Downtown Pensacola seems to be growing so much so fast, Chairman of the Downtown Development Board, John Peacock says their only limitation is space.
“That’s a great problem to have!” says Peacock.
“We’re so fortunate to be America’s first settlement, have a lot of history, have a lot of culture,” says Mayor Ashton Hayward.
Things were not so developed when Mayor Ashton Hayward first took office in 2011.
“But we weren’t leveraging what makes cities powerful in the aspect of having a downtown that’s very alive,” says Hayward.
Things are growing downtown and people want to be a part of it. And now we see several developments as a result.
One of those developments is on Tarragona Street, a new apartment complex going up next June which will have 256 units and retail space on the first floor.
They’ve got the demand…there’s already a waiting list 700 names long.
“You’ve got both ends of the spectrum. Younger people want to live in an urban area, but older people, they don’t want to worry about driving anymore, they want to be near things they can walk to and kind of be in the hub of activity,” says Peacock.
And Pensacola is a hub of activity.
“Six, seven years ago, you could have stood in the middle of Palafox and never get hit by a car. Now it’s busy almost every day of the week.”
The historic building on Palafox and Garden is also being outfitted for residential and office space. That’ll be ready by late next year.
In 1972, business owners decided to tax themselves an extra two mils to put back into the community. Peacock says they’re seeing the fruits of that labor now.
In any downtown, the idea is to create a strong core and expand outwards, which they plan to do.
“If you look to the east we have a new hotel coming online, I would like us moving a little west of city hall where we’re sitting right now. The downtowns are the heartbeat of the citizens and of a great city and an authentic city like Pensacola,” says Hayward.
And folks here can’t wait to see what’s next.