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Development of new hotel brings in mixed reviews from business owners, locals

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 08:40:12-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — An empty lot near Railroad Square Art District will soon be home to a new hotel.

The new Homewood Suites by Hilton is set to have 109 units with suite and efficiency style accommodations.

Jim Russell, a local business owner in the area, said he is excited for the business that this hotel could bring.

Russell made his passion for art a business when he opened his store in Railroad Square in 2019.

"Art is a luxury,” Russell said. “When people are traveling, they tend to buy gifts to send back home or bring back home." That is why he said he is happy to see that the hotel is being put in the arts district.

"We need to have as many people as possible coming into the area and seeing what we do," Russell said.

The extended stay hotel is set to be at the corner of FAMU way and Railroad Square.

Some residents worry that this five-story building will mess with the culture of Railroad Square and the small-town feel of the city as a whole.

"Those of us that have lived in Tallahassee a long time love the beauty of this town and you know, love the culture here and would hate to see it look like Jacksonville," said Tallahassee resident Marney Richards.

Donna Elliot, the owner of the Square Mug Cafe, also has concerns. While she is excited for the influx of business, she worries the city is forgetting about local residents in the area.

"We're going to lose what is special about us if this kind of commercialism continues to develop and take over our spaces," Elliot said.

Russell said this is a great way to give visitors a taste of the local feel of Tallahassee.

"I always ask people where they are from and it seems at least half the time, they're not from Tallahassee,” Russell said. “This is perfect for someone who is in a nearby hotel because they can just walk and walk around and have access to just a ton of shops and small businesses and interesting things."

According to the plans, construction is set to wrap up in 2024 or 2025.