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CRA takes next step for downtown redevelopment

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Firestone/Bloxham Annex Sale Moves Forward

Press Release from City of Tallahassee

The long-held vision of an 18-hour downtown took another step toward fruition today as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) authorized staff to negotiate a purchase and sales agreement and a development agreement for the Firestone and Bloxham Annex properties with North American Properties (NAP).

NAP’s proposed concept for the properties on the eastern end of Gaines Street, adjacent to Cascades Park, is to create a thriving, mixed-use community. It would include spaces for retail, dining, entertainment and multi-generational housing and have an estimated taxable value of $158 million. This project will be the CRA’s largest project by cost in the downtown district. It will also enhance visibility and activity around the already popular Cascades Park.

“This project will breathe new life into the downtown district,” said Vice Chairman of the Leon County Commission Nick Maddox, Chair of the CRA. “In place of vacant buildings will be a bustling hub, creating new jobs, housing and cultural opportunities. It will add to the energy of Cascades Park and help draw residents and visitors alike.”

While housing, retail, dining and entertainment opportunities were all required in a proposal, the CRA also requested a project that could balance a downtown vibe with ample green space and pedestrian access while incorporating elements of historic value. The former Leon County Jail, located on the Firestone site, played a significant role locally in the Civil Rights Movement.

In its proposal, NAP has indicated that it is offering the option to retain and incorporate these important architectural and historical details. Conceptual renderings show wide pedestrian paths, a street that can be closed off for festivals and multiple outdoor spaces.

“The proposal that we approved today offers a tremendous investment in the growth and development of the Cascades Park area of our city,” said Mayor Andrew Gillum. “The project will continue the advancement of our downtown and will energize our local economy through the creation of numerous local jobs.”

According to the proposed timeline, people could be living in the development within three years. The CRA requested that the housing options appeal to multi-generational uses for those who want to live and work downtown.

“We’re excited to begin collaborating with local government and other stakeholders to finalize the vision for this project,” said Shawn McIntyre, NAP Florida partner. “This is an unprecedented development for Tallahassee – one that will capture the spirit of the community and create an iconic sense of place in the downtown region – and we look forward to being a part of it.”

NAP has successfully transformed the landscape on the western end of Gaines Street, with multi-use developments such as The Block and The Deck. While those cater to a college crowd, the proposal for the Firestone and Bloxham Annex properties will be geared to an older population, including young professionals, state workers and retirees looking to be in the heart of the community.

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