June 17, 2014 - by

CollegeTown experiencing tremendous success – Florida State University

CollegeTown experiencing tremendous success – Florida State University
















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CollegeTown experiencing tremendous success

Seminole Boosters investment in the CollegeTown project,
combined with the City of Tallahassee's efforts to redevelop Gaines Street, has
gained the attention of local, regional and national developers and retailers and
the once-blighted warehouse district is quickly being revitalized.

When conceived, CollegeTown was viewed as a catalyst to help
transform a warehouse area into a mixed-use live, study and play district that
would contribute to the local economy through new businesses and jobs, enhance
the quality of life and have a positive lift on the local tax base.

On the first anniversary of CollegeTown's groundbreaking, it
is time to assess the project, its impact on the Boosters, the University, the
City of Tallahassee and to look ahead to where the CollegeTown district is
heading.

Key milestones in year one:

  • CollegeTown Phase One opened in August 2013 with
    100 percent of its 71 apartments occupied and 70 percent of retail space leased
    for fall 2013 outperforming its investment objectives.
  • The CollegeTown District welcomed Urban
    Outfitters in January 2014
  • Retail space in CollegeTown Phase One is now
    fully leased and providing better than expected cash flow.
  •  North American Properties cited CollegeTown as a
    catalyst for investing $67 million in the CollegeTown district bringing more
    than 400 residential units and 45,000 square feet of retail space for the
    summer of 2014 including a letter of intent from a national fashion retailer to
    complement Urban Outfitters.
  • Seminole Boosters signed a lease with CVS
    Pharmacy at the corner of Woodward and Pensacola which will more than quadruple
    the Boosters cash flow on that property and adds to the value of the Boosters'
    real estate holdings.
  •  As a result of investment interest in the
    CollegeTown area, Seminole Booster real estate holdings have more than doubled.

 

What's ahead:

  • Local, regional and national retailers have
    taken notice of the density of the CollegeTown area, with more than 10,000
    resident students living in a walkable half-mile radius.
  • Several national retailers have signed leases or
    letters of intent with a major grocer and a boutique hotel showing serious
    interest.
  • The haunted house site on the corner of Gaines
    and Woodward has been acquired by a related party for high end alumni condos as
    well as a 450-plus car parking garage for CollegeTown for Fall 2015
  • While there's work to do, the creation of an
    entertainment area close to Florida State football, baseball and basketball
    venues will continue to enhanced the fan's weekend experience and translate
    into ticket sales and Booster memberships.
  •  The CollegeTown District is beginning to foster
    the town-and-gown experiences for faculty, staff, students and alumni
    originally envisioned.
  • Seminole Boosters will continue to work with the
    university and local government to plan future development along the Madison
    Mile and College Town district.

"We are very happy with this first step of this long term
project and with the progress many of our retailers have made in the inaugural
year," said Andy Miller, President of Seminole Boosters. "We'll continue to
work together with our merchants and with local government to improve the
experience as we move into the second year of operation. Financially,
CollegeTown has exceeded our investment expectation for the first year. We're
pleased with the growth in the area and are moving forward with plans for
future growth."

What others are saying
about CollegeTown

CollegeTown
as catalyst for development
:

"When the Seminole Boosters made
the investment into CollegeTown with the University's and local government support
we saw the energy of the campus moving South to Gaines Street. The City allowed
higher density -- four-stories of residential over retail - which was also
instrumental in our ability to invest. If not for these factors we wouldn't be
here."

Shawn McIntyre, managing partner
North American Properties

 

 "With a redevelopment project, the first thing
that draws attention is the presence of restaurants and bars. Entertainment
attract beds. The Seminole Boosters introduction of CollegeTown, a mixed-use
development, brought bars and restaurants to the area and the apartment
developers quickly followed. Now, more than 4,000 beds are either just opened
or under construction within a walkable distance of CollegeTown.

Alan Hooper, founder and
president Hooper Construction

 

 "Though the name CollegeTown involves the word
"college", the CollegeTown experience is hardly focused on just students. While
areas like Midtown have fairly clear demographics, CollegeTown is truly a
melting pot of young professionals, professionals and students in one area,
even through the weekends."

Matt Thompson, managing partner
Madison Social at CollegeTown

 

On
affect CollegeTown has on tax base:

"We purchased one piece of
property that was paying just $12,000 per year in real estate taxes and the
other property had a real estate tax exemption. When we are finished with our properties
we will have created $1 million a year in tax base and I would imagine the same
is true for many of the other developments in the area."

Shawn McIntyre, managing partner
North American Properties

 

 

On
retail performance:

"There is a natural selection
and maturation process that always occurs when you redevelop an area.  With less than one year into this
development, the CollegeTown area is enjoying a very exciting time. We are
working with the current merchants, to help them be more successful and at the
same time, we are getting calls from local, regional and national reps that
recognize the opportunity in and around CollegeTown.  There is huge interest from an array of
retailers to enter the market."

Alan Hooper, founder and
president Hooper Construction

 

Progress
made and the future:

"From the first football game
through the last, it is clear that CollegeTown gained steam as a home game
weekend destination as well as an away game gathering for watch parties. The
Miami game weekend was the peek of the traffic with customers spilling into the
streets to partake in the CollegeTown offerings. And baseball season is proving
to be as fruitful as the Tallahassee weather provides the backdrop to catch a
burger, beer and a baseball game."

Matt Thompson, managing partner
Madison Social at CollegeTown

 

 "Where else are you going to find this kind of
density anywhere in Tallahassee and then narrow down the niche to the 18-24
year old demographic?  By fall of 2014 we
will have 4,000 new pairs of legs within a tight, walkable four-block area.
This is a retailers dream.  If you are
selling something to that age group in Tallahassee, CollegeTown is like the
bullseye on the target. Urban Outfitters knew exactly what they were doing when
they chose CollegeTown over all other markets" 

Alan Hooper, founder and
president Hooper Construction

 

"When we began programming
CollegeTown three years ago one of the first uses identified by students and
faculty alike was a pharmacy. We studied our holdings in the district, identified
the most appropriate site and approached CVS Pharmacy about developing an urban
pharmacy. They eagerly agreed and we are finalizing our plans now for a
2-story, parking in the rear, urban CVS. They will provide basic goods to the
district and have fully embraced our architectural guidelines. They will
replace the worn convenience store at the NE corner of Woodward and Pensacola
with a building that mimics the look and feel of the Florida State campus and
will add to the direct connectivity between the heart of campus and
CollegeTown."

Will Butler, founder and
president of Real Estate InSync


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