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    CollegeTown experiencing tremendous success

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    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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