Frenchtown Makeover Shows Big Improvements


By Kathryn N. Jones

Outlook Writer

The neighborhood of Frenchtown is about to undergo a remarkable makeover.

Frenchtown is the oldest historical primarily black neighborhood in the city of Tallahassee.

“The most exciting part is that we will be able to continue the legacy that we have,” said Alexis McMillian, manager of Economy Drugstore. “All the businesses that are in the area look forward to being here for many years to come, so we are all excited.”

McMillian’s family is the owner of Economy Drugstore, which is the oldest family owned drugstore and only African American owned Drugstore in Frenchtown. The Drugstore has been in the family since 1951.

“It makes me very proud to know that my family has a legacy that is still giving back to the community,” said McMilliam. “We just hope that the Tallahassee Community will support us, that’s the biggest thing because if we don’t have the support with people purchasing from us as opposed to the places that they go now then we won’t be able to be here.”

McMillian has been in Frenchtown since she was a child and is very excited about the changes that are about to take place.

According to Keith Bowers, one of the developers, the plans for Frenchtown is a redevelopment initiative that incorporates mix use urban designs.”The goal is to revitalize retail space and create a town center for the Frenchtown, Downtown area,” said Bowers.

Some of the new developments that are going to be built in Frenchtown are: a grocery store, a modern retail space for businesses that are located or want to be located in Frenchtown, urgent care facility, and residential apartments and condominiums to name a few.

“I think that it would definitely be a catalyst for economic development to bring new folks and attract dollars into the community, it will deal with some of the issues that exist in the area, it will start the resurgence of Frenchtown because if you look at the history of Frenchtown it has always been the economic hub for the African American community,” said Bowers.

Bowers hopes that with the new development that Frenchtown will become an economic hub for the entire community.

“Creating a sense of place where you have a diverse group of folks coming to spend time and money and support businesses in Frenchtown, I think it would be sort of like a spring board for other investments in the community,” said Bowers.

Going forward with the project Bowers says they plan to host mini town hall meetings in order to get the input of the community for the project.

Also on board with the new development plans is Annie Harris, president of Carolina Oaks Homeowners Association.

“I think this is what the Homeowners and the community have been asking for,” said Harris. “People love the area, they want to be able to walk downtown and shop, I think it will encourage people to come back to Frenchtown.”