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CRA: Go forward with negotiations for development near Cascades Park

from Tallahassee Democrat

TaMaryn Waters, Democrat staff writer 

Negotiations will move forward with a national developer — known for student housing on Gaines Street — for the sale and redevelopment of two downtown city blocks bordering Cascades Park.

If the project is approved, the Firestone and Bloxham Annex buildings will be transformed with the Meridian Point Plaza as its hub. Redevelopment would first take place at the Firestone Building, followed by the Bloxham Building.

The mixed-use project includes 300 units of one- and two-bedroom flats and studio apartments, along with 64 units for two- to three-bedroom brownstone townhouses with stairway stoops leading to the sidewalk. It could also include a hotel, a memorial facade dedicated to the old county jail where civil rights pioneers were jailed and a cultural component for the arts. For the next year, details will be fine-tuned.

The project, estimated at $158 million to be paid by North American Properties, elicited a mix of kudos and concerns from Community Redevelopment Agency members, who by an 8-to-1 vote approved negotiations.

The nine-member board overall praised the project’s attempt to cram the board’s wish list into one project, which initially received no takers when the first request for proposals was issued. NAP was the only respondent to the second request for proposals.

“This is a very exciting project. We did toss everything and the kitchen sink into this,” County Commissioner Kristin Dozer said.

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