Leon County business leaders are getting a firsthand look at a development planned for Tallahassee's south side the developer says will change the south side forever. The St. Joe Land Company unveiled a more than 1,600 acre development. It's named the "Southside Project."
Will Butler, Senior Vice President of St. Joe, said, "I think you'll see a mixed use, commercially driven project that has never been developed in Tallahassee. We think it's going to provide the necessary emphasis on the south side to change to south side forever."
St. Joe is eying the area of Capital Circle SE and Woodville Highway. 2,800 homes, 150,000 square feet of office space, 300 hotel rooms and 110 hospital beds are proposed, along with retail space exceeding one million square feet. That's where there's some concern.
Ben Harris of Tallahassee said, "St. Joe Arvida has got to be careful to make sure that it doesn't turn out as perceived. Some people think it's a good opportunity to provide shopping for people in Southwood so they don't have to go all the way to the malls."
Business leaders are asking St. Joe to allow businesses already in the south side to participate in the building process and become a part of the growth, but the big issue is affordable housing.
Dorothy Inman Johnson, Executive Director of the Capital Area Community Action Agency, said, "Whether it's in the development or providing incentives in support to make it possible in other parts of the community."
St. Joe says the price range for the proposed 2,800 homes is undetermined at this time, but adds it will comply with Tallahassee's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. That means a percentage of the homes cannot exceed $160,000.
As the company goes through DRI approval, or "Development of Regional Impact," which is an intense review under state and regional agencies, it will be seeking additional input from the community during several more formal and informal meetings.