The Stadium Centre complex on West Gaines Street is one of the largest in the student housing neighborhood that has sprung up in the old commercial district between Florida State University and Florida A&M University.
Operated by American Campus Communities, a company based in Austin, Texas, it has five large buildings, each adorned with a rather generic name that does not exactly reflect a presence in Tallahassee or Florida.
For instance, students who can afford the pricey rents – three-bedroom units cost $899 per tenant per month on a 12-month lease – may choose among The Axis, The Block, The Court, The Deck, and the latest addition, The Edge, which opened this month.
The cornerstone on one of the older Stadium Centre buildings reads “Community Redevelopment Agency, 2012.” It’s but one of several student housing developments that received CRA aid for area infrastructure improvements, 172 public parking spaces, and ground floor retail, much of which remains vacant.
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The student housing community, Stadium Centre, on Gaines Street, is comprised of The Axis, The Block, The Court and The Deck.
(Photo: Courtesy NAP)
The fact that The Stadium Centre’s developers received a CRA commitment of almost $5.4 million is what makes some of the company’s online advertising a bit surprising. For instance, a Stadium Centre ad repeatedly posted on craigslist notes that the apartments are “within close proximity to Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL and conveniently located to Tallahassee Community College.”
The Stadium Centre units on the south side of West Gaines Street are indeed only a bit more than three-tenths of a mile from the nearest fringe of FSU’s main campus, although walking there entails crossing five busy east-west thoroughfares: Gaines, Madison, St. Augustine, Pensacola and Jefferson.
The Stadium Centre is four miles from Tallahassee Community College, and there are numerous student housing options much closer to TCC than the Stadium Centre.
Not even mentioned in the ads is Florida A&M University, the nearest edge of which is roughly four-tenths of a mile from the Stadium Centre complex and can be reached on foot without crossing a busy thoroughfare.
This is not to say the Stadium Centre discriminates on the basis of race. During the first Friday in August, a fairly diverse group of students was checking into The Edge, which sprawls all the way from the north side of Gaines Street to the south side of Madison Street.
Still, a student housing complex that has received CRA help ought to ensure that the “Welcome Home” signs posted at its entrances as the fall semester gets underway are meant for all of the area’s college students, not just FSU’s and TCC’s.
Robert F. Sanchez is a retired journalist residing in Tallahassee.
7 student housing projects that are receiving public dollars
While CRA director Roxanne Manning notes the CRA rarely directly funds student housing projects unless they involve local developers, the body has steered high-dollar grants to improvements to parking and infrastructure associated with student housing complexes.
North American Properties – District Joint Venture East/West – 2012
Grant assistance towards construction of retail/public space and 172 public parking spaces (owned by the CRA) in mixed-use development for the Block (805 W. Gaines St.) and Deck (707 W. Gaines St.); includes up to $216,000 in CRA-controlled capacity in Coal Shute Stormwater Pond.
Stadium Centre, a high-end student housing complex.
Rhettro Development – 2018
Grant assistance with construction of a new student housing development at 712 Gamble St
CRA commitment: $250,000
Greenleaf Twin, LLC – 2018
Grant assistance with interior and exterior renovations, hardscape and landscape improvements at student housing development on 710 Wailes St
CRA commitment – $75,000
Seminole Booster Inc. – College Town, Phase I – 2011
Grant to assist with infrastructure improvements as part of the construction of a mixed-use residential development at 815 W. Madison Street
CRA commitment: $2,532,045
Chance Catalyst Development – 2012
Assist with public parking, retail and ground floor design elements for construction of mixed-use student housing development at 721 Gay Street
CRA commitment: $911,800
601 Copeland – ACC – 2012
Assist with public area and street improvements as part of the construction of the student housing development at 601 S. Copeland Street
An artist’s rendering of The Onyx, a residential-retail complex now under construction on the corner of College Avenue and Macomb Street.
The Onyx/444 College Avenue Development – 2014
Assistance with public area improvements, public parking and retail elements as part of the construction of a mixed-use student residential development at 444 College Avenue
CRA committment: $1,606,780