Economic Development Outlook

A word from Dr. Bill Law  
Gaines Street drives educational corridor

The neighborhoods dominated by people who study or work at Florida State, Florida A&M, and Tallahassee Community College have seen generations come and go. The constant is that our institutions of higher learning help to drive community development, and their student populations will continue to grow – by tens of thousands in the near future, according to projections. 

{mosimage}Now, with the go-ahead for Gaines Street revitalization and the upcoming opening of the Marriott Residence Inn at Gaines and Railroad, the future of the corridor is brighter than ever. 

The Marriott, of course, will attract those doing business with Florida government and the many state associations here, and its retail and meeting space will see enormous use.  But the hotel will also act as a magnet for families who want to attend graduations, homecomings, games, or just a weekend with a loved one studying nearby. As enrollment expands at FAMU, FSU and TCC, that will drive economic development more than ever.

Like a jigsaw puzzle beginning to take shape, the Gaines Street corridor ties together a number of emergent, exciting initiatives. Cascades Park, which will add recreation and green space to the mix, runs parallel to Gaines and just a few blocks south. Just north of Gaines, a likely site for a performing arts center was recently “reserved” by the City of Tallahassee. Continued development of the Civic Center site is being considered now that the Marriott and other projects are becoming a reality. Discussions about enhancing College Avenue are starting to “fill in” our mental picture of a vibrant, upscale and expanded downtown.

Redevelopment would allow us to handle transportation more effectively, encourage quality development, and protect the neighborhoods. We’re still not quite to critical mass on that dialogue, but we’re getting there.

Categories: Business Journal