Pensacola residents give input on proposed downtown changes

Northwest Florida
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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — More than 100 residents in Pensacola saw plans for major downtown improvements and gave their feedback at a meeting Tuesday night. 

The majority of the proposed development would happen at Community Maritime Park near the Blue Wahoos Stadium and across from it on Main Street. Developers say they need more retail on the west side of downtown and to make it all more walkable. 

“It’s going to be a walk to remember when you come to Pensacola in a few years when we’ve got all this set in the ground,” Rand Hicks said. 

Hicks has lived in Pensacola for more than 60 years. He’s excited about the proposed changes. 

“I think we need development pushing to the west from Palafox and Main and we need to do it in a way that invites all the citizens of Pensacola into it,” Hicks said. 

He and about 150 others attended a community input meeting at the Studer Community Institute building at 220 West Garden Street. 

Studer Properties has teamed with Jeff Speck of Speck and Associates, DPZ Partners and Marina Khoury to improve downtown. 

“The baseball facility is so close to downtown but it feels far away and people are kind of reluctant to walk to it,” Speck said. 

The drawings show more retail, apartments and condos near the stadium and across the street at the former ECUA Wastewater Treatment site. They also plan to make it easier to walk to and from Palafox. 

A market study suggests the area can hold 1,300 apartments, 500 condos and 200,000 square feet of retail space. 

“The challenges of that walk, particularly on Main Street, has a lot of what we planners call missing teeth,” Speck said. “There’s a lot of what should be buildings but are instead parking lots. We walked there at night and as some residents told us it’s dark and doesn’t feel safe.”

There will be another community input meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at the SCI building and they will continue to change their plans based on what they hear. They hope to have the full master plan complete by the middle of the summer. 

For more information, visit Studer Properties website.  

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