Some call it SOMO, others--part of the South City Culture Club. Whichever name you choose to use, the block between South Monroe and Adams Street is the new site for some of local Tallahassee’s newest developments.
Byron Burroughs walks out onto a cracking black top surrounded by razor wire and littered with abandoned relics from somebody else’s past. It’s hard for an outsider to picture, but Burroughs says the blacktop will soon be a grass-covered beer garden at the new Proof brewing location.
Soon, Byron and Proof cofounder Angela Burroughs say they hope the rest of Tallahassee will be able to see what they see in the old Coca-Cola bottling factory on South Monroe.
“Byron and I have been imagining and dreaming and focusing on this for so long that the day we finally closed on this was like a dream come true. We’re just so excited now to watch it actually unfold and once the renderings come out we’ll try to get that to everybody so everybody can actually see our vision as it’s being built out,” Angela Burroughs says.
Proof will be closing its doors at the space it rents currently in Railroad Square with plans to reopen in the new building by January of 2019. The Burroughs say with 34-thousand square feet to work with, they’ll have the room they need to grow and implement new ideas like an outdoor ordering window, a tasting room and a restaurant. The couple chose the space because of the size, but say they are happy to have ended up in this neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of development that’s already starting to take place in the area with Happy Motoring, the project across the street, the new Cascades project and there’s a lot of other development interest in the area. It’s always good to get into a new and developing centrally located district before it goes off, plus it’s a perfect building for us space wise and it’s proximate to the old location as well,” Byron Burroughs says
Along with its neighbor, Happy Motoring, Proof is one of several new developments in the South Monroe corridor and Interim City Manager Reese Goad says the city is glad to see more investment on Tallahassee’s south side. He says the development represents more than a few new cool hangouts. For instance Proof is expected to create 20 new jobs and $23-million of economic impact.
“That’s kind of the excitement we’re seeing on South Monroe is that people are looking to invest there, create jobs and create economic growth,” Goad says.
Across the Street from Proof construction is underway at the Graphateria—an old printing business recently purchased by Maurice Moulton and Patricia Allaire--they’re the husband and wife team that runs Catalina Café and the Tallahassee Tea Company. Like Proof, Moulton says Catalina has outgrown its space. The other store fronts will remain open but their bean roasting operations will move and the Graphateria will provide enough room to let them offer more.
“We’re definitely going to have a coffee lab that people can come in and enjoy. We’re going to have coffee classes so we can teach people how to make wonderful single origin coffees. We’re looking at how to teach people at home how to roast coffee too and learn about wonderful coffees and teas. And so we want to build a place where people can come right off the path of Cascades Park into this new area and come in and have a fun time and be with their community,” Moulton says.
Moulton says he’s proud to be part of that sense of community in the neighborhood. He says it’s about time the city’s south side saw more development.
“As you hear the people working in the background—we’re working on it, and I think other business owners are working on it too, so we’re excited to be part of it,” Moulton says.
But while development is exciting for some. It makes other nervous. New buildings, new businesses and new ideas can quickly change the landscape of a neighborhood. But Moulton says he and the other business owners near South Monroe are committed to being good neighbors and maintaining the locally grown character.
“I think when people deal with individuals that live here in Tallahassee and breathe Tallahassee and just have that Tallahassee spirit. I think they have that sense of security that we’re in it for the community and not in it really necessarily for ourselves and so I think that’s what this area is about where you have Proof—family business. Everybody at Happy Motoring—all family businesses. And of course here where our family business is too,” Moulton says.