Despite New Developer Concessions, Frenchtown Residents Continue Fight Against Student Housing Project

Posted at 7:29 PM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-22 15:50:21-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Those living in Tallahassee's Frenchtown neighborhood have been pushing back against a proposed $50 million student housing project for weeks.

After a series of meetings, neighbors tell us the developer, Landmark Properties, is willing to make some concessions. However, people in the community say the fight against this project isn't over.

This entire block was originally supposed to be turned into a 900 bed, five story student housing community.

The community was outraged when they heard about this project, because they feel it destroys so much of the historical significance of this neighborhood.

"Much of the historical integrity has been lost over the past 40 years," said community activist Delaitre Hollinger. "So many homes and businesses have been torn down, so we want to hold on to what's left. What our request to the commission would be is to approve an overlay of the area that would preserve what's left."

The developer has also reportedly agreed to scale back the height of the building only on the Macomb Street side, so it matches the height of the Renaissance Community Center. Neighbors say the developer has even agreed to put money toward building a historic display on the site.

However, that still doesn't seem to be enough.

"I'm worried there will be people living here but it won't keep the same sense of community. It won't be Frenchtown anymore," said Frenchtown resident Mercy Miranda. 

Although it's not set in stone yet, some community leaders are calling this project a "done deal," which has neighborhood activists looking to the future.

"What I'm hoping is that we move forward in stopping this type of thing," said Mutaqee Akbar, a local Attorney & business owner. "Change the zoning, do an overlay of the Frenchtown area to say what we want it to look like. Whether that's retail or residential, whatever it is, if we do that overlay, then everybody would have to abide by that."

WTXL reached out to Landmark Properties for comment but did not get a response.

The city commission will vote on the details of the updated proposal at their April 26th meeting.