Luxury Hotel Project Approved with a 3-2 Vote

Luxury Hotel Project Approved with a 3-2 Vote

In a 3-2 vote, the City Commission approved the sale of the city-owned Chevron and Johns parcels to the Valencia Development Corporation for $8 million.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow and Commissioner Jack Porter voted against the sale.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow expressed his concern about not seeking competitive bids according to city policy. He commented further, stating “it may be a great project, but it is not good business to go forward” without a competitive aspect.

Commissioner Curtis Richardson asserted that the sale to the Valencia group is a good opportunity which will bring jobs to Tallahassee. He said he “strongly supports” the sale of the parcels, adding that the hotels will be a “great addition to our community.”

Mayor Dailey was enthusiastic about the sale, noting it is a $125 million investment in Tallahassee, and that the business, university, and association communities are excited about this opportunity too, as the hotels promise to add exceptional meeting space.

Original Story

At next weeks city commission meeting, elected officials will consider selling the Chevron and Johns parcels on W. Gaines Street to Valencia Development Corporation in the amount of $8,000,000 for the purpose of constructing two hotels, restaurants, and meeting spaces.

Valencia Development Corporation, based in Houston, Texas, operates the Valencia Hotel Group which is a hotel management company specializing in the development and operation of full-service luxury hotels.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hotel2.png
Location map for proposed development

In a letter to Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad, Doyle Graham, the President and CEO of Valencia Development Corporation, stated that the group plans to brand the luxury hotel – with approximately 220 rooms – as Hotel Valencia Tallahassee or something similar.

The property would include two restaurants, a rooftop bar/restaurant, a resort style swimming pool and other amenities. The luxury hotel would also include a 10,000-12,000 sq. ft. grand ballroom.

A second hotel – the Courts Hotel – would include approximately 180 guest rooms.

See Valencia Development hotels in Texas and California

According to meeting documents, the hotels would employ approximately 175 employees at Hotel Valencia and about 75 employees at the Courts hotel. There will be no minimum-wage jobs at either hotel.

Also, the developer states that they “encourage promotion within and there is a definite path from entry level staff positions to high-paying salaried management positions. All our current general managers were promoted up the ranks, usually from entry-level positions.”

The Process

On September 25, 2019, the City Commission authorized staff to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the sale of the two parcels. However, due to COVID-19, the RFP was not released. The sale of the parcels for hotel, restaurant and meeting space uses is consistent with the Downtown Plan, the Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan, and the Gaines Street Revitalization Plan and further advances the City’s goal to create an 18-hour downtown. 

Staff seeks approval for the sale to Valencia Development Corporation without competitive bid solicitation. Per city commission policy, surplus property shall be marketed for sale or disposition by competitive bid solicitation. However, real estate may be offered for sale without using competitive bid solicitation if the Commission deems the sale to be in the best interest of the City.

A value determination by a staff state-certified appraiser estimated the value of the property to be approximately $35 per square foot (or $7,700,000 to $7,800,000). A report from an independent state-certified appraiser in 2015 indicated a value conclusion of $30 per square foot (or $6,700,000). Given that the current offer exceeds the appraised value range, staff is seeking a deviation from the Real Estate Policy requiring a second appraisal. 

21 Responses to "Luxury Hotel Project Approved with a 3-2 Vote"

  1. Mr. Simms,
    The city manager is the same! Maybe the lack of negative articles has to do with the lack of items to write about and not race.

  2. “Commissioner Jeremy Matlow expressed his concern about not seeking competitive bids according to city policy.”

    When it starts with a violation of established policy, it’s never good.

  3. When they said that they plan to Brand the Hotel as “as Hotel Valencia Tallahassee or something similar”, red flags go up. I begin thinking that they plan to sell it to another Company and run.

  4. Instead of taking on another “luxury hotel” in the downtown area, the city needs to upgrade their city bus system and do something about the lack of parking downtown. Granted, those two things wouldn’t be directed to the more affluent residents and visitors, but they are needed.

  5. @Stanley
    I believe you are confusing content of character with the color of your skin. You lose credibility continually playing the race card.

  6. More Tallahassee dollars going to an out of town developer to build more things we don’t need. When is the FBI investigation of the CRA going to conclude!?

  7. Is it me or has anyone else noticed the drop in negative articles by Tallahassse Report since we got a white City Manager and Mayor?

  8. Where is all the big money coming from?. That is what has been left out of this story. Is this
    being bought by foreign investors. Really, anyone that’s not blind can see the hotel industry
    and commercial real estate in Tallahassee is a huge bubble just waiting to burst. College Town
    is the biggest bubble. None of these businesses can be making any money. They have to be losing millions, and when reality does set in, the people holding the bill for all of this nonsense
    and greed are going to be destroyed. .

  9. There are already 5 or 6 Hotels in the Down Town area, walking distance to the Capital. Has anyone done any research on THERE occupancy rates over the last 2 Years to see if two more Hotels are even needed Down Town?

  10. When it comes to development, true leadership, creativity, and vision is hard to come by. What isn’t hard to come by is drive. People are driven – feel compelled. The result is a “money maker” with a name like Valencia. is this the wrong direction to take for this part of town? That of course depends on who you ask. I have my own opinion, but really, like almost all of us, I have my head down being “me” – trying to scrape together enough funding to keep my little nonprofit alive. I can say, having lived in a big city, the transportation system car-bus-bike-pedestrian in the area of this development is not sufficient as it is. We are installing big buildings like big cities, but not following through with the infrastructure. No bike lane on Railroad Avenue? There is nothing more nerve wracking than all the cars, trucks and busses trying to “get through” the area. Its going to get worse.

  11. Is Valencia familiar with Washington square? We will more than likely be left with another empty hole in the ground filled with rusty rebar and construction debris on the other end of downtown. So don’t feel left out South siders…

  12. And another thing back in the day when the State grounds keepers crew was located in the old Chevron gas station the crew dug up a cannon ball on that site. My friend that worked there told me their supervisor told them to cover the cannon ball back up with dirt and not to tell anyone about it.
    Probably an historicaly rich archeological site that needs to be preserved, studied, and after that turned into an historical City Park.
    Also Commissioners technically the City Park will count as spending money on “The South Side”.
    You want to desperatly do a little virtue signaling by spending some money on ” The South Side” dont you?

  13. Oh Oh I just remembered that location is the same location of “The Performing Arts Center” our local elected Nannies tried to cram down our throats back in the tax and spend Obama years.
    Our elected Nannies at the time were so sure they had us by the short curlys at the time!!!!
    Remember that?

  14. @ M Munroe:
    That HOLE is a blight and travesty spearheaded by CRA slush fund. How much of tax payers monies were CRA able to recoup from that HOLE? Crickets….That HOLE swept under the proverbial rug.

    @ Valencia: Good location, good project!

    Developers privy to Tallahassee’s CRA storyline – Gullibility for big Box deals. Carry on Valencia…

  15. Someone needs to tell Valancia not to include the million dollars in local public officials bribes and associated contributions into the total purchase price.
    Psssst boys that is separated out in Tallahassee as a cost of doing business.

  16. “Given that the current offer exceeds the appraised value range, staff is seeking a deviation from the Real Estate Policy requiring a second appraisal.”
    If someone is willing to pay you MORE, with no strings, favors or Kickbacks, you TAKE IT.

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