the lands we want.

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It sounds like you are telling us FSU has given up on any attempt to purchase lands they do not own. Yet you contend they should be allowed to oppose development on those same parcels. I'd be more sympathetic if I saw the school agressively attempting to purchase these pieces of property.

Maybe when we seat a new Governor (Don't get mad get ------) then we might be able to get the funds we need to purchase the lands we want.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

FSU doesn't know what to do IMHO regardling land acquisition...I think they are confused quit frankly.

My contention, and FSU from what I have read, is that any and all development should be allowed as has been agreed upon and documented by the COT and FSU. For the COT to just ignore decades worth of conversations, planning, and agreements at the whim of any developer makes no sense. FSU is not fighting development, they are fighting the changing of the zoning laws here.

FSU has been as aggressive as the law has allowed. Their hands are tied.

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Gravel lots... what a horrible concept. They have begun alot of work near the Leech center on campus converting that old gravel lot into some modern fields and parking.

the parking along OLD ST AUG near the intermural fields and stadium are always full in the AM so i think that whole block could be utilized for parking. that would help the city with gameday parking asweell. I think fsu already owns those lots rights? And what about fsu building upward with new developments so that future land need not be neccisary,because it is certainly not going to be more availaible. I also was talkin to a friend who is a engeneering major that has to do alot of travveling between main campus and the patch by the MAg Lab...

maybe campus could develop some of the remaining land there and considate some of the schools into that area which could solve many problems incld... campus parking, campus traffic, campus land, and the gas of valuable students (aka...soon to be well paid alumni)

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FSU doesn't know what to do IMHO regardling land acquisition...I think they are confused quit frankly.

My contention, and FSU from what I have read, is that any and all development should be allowed as has been agreed upon and documented by the COT and FSU.  For the COT to just ignore decades worth of conversations, planning, and agreements at the whim of any developer makes no sense.  FSU is not fighting development, they are fighting the changing of the zoning laws here. 

FSU has been as aggressive as the law has allowed.  Their hands are tied.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Happy Fathers day was for everybody...

How can you blame the city when you admit FSU probably doesn't know what its doing with land aquisition in the first place.

The issue here is the fact that the zoning change was consistant with the Comprehensive Plan to create a more pedestrian friendly, more vibrant, more environmentally sensitve urban core. The land was zoned for less denisty prior to the zoning change, but not by much. A developer if they wanted could have built an 8 or 9 story building with fewer units. All the city did was allow this developer to go through the PUD process much the same way they would do any major project in this community. It was done for Southwood, it was done for BCOM's Plaza Tower, for The Tennyson, and The High Point Center to name a few. Its common for downtown properties to undergo these zoning changes because the zoning in many cases doesn't favor density.

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"And what about fsu building upward with new developments so that future land need not be neccisary,because it is certainly not going to be more availaible. I also was talkin to a friend who is a engeneering major that has to do alot of travveling between main campus and the patch by the MAg Lab...

maybe campus could develop some of the remaining land there and considate some of the schools into that area which could solve many problems incld... campus parking, campus traffic, campus land, and the gas of valuable students (aka...soon to be well paid alumni) "

Murphy,

FSU has a height limitation on it's buildings. There is some land owned by FSU near Innovation Park, it is called the "Southwest campus." It isn't much land though. FSU is going to put the IM fields out there and the new swimming facility.

"How can you blame the city when you admit FSU probably doesn't know what its doing with land aquisition in the first place."

These two have nothing to do with each other. FSU doesn't know what it is going to do because the state has tied it's hands and the city is ignoring the agreements they have made. How can you blame FSU for that?"

"The issue here is the fact that the zoning change was consistant with the Comprehensive Plan to create a more pedestrian friendly, more vibrant, more environmentally sensitve urban core."

No, the issue is, why is FSU sitting down working with the COT and making agreements when the COT just turns around and ignores those agreements? FYI, if you think these $500K condos are going to people that are going to be walking...I have some swamp land to sell you. These are rich folks who will be driving 2 ton SUVs all over, with streets not designed for that or that density.

Again, the COT ignored the agreements and just did what they want. That is fine...they will get their way and FSU will know they can't trust the COT. This will hurt both FSU and the COT in the future. That is the long and the short of it.

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"These two have nothing to do with each other. FSU doesn't know what it is going to do because the state has tied it's hands and the city is ignoring the agreements they have made. How can you blame FSU for that?"

Of course these two are unrelated, but it seems to be the basis of the FSU argument. The only agreement FSU has made with this city are future land-use plans they have for property FSU owns within the next 20 yrs. FSU can't make agreements with the city for future land use on property they DO NOT OWN! Who does that benifit?? Not the other land owners. FSU needs to realize Tallahassee is not theirs for the taking -- this isn't Gainesville.

The $300,000+ condos HAVE been sold to several University Staff members and alumni. Some of the units will go to more wealthy people who may possibly not walk. But the Symphony will still serve to benifit campus life. Would you rather the only residents in the area be the poor and starving people at the Shelter? What the West area of Tallahassee needs are people willing to invest their money to improve the quality of life community-wide. This project will help to do that.

This will be a great addition to our Tax base which will only benifit current tax payers both in the Short (Downtown CRA) and long-runs. The City of Tallahassee has agreements with its citizens as well -- and that agreement is to allow them to achieve their piece of the American Dream as best as they can, so long as it is within the law. FSU's beef shouldn't be with the city because they are going to have a new neighbor. They never complained when on the same property drunk Fraterity brothers were partying everynight and littering up the property. Now that a responsible developer wants to purchase the property there is beef?! C'mon! This is a no-issue to me. FSU should stop now so tensions can ease before they welcome their new neighbors.

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Wetherell is right, and you people who say FSU needs to make way for city development have obviously never been to Tallahassee. FSU is NOT downtown. College Avenue east of Macomb is a ghost town of empty fraternity houses now. Why not build there? It sounds like the city is not respecting the university's wish to expand. I could understand if there was a lack of room for the city to build elsewhere, but if you live in Tallahassee, then you know that is hogwash (to put it nicely)! One last point, the owners of the condos are idiots, because my friend lived in that Sig Ep house and said that he always was annoyed by the music students blasting their horns outside. Do they not realize this noise situation will be a problem? I wouldn't want to live there. What working adult would want to live there and deal with that along with the congestion of campus? Obviously this will become an upscale dorm. The whole idea is retarded.

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Wetherell is right, and you people who say FSU needs to make way for city development have obviously never been to Tallahassee.  FSU is NOT downtown.  College Avenue east of Macomb is a ghost town of empty fraternity houses now.  Why not build there?  It sounds like the city is not respecting the university's wish to expand.  I could understand if there was a lack of room for the city to build elsewhere, but if you live in Tallahassee, then you know that is hogwash (to put it nicely)!  One last point, the owners of the condos are idiots, because my friend lived in that Sig Ep house and said that he always was annoyed by the music students blasting their horns outside.  Do they not realize this noise situation will be a problem?  I wouldn't want to live there.  What working adult would want to live there and deal with that along with the congestion of campus?  Obviously this will become an upscale dorm.  The whole idea is retarded.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually i think the people who are moving into the symphony know that. Some of the people moving in will either be professors, musicians, parents of students, or just students themselves. So they know what to expect. I love the location and the name. It just fits. The "Symphony" across from the school of music. That just goes together.The design of the condo seems to fit with the university which is another plus. Really i don't see what the big deal is. If I had money I would definetly move into the symphony condos myself! -_-

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Wetherell is right, and you people who say FSU needs to make way for city development have obviously never been to Tallahassee.  FSU is NOT downtown.  College Avenue east of Macomb is a ghost town of empty fraternity houses now.  Why not build there?  It sounds like the city is not respecting the university's wish to expand.  I could understand if there was a lack of room for the city to build elsewhere, but if you live in Tallahassee, then you know that is hogwash (to put it nicely)!  One last point, the owners of the condos are idiots, because my friend lived in that Sig Ep house and said that he always was annoyed by the music students blasting their horns outside.  Do they not realize this noise situation will be a problem?  I wouldn't want to live there.  What working adult would want to live there and deal with that along with the congestion of campus?  Obviously this will become an upscale dorm.  The whole idea is retarded.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wetherell isn't right. I've lived in Tallahassee my whole life and I will tell you this area near FSU is surely downtown. That area of college you refer to would be perfect for redevelopment, but the developer doesn't own that property.The University has intruded into the traditional downtown space with its Law School, its Challnger Learning Center, and take over at the Civic Center, why not the the city move that way? The noise of cars and music has never interefered with my learning, nor has it ever interefered with my ability to work if I'm downtown with trucks roaring down the roads because commercial buildings are constructed of sound insulating material. The people who purchase are making sound decisions.

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My hope is, however, since the fraternities have vacated College Avenue, the road can become Tallahassee's Condo Row.... thats prime real estate.

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