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City Commission Puts Sale Of Frenchtown Parcel On Hold

Artist renderings of what a possible mixed use housing development in Frenchtown would look like.
City of Tallahassee

Tallahassee Commissioners are postponing the sale of a parcel of land in Frenchtown. Residents protested the sale of the land to a student-housing developer, saying it jeopardizes the historic nature of the area. Frenchtown was once home to black businesses. But time has nearly erased that legacy. City Commissioner Scott Maddox says neighborhood residents have asked for retail yet haven’t gotten it. He says there have been broken promises along the way.

“We made the decision to move our city offices, and our county offices there to add the foot traffic so retail would work. Still didn’t work. So all these years we waited…until the climate was such that retail would work. I think the climate is such that retail will work today. So I can’t support this unless it’s for retail, which is what we promised in the beginning.”

Many shops are empty, and businesses have fled Frenchtown. The city has had a hard time getting them back in. Commissioner Gil Ziffer says he hopes that will change now that the old shelter building has been torn down.

But city commissioners Curtis Richardson and Nancy Miller argue argues the area lacks residents, and until more come Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency is likely to take up the issue—its largely made up by commission members. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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