Welcome to Tallahassee
For decades, Tallahassee harbored a reputation as a charming city, but in 2020, it's quickly becoming one of the hottest places to live and work in Florida.
Back in 1989, community planners realized that if there wasn’t a purposeful plan in place, Tallahassee would end up a sprawling hodge-podge of suburbs surviving only on state government. Equally concerning was that the city’s sense of place — it’s magnificent live oaks, pristine lakes, and greenways — would disappear.
Tallahasseans agreed at the ballot box, approving a penny sales tax, the first of three city sales tax initiatives to strategically invest in infrastructure and economic and quality of life projects to enhance the city’s appeal. The latest initiative, starting in 2020, will invest $1.1 billion in projects over the next 20 years.
The Fastest Growing Economy per Capita in Florida
Those early efforts are paying off with economic opportunities growing daily. The Greater Tallahassee area has the fastest growing economy per capita in Florida according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The growth rate is twice that of the state and nearly three times that of the country. Signs of progress can be seen all over town. Private development, a driving force strengthening and diversifying the local economy, is thriving in the city and signals a positive outlook for the next couple of years.
“The beauty of Tallahassee is that it’s a young town with a lot of interconnectivity where someone can come in and make an impact right away,” says Mark O’Bryant, CEO of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
Scattered throughout Tallahassee are hundreds of development projects to increase housing options for residents. Balancing development with neighborhood preservation and the implementation of an Urban Forest Master Plan will continue to be a priority. “The increasing economic vitality of Tallahassee-Leon County speaks to the impact of our good initiatives and bodes very well for our future economic health,” says Ben Pingree, director of Tallahassee- Leon County Department of Planning, Land Management and Community Enhancement (PLACE).
As the “Magnetic Capital of the World,” Tallahassee’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory continues to attract elite researchers and scientists and, in turn, laboratories and corporations keen on using the cutting edge research to innovate. Manufacturing is thriving and projected to grow steadily through 2022, employing degreed and skilled labor across a variety of disciplines. Establishments such as Danfoss Turbocor, Coastal Forest Resources, General Dynamics Land Systems, St. Marks Powder, BASF Corporation, and Chromalloy Component Services represent a variety of manufacturing sub-sectors as the region supplies wood, printing and graphics, food, chemical, mineral, metal, machinery, computer, and other products to the rest of the U.S. and the world.
A dynamic gov-tech community has sprung up. “Tallahassee has a lot of software and IT solutions providers specifically serving government agencies,” says Lester Hutt, director of recruiting and community outreach at Diverse Computing, “but what makes this area so interesting is that communication networks are forming among the different silos including the community, universities, government, and private companies. We aren’t competing against each other but growing together in a collaborative ecosystem.”
Graduates from the area’s top-ranked programs at Florida State University and Florida A&M University are staying because of programs that cultivate budding entrepreneurs. “Our city is a story of solid growth that’s led by a community investment focused on building a robust and balanced physical infrastructure for the future,” says Steve Evans, chairman of the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality’s Economic Vitality Leadership Council.