Pensacola residents give input on proposed downtown changes

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. 

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Kenmore Square may never be the same.

A developer is proposing to build a major hotel and plaza in the heart of the square that would dramatically change the way vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles move through the congested intersection.

Robert Korff, who owns the Citizens Bank building at the junction of Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street, unveiled the bold plan Tuesday night at a community meeting.

Drawings show a flatiron-shaped tower — designed by prominent Chicago architecture firm Studio Gang — soaring nearly 300 feet above the square, with a spacious plaza at its base that replaces what is now largely asphalt. Most significantly, Korff wants to cut a new street behind the hotel that would connect Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street and allow much of the traffic that now passes through the five-way intersection to be diverted around it.

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