Demolition Budget Doubles — Redevelopment Plans Continue
By Courtney Harris
On July 9, Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved to increase the demolition budget of the former downtown homeless facility after asbestos was found in several areas on the main floor.
Established in 2004, the CRA’s Downtown Redevelopment initiative has a new budget of $204,978 for building demolition.
With plans to have demolition completed by September, the CRA is focused on the how to advance their Downtown Redevelopment initiative.
Although the price tag for demolition has unexpectedly increased, residents are excited about these progressive steps towards the revival of Tallahassee’s city center.
Rhonda Edwards, who has lived in Tallahassee the past six years, believes the city will benefit greatly from the revamp.
“I think once they demolish it, they should put something there that is functional and appealing,” said Edwards.
The CRA is also enthusiastic about the impending changes. Though still in the midst of the decision making process, Rick McCraw, CRA manager is sure that with some teamwork and a lot of research the community would only benefit from the demolition.
“We still have not decided what we will be building in the space, said McCraw. “We’ve been working on running a market analysis and a feasibility analysis to discover what would be suited to occupy the space.”
According to McCraw, it is crucial that these analyses are completed for the CRA to gain a better understanding of “what the market can bare in the area.”
With a crucial location on Macomb and Tennessee streets, the CRA intends to develop an investment plan for the lot and all other projects that will be reassessed every five years.
It is because of the building’s location that some residents say it would be best for the city to make the most of the space. College students Gregory Thomas and Ashley Smith believe the city is not currently advancing because its historic allure is not well displayed.
“They need to capitalize on this city’s historic attractions,” said Thomas.
“We are the capital. We need to look like it,” said Smith.
According to the website Talgov.com, the CRA projects are funded by “tax increment financing” meaning the value of real property in a redevelopment area is determined on a fixed date. So, as the value of the real property appreciates, the tax income on the appreciated part of the value, the increase, is reserved for CRA projects.
Leon County resident, David Williams feels that once the ball gets rolling Tallahassee will soon have the chance to be on the same economic income level as some larger cities in Florida.
“Tallahassee has the capability of being a real contender, if officials actually utilize all of downtown,” said Williams.