NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodSoutheast Tallahassee


Price tag on SoMo Walls project goes up, Blueprint awards extra funding

Posted at 8:14 AM, Sep 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-22 08:14:35-04
  • County and city leaders with Blueprint IA approved an additional $1.8 million for the SoMo Walls project.
  • The developer said costs have risen due to supply chain disruption and inflation.
  • Commissioner Jeremy Matlow questioned the ask, saying many commissioners had a conflict of interest due to campaign donations made by a political group affiliated with the developer.

The price tag on a project originally worth $4.7 million dollars is growing.

Leaders met for a Blueprint budget workshop and approved funding for the South Monroe Walls Project.

Developers behind the project say it will now cost nearly $11 million to build the new retail and dining plaza.

One Northeast Tallahassee business owner is excited to see the project get more money.

Becky Patterson is looking forward to opening her new location of Burn Boot Camp at the South Monroe Walls Development.

"It's always been a dream of mine to have a second business on the Southside, I grew up on this side of town," Patternson said.

She said many things have changed since she started her search for a new location in 2020.

"When we first got started with planning in 2020, the atmosphere and environment for business is different," Patterson said. "Costs have risen astronomically both for construction and development in general."

That's why Burga Demirel, the developer behind SoMo Walls, says he needs the additional $1.8 million leaders with Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency approved Thursday.

The space is set to be a retail and dining plaza with a distillery that Demirel said will boost economic impact.

Not everyone was okay with the funding approval.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has been vocal on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, about his concerns over financial ties leaders have with the Demirel.

Demirel is the treasurer of Grow Tallahassee, a political PAC that donated to Mayor John Dailey, Mayor Pro-tem Diane Williams Cox and County Commissioners Proctor, Caban and Maddox.

Matlow said this is a conflict of interest.

Serenity Williams lives in the Southside and came to the meeting to voice the same concerns.

“I think that's very concerning. I don't think we should give money to our commissioners and then the next few months later, you're asking for $2 million," Williams said.

She said the project is not needed on the Southside.

"I want to see that money go toward getting some tech skills, more skill than get than delivering beer," Williams said.

Patterson said she thinks it will help boost the economy of the Southside.

"Burga and his team and their mindset and the way they view progress and growth on the Southside really resonated with what I see happening in Tallahassee."

The project is over a year behind its original goal of opening in September of 2022.