By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 15, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The auction for the old Northwood Mall property began on Monday.
The City Commission voted last week to enter the auction. Starting bid is $2 million.
"The opportunities are endless,” said Mayor John Dailey, who suggested the city bid for the property.
The building was first built back in 1969 and was a bustling shopping center.
"There was a restaurant there, a very nice restaurant there. I remember having lunch there. It was very nice,” said resident Lenore Zuspan, who used to go to the mall. "I wish I could remember the name of the store, it's been so long since I've been there."
Later, the space was converted into state office space. However, over the last few years most agencies have relocated due to complaints of mold and bat dropping infesting the property.
Today, only 12% of the 33 acre property is actually occupied.
Dailey said the property’s proximity to RAA Middle School, multiple bus routes and access to Monroe Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard makes it a prime spot for redevelopment. He also said it is one of the few remaining lots of its size that’s available.
"Bottom line is if the city of Tallahassee owns the dirt, we control the density of the property itself," said Dailey.
Several ideas for the property have been floated by the city, including the new Tallahassee Police Department public safety campus, a performing arts space and even an entire neighborhood dedicated to affordable housing.
"I don't know if it's a good idea or a bad idea, but I do know we need affordable housing,” said resident Erin Sologaistoa. "It's almost a crisis I think in Florida. There's a lot of people that are couch surfing and really don't have affordable places to live."
The list of bidders is private, so it is unclear who is participating in the auction and how much people are bidding, including the city. The city has also not said how high it is willing to pay for the site.
The auction is open through Wednesday.