A public performing arts space is closer to a home in Northwood. Affordable housing could follow

The Tallahassee City Commission has provided official support for a performing arts facility at the Northwood Center. It would be part of a larger site redevelopment effort that includes new space for the Tallahassee Police Department and now, perhaps some kind of affordable housing.

PAC supporters are hoping that after nearly 19 years of talk and failure and false starts, the city might actually see something happen.

The latest effort, led by the TLH Arts group, wrapped up earlier this year around the same time the Sheridan Foundation approached the city with a plan to build a smaller version of a performing arts center. and promised to do so with his own money.

On Wednesday, the city commission approved a site of about four acres in the Northwood Center. Approval came after some discussion about how many acres the facility will need. Judy Sheridan, one half of the foundation’s namesake, says the facility will likely seat 850 when fully built and will need room to expand.

“I don’t want to be landlocked,” Sheridan told the commission. “We are also looking at 700 seats because at some point the TSO [Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra] and other large nonprofits will have to leave FSU. The FSU needs space.

Construction is estimated at around $12 million, and the Sheridans are using private funds, including their own, to finance it. Previous efforts to build a PAC have involved public funds.

The Northwood site could also potentially be used for affordable housing. City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow raised the suggestion a day after commissioners rejected the idea of ​​creating a dedicated social housing trust fund during a conversation with local residents concerned about gun violence and housing costs.

Curtis Richardson supported Matlow’s idea. Richardson serves on the board of the Tallahassee Lenders Consortium. He told a recent board meeting that other members had floated the idea of ​​building more affordable housing in South City.

“I objected to this because I was concerned that we would continue to bring together low-income, affordable housing in this area of ​​South City,” he said.

“I am very convinced that this should not happen and that it should be evenly distributed across the region.”

Mayor John Dailey also co-signed the idea of ​​adding affordable housing to Northwood.

The complex spans over 30 acres and citizens have given their input on how to build it as work continues to pave the way for new developments. Those suggestions are still on the table, and the city is awaiting market analysis before deciding what else should go to Northwood.

The immediate next step is for the Sheridan Foundation to begin negotiating with the city on details such as a lease for the land and determining how many parking spaces will be dedicated to the PAC.

About Madeline J. Carter

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