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New shopping, dining options taking shape in Tallahassee's Market Square

Businesses on track to open late 2022, early 2023
Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 18:16:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — New shopping and dining options are in the works in Northeast Tallahassee.

ABC 27 got an inside look at what’s being built at the Market Square Shopping Center and how it’s driving economic growth in this part of town. The sound of progress is echoing in every corner of the center.

“I was here in the late 80s,” said Luke Granlund. “Seeing the growth since then, I’m super excited to see that.”

Granlund is no stranger to this part of Tallahassee. “I really wanted to something on my own,” he said. April of last year, Granlund started the process of bringing the city’s first Island Fin Poke to the area.

“It’s basically build your own protein bowl,” Granlund explained. “It’s a Florida-based franchise, primarily based in Orlando.”

It’s one of several businesses coming to the center of Market Square. A self-storage building is climbing into the sky along I-10. Permit records show Sanitas is planning a medical center. First Watch confirms they plan on opening a restaurant in early 2023. Takko Korean Taqueria is putting the finishing touches on their restaurant, and Kairos Mediterranean opened in May.

It’s not just food options that are expanding in this area.

“Oh, my gosh. So excited! I’ve been local since March,” shared Chelsea Vensel. She will be the store manager for R.E.I Co-op. That stands for recreational equipment incorporated.

“We’re a co-op. We give back to the community as well as selling quality products,” Vensel added. She said they partner with area nonprofits to support missions beyond their parking lot. She took us inside the newly constructed building where they have been working to fill more than 50 positions.

“It’s been really fun to get to know some of the local businesses. We’re already talking with some of our future nonprofit partners.”

With its proximity to the I-10 and Thomasville interchange, this area has been booming with business since the late 1970s. A city-published study shows two million square feet of commercial and office space in the surrounding area. Leon County Commissioner, Brian Welch, says the development here is part of a bigger picture.

“I think it goes to show that in general, the economy in Tallahassee is growing. People want to move here,” Welch said. “People want to visit.”

With the relatively affordable home prices compared to other parts of Florida and the growing economic investments in the area. This square plays a small part in bringing new business to the Big Bend.

Island Fin Poke is working to open at the end of August. Granlund said they’re also looking to open a second location in the city. R.E.I.’s next closest store is in Gainesville. The Tallahassee location is set to open this fall.