By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 13, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Environmental concerns, water damage and bat guano are just a few of the issues that have plagued the Northwood Centre.
City leaders took a tour through the property last week after purchasing the 34 acres for $6.8 million in April.
The property was Tallahassee's first indoor mall, dating back to 1969. It was the most popular suggestion in the city's survey for the new TPD headquarters, with 32 votes.
The southern portion of the building is prosperous, with a popular gym, a ballet studio and an adjacent pizzeria. However, the northern side is abandoned.
Parts of the northern end are missing carpeting. The escalators are taped off, although they are functional.
Deputy City Manager Wayne Tedder told WCTV there were "no surprises" when staff entered the building.
"Definitely if anything happens in this older part it would take a considerable amount of time to rehab it," said Tedder. "We have to consider whether it's even cost feasible to rehab it over time."
Pieces of the ceiling are also missing, and rainwater is running down the walls in one room, ruining what is left of the carpet.
The infamous office room, where bat guano fell onto the desk of a state employee, is completely gutted, with no carpet and multiple ceiling tiles missing. The office space is large and mostly empty, with the exception of some taped up cubicles and desks.
The southern side of the property houses a popular gym, with at least 700 members.
"Not only do we have visitors locally, but we have visitors from all over the country to visit this site, so it just brings a lot of traffic to the Northwood Centre," said owner Mike Hamilton.
Anytime Fitness is hoping to stay in the space, working it out with the new City landlord.
"As of right now, we know that everybody is going to be able to stay at least to the end of their lease, and possibly after that," said Hamilton.
Tedder agreed, saying the other part of the mall is usable and habitable.
"Until we determine what is the best utilization of the site or these buildings, those folks are perfectly okay to be in those parts of the building," said Tedder.
The City is looking at different options for the site.
"I think you have to look much bigger than just this building. This is a 30 acre site, in a part of our downtown that could see a lot of rejuvenation, if you will. This is an incredible site for our community to have it basically transformed into something that could really benefit this part of our community," said Tedder.
Other ideas for the property include a performing arts spot, office or retail space, or affordable housing.
The City is closing on the property on May 20.