Art Park owners hope new hotel drives more traffic to Railroad Square

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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 11, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Owners at the Railroad Square Art Park hope a new hotel can drive more traffic into the art district.

"When you look at the bigger picture, Railroad Square, in order to be sustainable it really needs to be a daily destination," said co-owner Lily Boynton Kaye.

Kaye said she supports plans for the new Hyatt House, which will sit right at the entrance of the Art Park. And, hopes it can be that project that makes it a destination.

The 120 room, five story hotel will sit along FAMU Way. And, across McDonnell Drive, will be 6,000 square feet of retail space.

She hopes the hotel will drive more traffic and new patrons to Railroad Square.

"They'll step outside the hotel and the businesses that they will see first, are going to be all of the small, locally owned businesses within Railroad Square," said Kaye.

"We believe we will help them prosper. We hope to bring in a different demographic that will want to go and patronize those businesses when they're not working," said Will Butler, president of REi in Tallahassee.

Butler is working on the project and said the developers plan to keep in touch with the overall vibe of Railroad Square.

"This is not like a corporate developer swooping into town that doesn't understand the fabric of that community. We do understand," he said.

It's a sentiment echoed by Kaye. She said the developers plan to incorporate the bright colors that mark Railroad Square into their design. And, that the retail space will have an industrial look to it,
fitting in with the warehouse space at the Art Park. She also said she is in negotiations with the developer to include local artwork in the hotel and tenant space in the retail portion for local Art Park shops.

The Hyatt House still has to go through the permitting stage, and is still seeking approval from the Development Review Committee.

Developers hope to break ground this spring.

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