Tallahassee City Commission discusses performing arts center project at Northwood Mall site – Tallahassee Reports

In August, the city of Tallahassee began the demolition of the Northwood Center which was purchased by the city in 2019 for $ 6.8 million. The land will eventually house the Tallahassee Police Department and possibly a new performing arts center.

During the City Commissioner’s meeting on December 14, Mayor John Dailey offered to bring back an item for the next January meeting to further discuss the possibility of a performing arts center.

“I think we have an incredible opportunity,” said Dailey. “I think this is a great time to start the New Year and have this conversation,” to discuss the look of the Northwood Center development.

The art center is a proposal of the Michael H. and Judy W. Sheridan Center for the Arts Foundation. Media reports say the proposal calls for a public-private partnership where the city donates 5 acres of the 29.5-acre Northwood Center and in return the foundation will cover construction and operating costs.

The Sheridan’s vision is a 450-seat auditorium, nothing to do with the large 1,800-seat theaters that the city has rejected in the past. Instead, this theater would potentially house a black box performance area to accommodate 150 seats, a stage, and a multi-purpose hall with a catering kitchen for rehearsals or banquets. The estimated cost of the project is around $ 8 million.

“I don’t know if the time is right to make commitments or to bring back papers dealing only with this plot or this concept,” said Commissioner Curtis Richardson. “I’d like to have a more general conversation about the site itself and what we’re going to do in terms of housing and business development,” instead of just focusing on a performing arts center.

However, the motion was ultimately passed unanimously, with reluctance to make any formal commitments to the project. Although Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox mentioned it, there is a sense of urgency regarding the project due to health issues related to Sheridan.

“I think we have to be fair and we have to realize his sense of urgency,” said Williams-Cox. “We have to start the conversation because nothing is going to happen until we start the conversation.”