New Urban Design Studio Opens at Frenchtown Renaissance Center

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By: Gina Pitisci
March 7, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - It's official. The ribbon has been cut and the DesignWorks studio at the Frenchtown Renaissance Center is officially open. Assistant City Manager, Jay Townsend says “it will allow us to work together to create places that really meet the public's expectations for good designs and the private sectors expectations for return on investment."

Community members will be able to work with urban design professionals during the early stages of their development projects and identify any creative enhancements and any potential challenges in advance, which will save time and money in the long run. Leon County Commissioner, Bill Proctor says "it gives an opportunity for minds to come before developers write checks to try to go through the process of receiving approval for their development so it brings the artistic expression, the engineering expression the developmental desires in one place."

One of the many benefits to having an urban design studio is that it can help customize projects instead of having to stick by the "one size fits all" regulations. According to Todd Sperry, Vice President at Oliver Renovation and Construction, "we're in a lot of redevelopment now. We're trying to make our community more dense and be more unique so Urban Design studio gives you the ability to share a vision with the planning department and work with you, okay, how do we achieve this and what regulations do we need to modify to get there."

This free service will help property owners and their consultants understand land development codes and the possibilities for each individual site. City of Tallahassee Mayor, John Marks, says “we're proud that not only the developmental community is here, the rental community is here, the architectural community is here and this is going to be a really boom for the city of Tallahassee and what we want our city to look like.”

The new studio is officially to the public today and will be open Monday through Friday 8am - 5pm. Walk-in's are accepted, however, making an appointment is encouraged. For more information on to contact DesignWorks click on

Press Release: Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department

How does urban design impact our community? How does good design protect your property values? Who can help you interpret land development regulations?

The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department will answer these questions and others at the grand opening of DesignWorks, an urban design studio, on Thursday, March 7, from 4-7 p.m.

Elected and appointed officials will join staff, community leaders, local developers and architects to celebrate the official opening of the studio. The studio is located on the third floor of the Frenchtown Renaissance Center, 435 N. Macomb St. The program is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. with a formal ribbon cutting and open house to follow.

The DesignWorks studio is home to members of the Planning Department’s urban design team. In addition to reviewing conceptual site plan designs and sketches, the team is responsible for special projects including Placemaking district plans. Along with local businesses and neighborhoods, Placemaking projects (also known as Sense of Place initiatives) have helped create memorable urban destinations in our community such as Midtown, the Gaines Street corridor and the Lake Jackson Town Center at Huntington.

“Urban design is an important part of what makes a city beautiful and memorable,” said Mayor John Marks. “In addition to creating beautiful buildings, good urban design provides more stable property values for our residents and businesses in Tallahassee.”

The opening of the DesignWorks studio will provide a space that encourages the collaboration of public vision and private development. Citizens can take advantage of the opportunity to work with urban design professionals during the early stages of their development projects at which point creative enhancements and potential challenges can be identified thus saving them time and money.

“We are excited to show off the DesignWorks studio and highlight this creative space where citizens including developers and their associates come to collaborate with experienced City and County staff during the development planning process,” said County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox.

The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department is part of the Department of P.L.A.C.E. (Planning, Land Management and Community Enhancement). For more information, please call (850) 891-6400.

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