Building Tallahassee: Washington Square project underway

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 16:52:39-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Construction started Monday on a major project in downtown Tallahassee.

Washington Square is a $100 million project -- funded in part by the Community Redevelopment Agency -- that will add a 19-story building to the city landscape.

"This development is going to mean a tremendous addition to the hotel rooms here in the community," said Al Latimer, drector of the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality.

The project brings the first four-star hotel to the Capital City. This will be the third location in Florida for Loews Hotels.

"They are seeing good things about Tallahassee -- our growth in population, the growth in businesses," Latimer said. "We are starting to market and brand Tallahassee as Florida's capital for business."

Construction is expected to last 30 months. Those who commute around Jefferson, Gadsden and Calhoun streets could expect to see some traffic changes over the next two and a half years. Latimer said the time to build the project will pay off.

"There's always a little bit of discomfort associated with positive change, and we would just say 30 months really isn't that long of a period of time -- when you look at what's going to happen on the backside," he said.

Not far from Washington Square is the $150 million Cascades Project -- also backed by CRA dollars. The mixed-use development will include another upscale hotel, as well as residential, retail and office space.

"What it does is it creates an 18-hour downtown community that the city has been striving for -- with multiple uses at once," said North American Properties partner Shawn McIntyre in September 2017. "So, we believe it's a very large project that the city has been waiting for -- and has actually asked us for."

Also downtown is the Ballard building. The site on Monroe and Park was finished last year. It will feature an Italian steakhouse on the ground floor.

With the new development comes a boost to the local economy. Washington Square will generate nearly 1,800 jobs and more than $200 million in total economic input.

"It's nice to see that Tallahassee, Leon County has been able to attract private investment," Latimer said.