TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) – Downtown, it's the heart of Tallahassee and where the presence of government reigns supreme. But in recent years, the face of this part of the city has changed.
An influx of downtowners is prompting area hotels to get an upgrade. In the past decade, hotels like Aloft, Doubletree and Hotel Duval have breathed new life into the area's tourism appeal.
“Before those hotels kind of got re-imagined or re-envisioned, there was no great signature place to stay in Tallahassee," explained Jay Revell, Executive Director of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority.
In addition to having government and tourism in the area, the city is hoping to diversify that part of Tallahassee. The Downtown Improvement Authority commissioned a market study in 2015 and the number one thing people wanted to see more of in downtown was retail.
Revell says he wants to see more areas where people can go to walk and shop, and really spend an afternoon. The Improvement Authority says the area will continue to be developed this year.
This includes a plan by lobbyist Brian Ballard to build a six-story building at Monroe and Park next to the future FSU entrepreneurship school. The project would provide office and restaurant space with nearby public parking. Demolition is scheduled for this spring, with an estimated completion date of September, 2017.
According to Revell, there is a lot of interest in downtown, “We are even seeing people that are looking at vacant lots -- that are essentially parking lots right now -- that are seriously looking at going up with some significant projects."
The Downtown Improvement Authority says to expect a lot of construction between Park Avenue and the Capital in the next two years.
In 2024, Tallahassee will celebrate its bicentennial. The Improvement Authority is using that year as a deadline of sorts for several of these projects.
"If we can push the envelope for the next eight years, we're going to have, you know, one heck of a 200th birthday," said Revell.