Estimated at $90 Million, this project aims to advance the city's commitment to the creation of an 18-hour downtown, an effort that has been in the works more than two decades, pre-dating the establishment of the downtown CRA.
Developer Walter Hall, Principal of Fairmont Development, LLC, announced in a letter to the Executive Director of the CRA on October 21st, that the development team is actively seeking local resources to deliver the project, estimating the permanent impact of the project will create over 190 on-site jobs in addition to the value added to local tax coffers from the construction of the building.
Fairmont initially sought financial assistance to construct the facility at Washington Square from the Downtown District CRA and Enterprise Florida. Together these financial incentives enhanced the project's feasibility analysis allowing the developer to move forward with pre-development planning. But the Florida legislature eliminated the Enterprise Zone in 2016 leaving the CRA as the only development incentive available to support the $90 Million project.
The CRA subsidy requested by Fairmont is for the purpose of providing and enhancing public infrastructure required to support high-density mixed use development downtown. Fairmont proposes to invest $90 Million up front to build the project. Their request is for a rebate totaling aprox. 10% of the development cost or a total of $9.6 Million dollars over a 15 year period, or an average of $640,000 a year from 2019-2034.
Currently the property's value is estimated at $1,445,000 and its ad valorem tax bill totals $30,057 (2016). Once completed, this Washington Square property will be worth $60,000,000 with an annual ad valorem tax at $1,231,362 a year. Fairmont Estimates the property's 2020 tax bill will total $1,248,060 (based on Leon County property appraiser valuation guidelines & 20.801 Mills). From this bill developer would seek that average $640,000 / yr rebate. Over the 15-year period Fairmont would pay to local government $3,300,000 in taxes. After 2034 the property would be assessed at a regular rate.
Fairmont lists Public Infrastructure and Parking and Streetscape improvements as the reason for the requested subsidy.
High density urban development requires structured parking that is either on-site or within close proximity. The project will be constructed near the City-owned public garage on Calhoun which is currently fully subscribed, therefore, Washington Square will utilize the tax increment rebate to help fund a brand new 425-space parking garage and landscaped pathway on Calhoun and Jefferson Streets which will also connect with Cascades Park.
The construction impact of the project will create 742 Direct Jobs with $28.9 million in wages to workers. The Center for Economic Forecasting & Analysis at Florida State University also estimates 352 indirect/induced jobs will be created with $14.7 million in wages to those workers. A total $143.8 million in total economic output will be attributed to this project.
Once operational FSU, Center of Economic Forecasting & Analysis estimates 515 direct Jobs with $16 million in Wages, 188 indirect/induced jobs with a total of $7.4 million in wages ongoing for a total economic output of $62.4 million.
Total Economic Impact between Construction and Operations will create a total of 1,797 jobs and $66.9 million in wages, and a total $206.2 economic output.
LOWES Hotels will be the hotel operator for this project. Florida currently has LOEWS properties in Orlando and Miami. The company has a total of 25 Hotels and Resorts nationally with over 12,361 guest rooms. Loews Hotels is a luxury hotel brand based out of New York City, NY.
The proposed Tallahassee location would become the brand's 25th location and would contain between 270-280 rooms, 17,000 SF of meeting/event space, a Lobby Lounge, Fine Dining Restaurant, Breakfast/Lunch cafe and rooftop restaurant. In addition to Loews, the Washington Square facility will contain 67,000 SF of office space. The project is expected to be completed by May of 2020.