New developments giving Railroad Square a new "front door"

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 7, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Mountain Shore Properties is creating a new "front door" for Railroad Square in Tallahassee; the group is involved in two construction project at the opening of the property.

The Hyatt House and a new retail/restaurant space will be coming to the art neighborhood.

The development is focused on funneling college students down from Gaines Street over to the Railroad Square area, helping out those local businesses.

The retail space is set to be under construction early next year, while the hotel is already in progress.

Three tenants are planned to be in the new space, which is about 6,000 square feet. Mountain Shore Properties has not yet selected those tenants, but is hoping to find local business owners for the spot.

"As we got to know the owners of Railroad Square, and the tenants of Railroad Square, we spent a lot of time talking to those folks about what's important to them," said Will Butler, the President of Real Estate InSync. "We love what's going on there, and we didn't want, nor do we want, to run anyone out of there. We want people to stay there and we want more people to come and see what's going on there."

Proximity to both university campuses, downtown, and Gaines Street helps Railroad Square businesses succeed; however, the businesses could benefit from a larger influx of college students.

"Railroad Square is already pretty well known by the locals, and pretty well patronized and visited by the locals, but you don't see as many students," said Butler. "Let's bring some of the college kids in so that they can experience some of the cool festivities, the different arts and opportunities, the rock climbing gym. We wanted to do something that would embrace all of the cool things, the eclectic things going on in Railroad Square."

Business owners on the Square are excited about the development as well.

"When the people walk out of the front door to the hotel they're going to see me first, and by seeing me it's going to draw them into the rest of Railroad Square," said new owner Donna Elliott.

Elliott owns the Square Mug Cafe, which opened in early October. The coffee shop replaces the Black Dog Cafe, but Elliott intends to keep much of the same atmosphere.

"I'd like to add more menu items, especially for lunch, more vegan and vegetarian breakfast as well, but for the most part the only thing I had to change was the name on the door," said Elliott.

She believes students will help her new store.

"I think it's going to be great, it's going to bring some of that energy and activity that's on Gaines Street, all the way over to our side," Elliott said.

Construction on the new retail space and the hotel are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2020.

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