Centre of Tallahassee

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Centre of Tallahassee
Looking from Belk towards AMC.
Location Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Opening date 1971 (as Tallahassee Mall); 2016 (as Centre of Tallahassee)
Developer Cafaro Company[1]
Management Blackwater Resources LLC
No. of stores and services 93
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 747,000 square feet (69,400 m2)
No. of floors 1 (2 in AMC and Belk wing)
Parking 10,230
Website Centre of Tallahassee
The former Dillard's wing in Tallahassee Mall in Tallahassee, Florida in 2011. The former big box store is now being refitted as a home for a branch campus of a local charter school.

The Centre of Tallahassee, formerly Tallahassee Mall, is a local semi-enclosed shopping center and entertainment venue (formerly a fully enclosed regional shopping mall) located at the intersection of North Monroe Street and John Knox Road in Tallahassee, Florida. Since the official close of the faltering Northwood Mall in 1986 (and subsequent repurposing as a strip mall-styled office complex), The Tallahassee Mall became the older of two surviving enclosed malls in the Tallahassee area, the other being Governor's Square.

The Centre's present anchor stores include AMC Theatres, Belk, Burlington Coat Factory, and Ross Dress For Less within several big box stores including Barnes & Noble and Guitar Center as well as Victoria's Secret and GNC, all of which are carryovers from its previous incarnation as the Tallahassee Mall. Other stores that operated in the mall such as Sam Goody have closed their doors between the initial close of the Tallahassee Mall and its renewal as the Centre of Tallahassee.


Tallahassee Mall opened in 1971 with three anchor stores: Woolco, Gayfers and Montgomery Ward; other major tenants included McCrory Stores and Walgreens.[2] Woolco was closed in 1983 and replaced with Zayre. Seven years later, this anchor became Ames when the Zayre chain was acquired.[3]

A new wing was added behind Montgomery Ward in 1992. This new wing ended in a fourth anchor store, Parisian.[4] As a result of this wing opening, the Montgomery Ward store was bisected by a new mall concourse to connect the new wing to the existing mall. Development was also to have included Kmart moving into the former Ames space, plus the addition of Mervyns.[5] Afterward, then-manager Tom Strauss was fired by the mall's owners, Westinghouse, and the mall's management was sold to Edward J. DeBartolo coroporation. In 1995, a local group took over from DeBartolo.[6]

Despite the opening of Service Merchandise and the first Tallahassee-area Goody's Family Clothing store in the former Ames in 1995,[7] mall occupancy had decreased to forty-five percent by June of that year.[4]

A twenty-screen movie theater owned by AMC Theatres was added to the Parisian wing in 1996.[8] Gayfers was acquired by Dillard's in 1998, followed by the closure of two more anchors: Service Merchandise in 1999 and Montgomery Ward in 2000. Jones Lang LaSalle acquired the mall and then began renovations on it. The former was split between Ross Dress for Less and Shoe Carnival,[4] while the latter became Burlington Coat Factory and other stores. Several new big box stores were added, including Oshman's, Barnes & Noble and Guitar Center.

Feldman Mall Properties acquired the mall from Jones Lang LaSalle in 2005.[9] Belk acquired the Parisian chain in 2007 and re-branded the Tallahassee Mall store as Belk, while Dillard's announced its closure in early 2008.[10] The mall was foreclosed on in January 2011.[11] Later in the same month, a real estate company based in Miami bought its ground lease for $100. It was then announced that the mall was not expected to close,[12] in spite of its increasingly common reputation as a dead mall.[13]

Renovation as The Centre of Tallahassee[edit]

Renovations on the mall began in September 2014, including a planned demolition of the former Dillard's space, prior to a change of plans that resulted in the continued presence of the big box store so that it could be refitted. At the time renovation began, only 12 stores were open.[14] At the same time, the mall was renamed Centre of Tallahassee.[15] The Centre (formerly mall) was refitted so that a number of its former hallways would resemble the roads and paths of a town square in a traditional Swiss or Austrian burg, including cobbled walkways suitable for both slow-moving automotives and pedestrian foot traffic. Beginning with a liquor bar built into the AMC movie theater, a number of new establishments have found a home in the newly refurbished Centre of Tallahassee, including Urban Food Market, an organic food grocery store, wine bar, and deli, plus a branch campus of the popular Tallahassee charter middle school School of Arts and Sciences (locally known as SAS) soon slated to be located in the Centre of Tallahassee's former Dillard's anchor wing, and an outdoor amphitheater intended for public local concerts. As of 2016, popular and notable music artists such as Steve Miller Band, Dashboard Confessional, Coolio, and Alice Cooper were booked and played successful live shows at the venue, drawing in a respectably sized audience from the Leon County and surrounding areas. In 2017, the Centre of Tallahassee followed up on this success by booking Willie Nelson and blink 182 to play at the venue. Also in 2016, Belk and AMC planned renovations as the mall transformed into the Centre of Tallahassee.

In addition to Ross Dress For Less, Barnes and Noble, Guitar Center, and Burlington Coat factory, other remaining staples of the former Tallahassee Mall in the new Centre of Tallahassee include: Tara's, a hobbyist strategy board game store; Stone Age, a New Age paraphernalia store; and GameScape, a Desktop Computer-based video game arcade and comic book store. All of these stores have remained consistently popular attractions with local clientele during the initial decline of the former Tallahassee Mall and its carefully directed transition into the Centre of Tallahassee. More recently, an upscale hotel-style apartment complex has been planned by the developers to complement and accompany the newly refurbished Centre of Tallahassee. [16] However, some businesses that have occupied space in both the Tallahassee Mall and Centre of Tallahassee iterations of the shopping center may soon be forced to leave to make way for new office space.[17]

While the renovation project has been criticized by some Tallahassee locals as a white elephant, the developers hope that the presence of a school as well as a number of new restaurants (including Lemongrass, a Southeast Asian cuisine restaurant, and craft beer bar and a planned brewery plus the first expansion of the Dreamland Bar-B-Que chain into Florida) and entertainment venues (including a seasonal ice skating rink) will allow the new Centre of Tallahassee to thrive as a commercial success. Alex Baker, one of the main developers of the renovation project, died in 2017[18], although the project of reviving the former mall as the Centre of Tallahassee continues.

Prospective Non-Retail Tenants[edit]

In addition to a charter school, two Public sector agencies, the Florida Department of State and the Florida Department of Children and Families, have put in a bid for office space at the Centre of Tallahassee, in the latter case to replace office space previously leased from the Northwood Centre (former Northwood Mall). The Florida Department of Children and Families' lease has been confirmed to take place within a timespan of 2018-2019.[19] The Tallahassee Democrat has interpreted these bids as a sign that the developers’ plan for the Centre has been dropped or shifted gears since Alex Baker’s death.[20]

Locally, the prospect of these agencies moving into the Centre of Tallahassee has proven controversial. This is in part due to the precedent established by state government offices previously housed in the Northwood Centre.[21] Additionally, store owners based in the Centre, including the owners of longtime staples of the Centre of Tallahassee such as Stone Age and gamescape, have been advised to relocate to make way for possible office space leased by these agencies. [22]


  1. ^ http://businessjournaldaily.com/cafaro-brothers-retire-effective-jan-1-2009-12-15[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Florida". Chain Store Age. Lehbar-Friedman. 1971.
  3. ^ "Feldmans Days are numbered with the Tallahassee Mall". Urban Tallahassee. 4 December 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Tallahassee Mall - Jones Lang LaSalle Retail". Jones Lang LaSalle. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  5. ^ Schneyer, Fred A. (July 15, 1992). "Tallahassee+mall"+"kmart" "Strauss' mall goal: fill 'er up". Tallahassee Democrat. pp. 1D, 3D. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Tallahassee+mall"+"strauss" "Tallahassee Mall sale finalized". Tallahassee Democrat. June 28, 1995. p. 7D. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  7. ^ Schneyer, Fred A. (1995-01-11). "OUTLOOK '95: Tallahassee, Fla., Retailers Ring Up Healthy Sales". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  8. ^ "Compass Retail, Inc. Managed Properties". The Partnership.com. Retrieved 2007-12-05.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Feldman Mall Properties Purchases Major Lease at Tallahassee Mall". Business Wire. 2005-12-28. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  10. ^ "Dillard's to Close Another Store, But Says Openings Outpace Closings". Arkansas Business.com. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  11. ^ "Tallahassee Mall for Sale". WCTV. 6 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  12. ^ Portman, Jennifer (26 January 2011). "Tallahassee Mall lease bought by Miami-based company". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  13. ^ http://deadmalls.com/malls/tallahassee_mall.html
  14. ^ Andy Alcock. "Tallahassee Mall Reconstruction Beginning". Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Progress continues at Centre of Tallahassee mall". Tallahassee Democrat. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  16. ^ http://www.tallahassee.com/story/money/2016/12/07/posh-apartments-planned-centre-tallahassee/95001268/
  17. ^ http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/Businesses-pushed-out-as-state-agency-leases-space-at-the-Centre-of-Tallahassee-488761541.html
  18. ^ http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/05/16/centre-tallahassee-mall-developer-dies/101747676/
  19. ^ http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/Businesses-pushed-out-as-state-agency-leases-space-at-the-Centre-of-Tallahassee-488761541.html
  20. ^ "DCF, Department of State may move to Centre of Tallahassee mall". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  21. ^ https://www.tallahassee.com/story/opinion/2018/07/01/state-employees-death-knell-mall-opinion/746935002/
  22. ^ http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/Businesses-pushed-out-as-state-agency-leases-space-at-the-Centre-of-Tallahassee-488761541.html

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°28′34″N 84°17′24″W / 30.476°N 84.290°W / 30.476; -84.290