February 19, 2007 6:25 PM
It's been on the drawing board for more than 30 years, and now land is finally being cleared for Leon County's newest development.
It hasn't been an easy road for the proposed Fallschase community, and opposition continues even as the project gets underway.
The sign at the entrance may be familiar to many, but to John Condray it's more than just an iconic emblem. To him it’s a reminder he may soon wave good-bye to his peaceful neighborhood.
"It's quiet and secluded away from the hustle and bustle of a lot of the area in Tallahassee that you normally see."
One day, looking out his front lawn will be much different. Instead of looking at green pastures, he'll be looking at the Fallschase development with hundreds of homes and stores like Wal-Mart, Costco and Sportsman's Warehouse.
"I'm in favor more of homes. Now as far as Wal-Marts and Costcos and big box stores, I don't care that much for those in a residential area. They have their place," said Condray.
Today, more than three decades after the idea was first brought to the table crews, are clearing the land, making way for several hundred acres of homes, offices and retail stores.
"What's happening is the destruction, complete clear cutting plus excavation and grading of one of the most beautiful areas in north Florida all for the sake of three big box stores," said Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff.
Ann Bidlingmaier, who has lived in Tallahassee for 30 years, says it’s disappointing to see one of the most pristine areas of the city ruined.
"I don't see that we're gonna have any decent landscaping to speak of after the project is finished. There's going to be about 45 acres of asphalt for parking and I think the whole project is very, very sad to see."
Years ago a few homes were built and a few roads were paved but it didn't exactly pave the way for the project's completion.
The landowner hit financial road blocks and lots of opposition. Current developer AIG Baker listened to protestors and complaints and purchased the land with ideas of making it appealing for all Tallahassee residents.
"The north side of buck lake road will have a more traditional set of shops, small tenants and a more homey feel then you move into what we call main street, and there will be shops there with two story of residential above them," said executive vice president of development, Ron Carlson.
The developer also has plans for parks, pathways and a pedestrian bridge. It's a project that 30 years ago was a dream, 10 years ago a vision and now, for many, a reality.
Fallshcase will be completed in several phases over the next seven or eight years. The main street with shops and residential lofts could be open within two years.