What We Do

Reimagining Waterworks

Waterworks Aerial View

Years: 2016

Imagine a historic, 3,000 square-foot building nestled between Cascades Park and Downtown lying undeveloped for years – Tallahassee’s Waterworks Building. With a recent focus on redevelopment in this area and enhancing Tallahassee’s cultural offerings, the 2016 Waterworks Catalyst team helped move the timetable forward for activating this space.

Now, a private developer is restoring the Waterworks building as part of a larger mixed-use development project bordering Cascades Park, which is projected to generate more than $350 million in economic output.

How It Worked

The team obtained community feedback, identified funding sources, researched other historical buildings, developed a property Opportunity Assessment of highest and best use options, and worked with city planning staff and elected officials. As a culmination of these efforts, recommendations for the next steps of the building were brought forward to the City Commission on Dec. 14, 2016 where they discussed the future of the Historic Waterworks building.

KCCI’s team was pleased the Commission voted to:

-Initiate a proposed rezoning to include a Historic Preservation Overlay over the Waterworks property and building.

-Establish “Funding for Historical Resources” as a 2017 legislative priority to ensure that the grants recommended are funded.

-Proceed with the architectural assessment in early 2017 to ensure that assessment results are received prior to Legislative grant funding.

-Authorize the issuance of an RFP to sell the Waterworks site subject to the various grant restrictions.

The Commission’s decision meant that the ultimate goal of the Waterworks project is to have an end use that results in a sustainable and economically viable enterprise that complements the surrounding area, including Cascades Park and the Bloxham and Firestone block redevelopment. Regardless of the specific use of the building, the team recommended that there be an educational component highlighting the Waterworks’ history and impact upon Tallahassee’s growth and development.

The team identified $550,000 in State funding that would help preserve the historical building near Cascades Park. May 2017 Governor Rick Scott approved $50,000 of state dollars for the Waterworks project. This State of Florida funding could help improve the building, while keeping it on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Preserving the historical qualities of the building while moving development forward on this site are important to this community,” said Melissa VanSickle, Chair for the 2016 KCCI Waterworks team. “The City Commission’s December vote was the first step in making sure that the historical integrity of this community asset will be preserved no matter how it is redeveloped. It has been a pleasure working with the community, Commissioners and staff to move this project forward to activate this area.”

Check out the video designed by Evolution Media in Spring 2016 that helped raise awareness of the historic building.

The team enjoyed working together with the community to make sure this deserted building becomes a world-class asset for our All American City.

What It Became

In October 2023, the historic Waterworks Building opened as Amicus Brewery, a locally-owned, family-friendly venue. The KCCI Community Catalyst team enjoyed seeing all the historical details and life that was brought into the building as they celebrated their past work with a celebratory beer. Check it out in person by visiting Amicus Brewery at 717 S Gadsden Street at the corner of Gaines Street and near Cascades Park.

Photo by Bob Howard.


Community Catalysts

These are the people who helped make this project possible.

  • Althemese Barnes
  • Amy Bradbury
  • Melissa Franklin
  • Kevin Graham
  • Bob Howard
  • Alissa Lotane
  • Jessica Lowe-Minor
  • Serena Moyle
  • Andi Nelson
  • Carlos Rey
  • Rob Rushin
  • Dorsey Spencer
  • Wayne Spinks
  • Matt Tharpe
  • Melissa VanSickle
  • Alex Workman