CRA Stays Alive, Looks to Fund $9.6 Million Project. Gillum Takes on Critics

CRA Stays Alive, Looks to Fund $9.6 Million Project. Gillum Takes on Critics

Members of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) voted to gather more information about the ramifications of shutting down the downtown CRA and then the board voted to move forward with possibly providing financial assistance for the Washington Square project.

Also, Mayor Andrew Gillum – who has refused to answer questions about his New York excursion with a city lobbyist and undercover FBI agents posing as CRA developers – took a swipe at critics of the Community Redevelopment Agency at Wednesday’s meeting.

Gillum said that the CRA should not be influenced by “folks spouting off at the microphone” and that “we need to be reasonable and adult-like in our decision-making.”

The remarks followed a number of speakers who supported the position that the downtown CRA should be shutdown since the CRA is supposed to serve “blighted areas” and there is nothing blighted about downtown.

One public speaker, Dr. Erwin Jackson, said that no more projects should be funded by the CRA until the FBI investigation is completed.

In a surprise move, the CRA voted 6-3 to move forward with providing financial assistance for the fifteen story, $90 million Washington Square project which includes a conference hotel, three restaurants, condos and underground parking.

The developers are asking for a $9.6 million dollar tax break.

The project was a last minute add to the agenda and many thought that since the CRA staff was recently directed by elected officials to not to bring any more large projects forward, the project would be dismissed.

That was not the case.

City Commissioners Nancy Miller, Gil Ziffer, Curtis Richardson and Mayor Andrew Gillum joined County Commissioners Mary Ann Lindley and Kristen Dozier in voting for the project.

City Commissioner Scott Maddox and County Commissioners Bill Proctor and Nick Maddox voted against the motion.

31 Responses to "CRA Stays Alive, Looks to Fund $9.6 Million Project. Gillum Takes on Critics"

  1. We really don’t need to be using the CRA to subsidize businesses that are not in economically distressed areas. The downtown and Cascades are not in depressed areas. The Walgreens boondoggle at Monroe and Tennessee is an example of poor planning. Most of us knew that a drugstore at that location was not viable. Wait until the FBI investigation is complete before funding any more projects. Just common sense.

  2. Steve is such a professional journalist. Here’s what he cleaned up for us.

    Snydley’s Title interpretation:

    “CRA Stays Alive, Looks to Fund $9.6 Million Project. Gillum Puts Foot in Mouth.”

  3. Ghengis Grill is for sale at 1.6 mil. Logan’s Roadhouse out of business for sale 2.4. Hotel site on W. Pkwy for sale 950k. The Lafayette Shopping center, New Leaf, Cabos…etc. is in need of a face-lift on both sides of Lafayette. This is less than a mile from the proposed site. We do not need another ‘new’ location for businesses to flock to leaving behind older storefronts and true urban blight. The ground floor shops along Gaines are still empty. Will no one learn a lesson from this? We constricted traffic on Gaines and we are going to add more housing and businesses in a location with no traffic infrastructure? Put your Hotel on N. Monroe on the Northwood Mall lot. It has to be demolished anyway. Does anyone believe that anyone besides a friend of the CRA can afford to open a local independent restaurant in this new 15 story monstrosity? It will house a new chain restaurant or Starbucks, a nail salon, mattress store, and apartment rental office. Thank you TR for keeping us informed.

  4. The mayor is hiding behind the political shield the city attorney provided in the guise of legal advice. He is their legal advisor on city matters, he’s not their defense attorney.

  5. Meanwhile Tallahassee is one homicide away from tying last year’s total. I am sad to see my hometown go down the drain like this. I have so many good ideas that would make this town special, but it would require having elected leaders who loved this town too rather than their own wallets.

  6. We really don’t need an entertainment district at the foot of our beautiful park. With the taking of two lanes on Franklin, how on earth are people going to get to and from this huge development? It would be better to locate on south Monroe and redevelop that corridor as it needs it and has close access to downtown and four lanes and a $7 million footbridge. Oh, and Mike Miller liked the location!

  7. Just remember citizens…next time you wander down Adams at a Downtown Get Down; head to J.T.’s taxpayer funded sidewalk cafe expansion; make your way to First Baptist Church; enjoy the Chain-of-Parks with arts, crafts, and booths, etc. you are walking in an area designated as “blight.” I chatted with locals who pay little attention to local matters and they nearly spit out their food when told the area was named as a CRA/blight by the crew of corruption (allegedly).

  8. The Commissioners evidently know something the Public doesn’t. Maybe the DOJ/FBI investigation is stalled? How does a City and County Commission(CRA) rationalize multi-million dollar tax breaks while trying to figure out how to balance it’s own budget?

    1. Brought to you by trickle-down ethics and demeanor from the 2009-2017 POTUS and DNC.

      Young AndyG is doubling down like he learned from the “top”.

  9. Mayor Andy:
    We, the citizens, have a right to attend a public meeting, make public comments about government and their functions. You SHOULD be influenced by “folks spouting off at the microphone”. Since YOU are not we will be reasonable and adult like in OUR decision making.

  10. This makes no sense for the betterment of Tallahassee. We DO NOT NEED more restaurants or condos in downtown. I believe the City and County officials are sorely out of touch with Tallahassee.

    1. Correct. During the past month or so, Erwin Jackson has gained almost enough friends to become a public figure on Facebook. The problem is the commissioners keep hearing the same couple of voices. We need to start showing up and making our voices heard and not wait for any indictments or the next election.

  11. FBI chatting to themselves;
    “See I told you their Mayor still believed us since we told him he was not under investigation. And his “folks spouting off at the microphone” comment will cause some of his loyal supporters to bail out on him.”
    “Yeah I cant wait until we lower the net of justice on all the thieves in this little town.”

    1. Former supporter here. Andy’s statement is exactly the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I laughed when he said the FBI told him he wasn’t under investigation. No, Andy they’re not going to tell you – that’s the whole point! Have some common sense. Now, I’m just angry.

      1. Welcome home Joe!
        Let’s focus on what we can do about this. Most of us are too busy with jobs and family to go out and rail against the corrupt political machine or lead impressive rally’s for honest fiscally responsible government.
        Most of us who work in any local government capacity are aware politics and work can hurt our chance for promotion or even reaching retirement.
        One vote Joe. We can take our city back one vote at a time. If that’s all we are able to do than be proud to do it!

  12. Dear FBI, Please note six elected officials voted for extension of ‘slush fund’ to private developer – corporate welfare for ninety million dollars (bank financing). Please also note, which commissioners extended family, friends and or business associates to benefit from their calculated vote. We already know Dozier vote trickles down to payola for Mad dog construction. Miller vote same for family syndicate within city government (Buss clan). Ziffer, now head of league, his vote was to play along to get more mileage for other agenda items for team ziffer pipeline. Richardson, district city commissioner- whichever the wind blows that’s the side he will be on. Spineless! Wonder which friends ‘MWBEs’
    will get their fair share of the ‘set-aside’ for his vote. Gillium vote was needed to ensure developers do not forget his role in the delivery of millions of tax payers money for project that will get built anyway. Maryanne lindley vote raised an eyebrow. There again, no surprise. Obviously she voted w the little head instead of her first conscious! We all know what happens when you do not follow your first instinct!

    All dirty hands on deck!


    1. Ok, now we know ziffer vote was indeed an ascention to mayoralship. Think private developers receiving ‘slush fund’ will pay hommage to his decision to run mayor? Let’s follow the campaign money into his coffers! Stay tuned! Capital City Reality Show live.

      1. I laughed when I heard Ziffer is running for Mayor. I used to think he was just an honest go along to get along liberal. But now I will not be shocked if Ziffer is indicted along with the rest.
        Getting a good laugh at the image of Mayor Ziffer running our fair city from Federal prison.
        I wonder if George Soros is stroking out a fatty check for the Ziffer for Dirty Mayor fund right now!

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