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bobliocatt

Tallahassee: Florida's capital city

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Here are some pics of Tallahassee that I found online. The State Capital has over 150,000 residents and is the home of Florida State University and Florida A&M University (where I graduated from in 2001).

aerial over Monroe Street

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northview.jpg

southeastview.jpg

new condo project on Monroe Street

Wall.jpg

State Capitol

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Adams Street

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Adams Street

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College Avenue

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Monroe Street

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Monroe Street

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I need to go back up there and that some pics. While searching for pics, I found out about 4 highrise projects, that will change the look of Tallahassee's skyline overnight. I don't have renderings for all of them yet, but they are:

BCOM, Inc - a 20 story condominium tower a block west of the capitol

Marriott Civic Center Hotel - 16 story hotel with 350 units

The Tennyson - a 14 story condo tower already under construction

GameDay Center - an 11 story condo tower, a block north of BCOM's project

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Thanks for the tour, thelakelander!!! I have rarely seen photos of Tallahassee at street-level. It looks pretty cute. The 4 upcoming projects will certainly give Tallahassee a completely different image. It would be a shame for the rest of Florida cities to build like crazy and the capitol being left behind. Keep us posted about these projects.

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Gaines Street Corridor awaits zoning, progress

By Todd Wright

DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER

Laura Stone knows little about zoning codes and even less about land development regulations.

But she knows that these issues are standing in the way of her finally being able to do what she wants with her property on Gaines Street: Sell it.

Other property owners along the popular east-west corridor have become frustrated, waiting for plans to turn Gaines Street into an entertainment district in Tallahassee to take hold.

But a proposal to set design standards for the All Saints neighborhood, a community located off Gaines that the city considers historic, could get things jump-started. Starting with All Saints, the city will use zoning codes to control and direct development along Gaines.

"The city has been saying for years that they want to do something on Gaines Street, but I don't think they quite got it figured out yet," said Stone, who has owned the lot on the corner of Gaines and Macomb streets for 35 years. "I think everyone is tired of waiting."

Signs of progress

Over the past several months, the city has been busy securing property on Gaines Street, including ownership of the road for improvements and Cascades Park. The prospect of a Civic Center hotel is also closer to reality, which has some property owners on Gaines optimistic that something is about to happen on the corridor.

On June 23, when the City Commission holds the final public hearing on a zoning change for All Saints, the landowners' wait could be over.

Wayne Tedder, the director of the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department, calls the changes, which would break up the neighborhood into four different districts, each with its own set of design standards, the key move to shaping development on Gaines Street.

If the move is successful, the zoning would be a model for other parts of Gaines Street. He said the zoning proposal comes out of the Gaines Street Revitalization Plan, which the city adopted in 2000.

The current zoning in the All Saints neighborhood allows for a variety of developments such as single-family homes, commercial and office buildings and mixed-use facilities. Buildings are allowed to be as high as 10 stories, but most lots are too small to ever hold a building that size, Tedder said.

According to Jean Gregory, the planning department's acting comprehensive and environmental planning administrator, the new zoning would bring lower height restrictions and encourage certain types of development in the district. The only other areas in the city to have such guidelines are historic preservation overlay districts, which also require developers to go through an additional layer of architectural review for a project.

"The more extensive design criteria allows the city to pick and choose more where developments should go," she said. "This proposal is the vehicle to implement the design and architectural standards and the intent of Gaines Street Revitalization Plan to make an urban, pedestrian-friendly district."

But developers are concerned that the potential guidelines could hurt projects.

Richard Barnett, who owns several lots in the Gaines Street area, including the site of the Wahnish Cigar Factory, said if the new zoning is put in place, he will not be able to go forward with plans for his property. The cigar factory is the lone standing development on the block that is bounded by Macomb, All Saints and St. Francis streets.

Height problems

Much of his property lies in what would be zones A and B in All Saints, which both have height limits of 35 feet for buildings. In zone A, structures must have a pitched roof and can have no more than two and a half stories, while buildings in the other three zones can have flat roofs. Buildings are as high as seven stories in the northern sector of All Saints, but height decreases as development nears the railroad tracks.

Barnett said he wants to restore the cigar factory, located in zone A, and have it placed on the National Historic Preservation Registry, but needs it to be at least 50 feet high to get the job done. He said he would also need changes in the amount of lot coverage he would be allowed.

Craig Diamond, the project manager of Gaines Street Revitalization Plan, said the height was set at 35 feet in zone A to preserve the historic character of an area that was once dominated by two-story homes.

"I am all for creating character, but you can't squeeze us in from the top and from the outside," Barnett said.

City commissioners were also puzzled about the low height allowance and they want planners to develop a deviation process that would allow developers to build higher under special circumstances.

City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey said she was in favor of the height controls and design standards for the area. She said standards would help the city's ultimate goal of getting mixed-use developments on Gaines Street.

Mayor John Marks, who heads the committee on the Civic Center hotel, said interest is still strong to transform the Gaines Street Corridor, even from those outside the community. He said a developer recently contacted him about purchasing city property at the northwest corner of Railroad Avenue and Gaines to build a new hotel. With the new zoning, such a development would be allowed.

"I am ready to get things moving and really start turning some dirt," he said. "We have all these plans and charettes and artist renderings and proposals. I am tired of looking at that. I am ready to get things done."

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If you go to Tallahassee, you must go to teh observation deck on the newer capitol. It is on the 22 floor and has great views. It is clearly a must.

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Posted on Fri, Jun. 04, 2004

Hotel project takes first step

Soil sampled for downtown construction

By Rocky Scott

DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER

Initial soil tests for construction of a $50 million hotel next to the Civic Center have been completed, the first tangible sign the project is coming to fruition, city and hotel officials said Thursday.

"It's the beginning of what we all have been waiting for," said Mayor John Marks, chairman of the Civic Center's hotel committee.

The soil tests involved drilling holes as deep as 150 feet to determine the kind of foundation needed to support the hotel and a parking garage. Developers say they want six floors of condominiums atop the 13-story hotel.

Marks said that after the soil samples have been analyzed and approved by the city, the foundation design will be submitted for approval.

When that process is complete, the developers -Tallahassee Hotel Associates - will submit a final design for the hotel and condominiums for city approval.

Gary Yordon, a former Leon County commissioner and spokesman for the developers, said he was pleased with the progress being made on the project, which begin in 1996.

"It appears everybody is on the same page," Yordon said, referring to the oft-delayed project. He said he expects construction to begin in early fall.

Yordon said Bovis Construction, an Atlanta company, was managing the construction of the hotel and supervising the design process.

Marks said permitting issues and final approval of the project remain.

"We are not absolutely, positively there yet," he said, "but this is the kind of progress we need to have a downtown hotel facility."

The soil tests came a month before control of the Civic Center Authority switches to Florida State University, a move requested by FSU President T.K. Wetherell.

In exchange for appointing a majority of the authority members, FSU will assume about $18 million in debt that the facility has accrued and will get money from the state on a square-foot basis to operate and maintain the facility.

FSU officials want to build a performing arts center near the new hotel. A music hall also is being considered for the site.

Marks said a Civic Center proposal for construction of a parking garage under the hotel is still be considered by several financial institutions. The garage will be used by hotel guests and people attending Civic Center functions as well as FSU law school students.

Wetherell has said the law school needs to expand and the only space available is the parking lot on the north side of Pensacola now used by law school students.

Yordon said the hotel developers are planning to include an upscale restaurant in addition to the Marriott restaurant, a physical fitness facility and several smaller shops in the overall hotel plan. He said no final agreements have been reached with any of the restaurants or shops.

Yordon also said the developers were glad to learn that Marks had been contacted by a Texas company about the possibility of building an Embassy Suites hotel on the corner of Gaines Street and Railroad Avenue near the Civic Center.

He said the extra hotel space would provide a bigger economic boost for the downtown area.

"It (another hotel) creates disposable income downtown, and that's what this is all about," Yordon said. "People spending money down here, that's what makes downtown go."

http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/8832302.htm

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This is 235 feet BCOM

Posted on Thu, May. 29, 2003

Kleman Plaza projects on the horizon

City votes to begin negotiations on lot

By Todd Wright

DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER

Kleman Plaza could be the site of a 10-story condominium project after Tallahassee city commissioners Wednesday moved to begin negotiations to sell the plaza's last vacant lot.

The commission approved plans by GameDay Centers Southeast LLC, an Alabama-based company, to develop a 10-story condominium project on the northwest parcel of Kleman Plaza. The move comes just months after approval for development on the southwest side of the plaza.

"We are trying to develop a living, breathing area for the core of Tallahassee," said Mayor John Marks. "Downtown should be an 18-hour area, and condominiums are better suited for permanent housing and our goals."

Commissioners voted 4-0 to authorize the city manager to begin negotiations. Marks abstained from the vote because his law firm represents Ajax Building Corporation, which GameDay Centers may use on the project. The purchase agreement will be brought back to the City Commission for final approval.

GameDay Centers, known mostly for building condominium complexes near college football stadiums for alumni and boosters, changed its proposal to target residents who work downtown, lobbyists, state representatives and senators.

The 108 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom condominiums will range in price from $180,000 to $500,000. Initial plans are for the first floor of the building to include a restaurant, shopping complex and office space.

GameDay's proposal won out over the Osborne/Anderson Partnership, a local group that wanted to build an apartment complex and marketplace. While the city expected to net more than $2.8 million from the sale of the property to either group, the prospect of condominiums - rather than rental apartments - was more appealing to commissioners.

"We provided everything the city was looking for," said Rick Bateman Jr., representative for GameDay Centers. "I can understand why they don't want 600 rental units in one area. People want to own. It's time to revitalize downtown."

Bateman said he expects negotiations to move quickly and a contract to be in place in the coming weeks. If that happens, he said, construction should begin within a year.

Osborne/Anderson's' plan of 130 market-rate apartments would have been the second such complex on the plaza. Garland Anderson Jr. and partner Roger Osborne stressed the importance of keeping a local name downtown, but sketchy building costs brought dissent from some commissioners. Osborne/Anderson estimated the building would cost about $16 million, about $3 million less than the estimated cost of the GameDay Centers development.

"We want to get the right mix and most viable mix quality wise," Commissioner Debbie Lightsey said. "I don't think it can be built for that cost."

BCOM Inc., which is building a 20-story apartment building on the southwest parcel of the plaza, voiced strong opinions about who should develop vacant piece of property north of them. In an e-mail sent to the commission, BCOM Inc. executives said they would consider canceling their project if another rental development was built on the plaza.

"I can understand their concerns, but they can't just drop the project," said City Attorney James English, easing concerns of some of the commission. "They don't have the contractual right."

The condominium complex is the last piece of the puzzle to using Kleman Plaza as the anchor for downtown development. With the Mary Brogan Museum of Arts and Science, the Challenger Learning Center and IMAX Theater already in place, Marks is hoping more people will be attracted to downtown as a cultural center.

"I believe the people want a vibrant area in downtown. They want museums, hotels and shopping. I like downtown now, but our job is to make it better," Marks said

http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/5964451.htm

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I've heard all about the convention center hotel when I was in school 3 years ago. I'll believe it when I see it.

The only tower underconstruction when I visited, back in May, was the Tennyson. At that point only the site had been cleared.

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Tallahassee's downtown will really take off when it adds some nightlife. Every great downtown has at least a few nightclubs or a section of the city center dedicated to nightlife.

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I think this was the first thread for Tallahassee... long before there was ever a Tallahassee Subforum. You've really dug up a bone here buddy.

I agree with you, these residents will contribute to our nightlife, and our nightlife will bring us the needed excitement we're missing after 5.

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