TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The site of the old Northwood Centre will soon become the Tallahassee Police Department’s new headquarters. The project is a big job for a company based in the Big Bend with a history of lifting communities up.
“I like to see people getting to work,” said Jay Smith. He is vice president of AJAX Building Company. The Big Bend-based company taking this property into the 21st century.
Demolition began in March of 2021.
“We are currently razing this facility for the future Tallahassee Police Department headquarters and also several other out parcel opportunities for redevelopment,” Smith explained.
TPD has been headquartered on Seventh Avenue since 1972. The decades-old building presents maintenance challenges and isn’t large enough to support the growing department.
The city of Tallahassee bought the Northwood property which will house the new department in 2019 for $6.8 million. The city says the tons of material leaving this site will be reused, repurposed, or recycled as much as possible, keeping up with the recently adopted green building policy.
“This will give the police chief and his and his team, so much more opportunity for training for meeting spaces for gathering,” Smith added.
As his team transforms the Northwood property they also working to transform Tallahassee's workforce.
“We'll have upwards of 500 individuals that are going to be involved with the project, probably around 50 different companies that will be engaged directly,” Smith said.
“The disadvantaged workers' program is really targeting those that are currently receiving federal assistance, live in government housing, or that have previously been incarcerated. We want to make sure we're outwardly encouraging, engaging that workforce that has been left out of a lot of job opportunities.”
He’s working with another team to accomplish that goal.
“It's amazing,” shared Kenneth Taite. He is president and CEO of Haggai Construction and Development. “To see somebody's life just turn around from going into a negative trajectory to actually being a part of building the community - it's, it's a blessing from God.”
Taite helps get disadvantaged workers into projects like this one.
Both Taite and Smith grew up in Tallahassee. For them, this mission is personal.
"I actually went to elementary school at Ruediger. We're right in my neighborhood, and I just love it," Taite said.
Smith added, “you get an opportunity, every once in a while to be a part of a significant project that's really going to be here for 50 to 100 years so that the structure alone is something that you're really proud of.”
Smith says demolition will wrap sometime between January and February next year. After that, the city says the actual design of the new TPD headquarters will begin.
Follow along as progress is made by clicking here.