Chamber of Commerce Conference gets sneak peek at what businesses and developments are coming

From the Tallahassee Democrat

AMELIA ISLAND – Before business and elected leaders at the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Conference headed back home, they heard what they have to look forward to with a rundown of upcoming projects on the horizon and an overview of development trends.

A new REI, a recreational activity store centered around the outdoors, is slated to be a part of the redevelopment of Market Square. Residents can also expect more hotels, sports bars and assisted living facilities.

Commercial real estate expert Ed Murray said if something appears popular or viable in the capital city, look out.

“When Tallahassee needs something, we usually build a lot of ’em,” he said.

For example, he said residents have wished for the adult entertainment and restaurant chain Dave and Busters and received Hangar 38, Tallahassee’s version that debuted this year. Another business with a similar model, District 850, is opening at Canopy at Welaunee around June 2020.

“It’s not a perfect market. It’s not a perfect balance,” Murray said while taking the 500+ attendees through a slideshow of renderings and maps. “So, when the market may need three of something, six, or nine or eight or 10 get built. That’s common.”

Perhaps that was one of the factors behind a later slide that listed all the restaurants that have gone bust in the last year. But even that was tempered by a slide of all the restaurants that are getting ready to open.

The development update is one of the most anticipated events of the conference. Murray, principal at NAP TALCOR, led the presentation and panel discussion featuring developers of the Cascades Project and Hotel Indigo in CollegeTown.

The panel discussion also included a pitch by Elizabeth Emmanuel, director of the Downtown Improvement Authority, to encourage more businesses and residents to come with creative ways to enhance downtown or support existing efforts.

Jeremy McCauley, vice president of operations for Park Place Hospitality, the company backing Indigo, said the 7-story, 143-room hotel will incorporate subtle nods to the area’s industrial past.

The hotel’s shell resembles a warehouse. Inside, a portrait of a bearded man waiting for a train as cold breath escapes his lips covers an entire wall in the lobby.

In the rooms, carpet around the bed is a brand standard for the guests. The image of the train system is overhead. A rustic red coffee station in the bedrooms are designed to reflect rail cars.

“We’re very excited about this project,” McCauley said, adding meeting space for large gatherings will be on the seventh floor.

Another exciting development is the Cascades Project, which residents and business leaders have been watching for months. The development is beginning to go vertical.

The $158-million project spans two city blocks and ushers in 161 market-rate apartments, a hidden garage, retail and restaurant space and a new AC Hotel by Marriott. The project is expected to be open by fall 2020.

Shawn McIntyre, managing partner for North American Properties, Cascades Project’s developer, estimates about 1,000 people will be coming and going out of the hotel and development once complete. He said that will create the critical mass needed to spur an 18-hour downtown, a long-talked about dream.

“When the Marriott came here and saw this, we’re going to have not only a hotel but also the activity around it very similar to what’s going on in CollegeTown, it really starts to build this type of energy together,” McIntrye said.

The high-rise hotel hanging in the balance also came up as Ed Murray pointed to the troubled Washington Square Project. Murray said all he knows about the fight that has brought work to a screeching halt is what he’s read in the Tallahassee Democrat. Developers and the city are currently locked into a bitter battle over an easement that has spawned a lawsuit.

“We want this project to open and hope this project happens.”

Here’s what else is on the horizon in Tallahassee.


Click on the name of the project for more coverage of the project.

Gaines Street Corridor

Freight Yard — Mixed-use development with 32 approved new residential units and 4,757 square feet of commercial retail on 0.64 parcel in Downtown’s All-Saints District.

Hotel Indigo — New 143-room containing over 900,000 square feet. Additional features include a full-service restaurant and bar.

Nine at Tallahassee — Student housing complex replaces former Jeffwood/Penwoodapartments with 104 residential units with 435 bedrooms, 8,803 square feet of retail and a five-story parking garage.


Cascades Project — Mixed-use project next to Cascades Park. Includes market-rate apartments, retail, office, restaurant space and AC Hotel by Marriott.

Standard at Tallahassee — A five-story, 254-unit apartment complex with an on-site parking garage.

Back story: 5 projects, 600 units, 2,200 beds: New student apartments to open before crush of students

Washington Square — 19-story mixed use development that includes offices, a garage and proposed Loews Hotel. The project’s future is in doubt amid a dispute with the city over an easement.

FSU College of Business — Groundbreaking in the fall for a five-story building with a 300-seat auditorium and multipurpose event space.


FAMU Way — (Gamble Street to Lake Bradford Road). This phase will have on-street bicycle lanes and on-street parking, off-street trail for bicycling and walking; and landscaping. The completion of this phase will enhance traffic flow and connect on-street and off-street bicycle access from Lake Bradford Road to FAMU. The increased traffic flow will also be a great economic opportunity for Southside business growth. Construction projected for completion 2020.

Russel Office Park — Includes a cluster of state departments: Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Division of Retirement Services.


Bannerman Crossing (residential) — Upscale townhouses from 1,800 to 2,000 square feet  and three styles of detached homes for the multi-phased project.

Mahan Square — Addition of 30,000 square-foot space for existing strip mall development which is also under renovation along Mahan Drive.

Dempsey Office Park (Medical/office park) — Five buildings of office space.

Canopy at Welaune — Master planned community of 850 to 1,000 new homes, depending on the market. Includes District 850 (a Dave & Busters-styled entertainment venue, an assisted living facility and a satellite site for the Tallahassee Orthopedic Center, among other projects.


Centre of Tallahassee — Mixed-use shopping center with the relocation of three state departments State Agencies Division of Corporations, Department of Health, Department of Corrections, representing 2,000 employees.