Auction of Tallahassee Mall is an Opportunity

Tallahassee Mall, a North Monroe Street landmark for over 40 years here in Tallahassee, is now on the auction block.

Usurped as the place to shop by Governor's Square Mall since 1979, it's long been withering compared to its across town rival in what is apparently still our "one-mall town".

Like Northwood Centre (formerly Northwood Mall) before it, the auction of Tallahassee Mall is a rare opportunity for government to economically pick up a prime facility in the heart of the most active and accessible part of town. It could become a "new main-street" with local businesses, arts, crafts and entertainment facilities that would serve the permanent residents (e.g. tax-payers) of the area.

The glamorous new Gaines Street project serves the tax-exempt half of Tallahassee: Florida State University (FSU), Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), and State of Florida government along with its legislators, lobbyists, and investors. That project is likely to result in the eventual loss of our great cultural resource, Railroad Square. With the exception of Tallahassee Little Theatre and Young Actors Theatre, Railroad Square has been the only place meagerly funded local arts and crafts organizations and the small businesses that serve them have been able to afford for many years.

If local government would acquire, improve and maintain the Tallahassee Mall property and infrastructure, and provide professional construction resources and guidance to ensure safety and code-compliance, I'm sure thousands of dedicated volunteers in hundreds of local arts and crafts organizations would eagerly step up to do most of the fundraising and a lot of the interior work. This could also provide a showcase for local interior design, landscaping, construction and other startups to get their new businesses before the public.

The synergy of all these talents would produce truly attractive, high-quality venues and outlets that the people of this area would enjoy and frequent for years to come.

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