Where We Live

Zones.jpg

  The county is divided into four zones according to the Leon County Property Appraiser's Office

The North & South zones split approximately along Pensacola Street and the East & West zones along Meridian Rd

Real Estate Zones are:

1=NE

2=NW

3=SE

4=SW


Like Topsy, Tallahassee just keeps growing. But not necessarily in every direction.

From a truly small town of only 10,700 residents in 1930, Florida's capital city has jumped in population some 15 times over the past seven decades.

And where are all those new faces finding a place to live? Everywhere! We have a very tight supply and a strong market. A lot of homes are coming and going in a few hours to just a few days. A lot of people are even looking in the outlying counties.

Even though housing sales are strong throughout Leon County and neighboring Wakulla County is bursting with new construction, listings and sales continue to show the greatest activity in the NE quadrant. But that's not a very good picture of what's going on, because what we call the NE runs all the way from Meridian Road to Apalachee Highway. And a piece of the pie that big includes many different areas.

Lumping such widely separated neighborhoods as Golden Eagle with Buck Lake Estates can be deceptive. The greatest number of new homes in eastern Leon County are going up be-tween Miccosukee Road and Highway 27S. SouthWood, in the far SE quadrant, is showing the potential for equal growth.

At the same time, we're seeing fantastic activity in more established areas such as Wav-erly and Betton Hills. Remodeled older homes have become hot items throughout the area that real-estate people call midtown.

The more upscale homes might be in the NE, but so are the higher land costs. Student housing in the NW is causing problems for some residents. SouthWood and other eastern Leon County developments will add to the need for more roads to move people in and out of town. The South Side in general struggles for respect as elected officials and planners try to find its niche for sharing in the city's growth.

As a guide to each section's prospects and promise, consider the following assessments:


Northeast-Zone 1

As a famous tennis player liked to say, 'Image is everything.' And the Northeast image of better schools, more prestigious neighborhoods and fashionable shopping centers makes it first choice for most homebuyers. Betton Hills, in particular, appeals to the established set. Killearn Estates, considered too far out in the country when it was developed some 25 years ago, continues to attract upward strivers. Rose Hill, High Grove, Ox Bottom Manor and other upscale neighborhoods have become the favorite haunts of white-collar professionals drawn to the city's universities, medical facilities and law offices. First-time buyers look to Eastgate, Arbor Hills and a whole raft of townhouse and carriage home clusters.

While a handful of new developments with such names as Meridian Oaks and Oak Grove Plantation open along Meridian Road, builders continue to tout the advantages of such good-school locations to the east of town as Swift Creek Woods and Goose Creek. Despite what some contractors call 'a real shortage of good land for development', they somehow manage to keep putting up new homes.

Highlights: Dorothy Oven Park for weddings and receptions; Lafayette Park for in-town arts and crafts; Goodwood for a real antebellum mansion and gardens; Lake Ella for a great place to walk and watch ducks; Governors Square for double-decker mall shopping; the Northeast Capital Circle fly-over for a nice view of Interstate-10 if nothing else.

Recent additions: Super WalMart, anchor for Bull Run, a 427-acre mega-complex off Thomasville Road of 745 proposed residential units, along with more than 300,000 square feet of commercial and office space. An all-new Tallahassee Community Hospital, renamed Tallahassee Re-gional Medical Center. Summit East office complex on 117 acres facing Interstate 10. Welaunee Plantation, a proposed residential, commercial and office component on 2,450 acres between Miccosukee and Centerville Roads. Plus the addition of Target and various business off N. Thomasville Rd, in the Bradfordville area.

Key road improvements: Park Ave., realigned and widened to four lane from Magnolia Drive to Capital Circle SE; Blair Stone Road extension, which now connects Capital Circle SE to Capi-tal Circle NE'and all points in-between, a great addition; Welaunee Blvd., new 4-lane road from Capital Circle NE to Fleischmann Road, by 2006+; Mahan Drive four-laned from Capital Circle E to Interstate 10


Northwest-Zone 2

A quieter, less traffic-intense section of middle-class neighborhoods and dormitory-style apartment complexes punctuated by a few upscale outposts, the northwest corridor remains popular with university students looking for off-campus housing. Squeezed between Lake Jackson and the Ochlockonee River, it's just about run out of room for residential growth. Tower Oaks with its cul-de-sac streets and starter-home prices is one of the few new subdivisions.

Closer to the FSU campus, once gentrified neighborhoods like Mission Hills and San Luis Ridge are struggling to retain their family character as students move in. Gov. Bush's deci-sion to ax a $400,000 road widening of two-lane Northwest Capital Circle was a blow to com-mercial development. Lake Jackson remains almost a puddle of its former self, pulling the plug on several waterfront neighborhoods.

On the upside, homebuyers can usually get more for their money than in the Northeast. They also have an easier drive to downtown jobs, with a number of roads that penetrate the I-10 barrier. Neighborhoods such as Huntington Woods and Lakeshore Estates are as upscale as any.

Highlights: Commonwealth Centre, the city's top industrial park with more than 40 business establishments employing about 2,700 people; San Luis Mission, with restored fort, church and other buildings from the site of a 17th-century Spanish mission site; Tallahassee Mall's AMC movie screens. Florida State University's 35,000 students, 5,200 employees including faculty, and 463-acre physical plant

Recent additions: Northwood Center and the newly revamped Northwood Station, with a combined 172,000 square feet of shopping and office space including a top-of-the-line Publix in the old K-Mark building; Hopkins Crossing, opened by Lowe's with 370,000 sq.ft. of commercial and office space; Home Depot, 127,160 sq.ft. home center off Capital Circle Northwest; Refur-bished WalMart, now a Super WalMart

Key road improvements: Mission Road, refigured and widened north from Tallahassee Community College; North Monroe Street, repaved for better access to shopping, restaurants, motels and the Tallahassee Mall. Tharpe Street, four-laned from North Monroe Street to Ocala Road, with further widening to Northwest Capital Circle in the works.


Southeast-Zone 3

Southwood continues to be the engine that draws new life to this sometimes overlooked section of the community whose established neighborhoods around Capital City Country Club are among the city's best. Indian Hills Acres, in particular, appeals to many professionals looking for a less stressful commute to work and retirees who like the relatively modest home prices.

Built along the lines of New Urbanism planning concepts, SouthWood has proven immensely popular with upper-end homebuyers. Carved from several hundred rural acres outside the Capital Circle beltway, it offers such attractions as its own town center, shopping, recreation and top-notch schools including the city's only Catholic High School, John Paul II, and the relo-cated Florida High.

At the other end of the scale, less affluent neighborhoods such as Apalachee Ridge, fallen on hard times since its 1950s origins, hopes to recapture the past through a cooperative effort with city and county officials as part of what they call the Southern Strategy Area. Not only are residents learning about government programs to refurbish their mostly modest homes, but they've also added a neighborhood computer center with classes in high-tech skills.

Highlights: Dramatic residential growth in the rural farmlands of eastern Leon County, overlap-ping into the northeast quadrant around Chaires and out Buck Lake Road. Indian Head Acres, funky and affordable, where mostly 1950s-era homes draw residents to its close-in location, winding streets and woodsy stream. State of Florida Satellite Office Complex, engine for major high-tech initiatives in nearby SouthWood and along I-10 at the Mahan Drive exit. North Florida Fair, home of a 19-county fair each November as well as a regular trade, auto and food shows.

New additions: Capital Circle Office Center, looking to add 100,000 sq.ft. to existing 1.16 mil-lion sq.ft. of state government office space. Southwood, project in progress, a multi-use complex on 1,859 acres that expects 2,270 residential units, 317,000 sq.ft. of commercial and 700,000 sq.ft. of office space by build-out in 2015.

Key road improvements: Orange Avenue, widened to four lanes from South Monroe Street to Blairstone Road, then extended four lanes to Southeast Capital Circle; Capital Circle Southeast, widened to six lanes as far as Apalachee Parkway.


Southwest-Zone 4

Student apartments continue to flourish in this area, long known as home to the city's sewer plants, airport, sand mines, county jail and spray fields. But there's nothing like the townhouses built for students around Tallahassee Community College and northwest of the two universities.

The area does boast of such outdoor delights as Leon Sinks, Seminole Golf Course, Messer Park's public athletic fields (including a skateboard park) and the Lake Bradford chain of lakes. It's a mixed bag definitely in need of more than just fine tuning, just about everyone agrees. So far, they can't agree on how to get started.

Highlights: Innovation Research Park, a 238-acre university-related research park including the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and joint FSU/FAMU school of Engineering. Talla-hassee Museum of History and Natural Science, with its natural-habitat zoo, restored 1880s farm, antebellum home and schedule of special events. Tallahassee Regional Airport, improving in service and carriers but still pricey compared to other state airports. Tallahassee Community College, with almost 12,000 students in more than two dozen major subjects. Florida A&M University, one of the nation's pre-eminent historically black institutions of higher learning with highly acclaimed programs in business, pharmacy and architecture among others.

New additions: Airport Commerce Center, a 189,000 sq.ft. addition across from the Tallahassee Regional Airport with plans to add light industrial.

Key road improvements: Gaines Street, widening to four lanes as a major thoroughfare between the two universities; Crawfordville Road, four-laned to Wakulla Springs as a throughway to the Gulf; Pensacola Street, reconfigured around Doak Campbell Stadium in a dramatic shift of traffic patterns west from the FSU campus. Jackson Bluff Road extension, straightening out the main route from downtown to the airport.

Sources: Andy Lindstrom of the Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee-Leon County Planning De-partment, University of Florida Bureau of Economic & Business Research, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Association of Realtors, Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau.

**All information deemed accurate but not guaranteed 

Bill Lord
Bill Lord
Realtor