The city of Tallahassee will spend more than $100,000 dollars for business improvements in the Southside.
The money comes from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, which approved three new businesses Thursday. The $116,000 in matching grants will be split among businesses on South Adams, South Monroe and West Gaines Streets. Developers will use the money for landscaping, signage, and sprucing up the old buildings. Nearly half the money is going to the vacant gas station on the corner of South Adams and FAMU Way. After months of driving by, Domi Station co-founder Jake Kiker is revamping the place.
“This building, it’s dying for something to be done there. It’s such a visible piece, even more so now with the realignment of FAMU Way. As you come around that corner, and come past the roundabout it’s right there looking at you in the face,” he said.
The filling station will serve as an event space for food trucks, complete with outdoor seating and a band shell. City Commissioner Curtis Richardson is ready to see the place revived.
“And so over the years I’ve watched that building sit there vacant and as an eyesore as well but I got excited when I heard there was interest in it. I’m certainly excited about the fact that a business is coming to that South Adams Street corridor, but even more excited that it will serve as a business incubator,” he said.
Between College Town, Cascades Park and Gaines Street, Tallahassee is rapidly transforming. And some are wary of the new development, like County Commissioner Bill Proctor.
"I want to know where this building is going. I don't want to give $50,000 to a clunk that will sit there as an eyesore," he said.
The new development doesn’t sit well with everyone. But city officials believe the new funds for old buildings will revitalize the area, while preserving the spirit of the neighborhoods. City Commissioner Gil Ziffer defended the project in a recent meeting.
“If all of Gaines Street turned into the development that we’ve seen over the past couple of years, from my standpoint then we will not have succeeded in what we needed to have accomplished. Which is a combination of new construction, lots more folks people living there, more vitality, but maintaining those bits of pieces of who we are.” he said.
As far as the old gas station, the owners hope it will be up and running in time for football season.