When City Council members meet next week to decide where to build the planned downtown parking deck, they’ll have plenty of information about the three possible locations.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan and a committee of hired consultants and city staff this week presented council members with a 143-page study that includes details about each of the proposed sites and a final recommendation on where to build the deck.
After weighing the pros and cons which include nearly two dozen site selection criteria, the group recommended locating the structure on the “Theater site,” located at the southeast corner of the Walton Arts Center campus at Spring Street and School Avenue.
According to the study, a five-level, 246-space deck at the Theater site would cost $6.37 million and would include liner buildings on the ground level of the structure.
The Porter building and Grub’s restaurant building would not be demolished, but the Walton Arts Center’s administration building would be removed, along with a 28-space arts center employee parking lot.
The two other proposed sites are the “WAC lot,” located at the south end of the main parking lot west of the Walton Arts Center, and the “East lot,” located by Kingfish bar on School Avenue.
According to Tuesday’s report, A 339-space deck on the WAC lot would cost $6.38 million. A 293-space deck on the East lot would cost $6.29 million.
Several key factors played into the committee’s final recommendation including the amount of parking spaces lost during construction. A loss of parking means a loss of paid parking fees both for the lost spaces in the construction zone and for whatever spaces are used in a nearby lot for construction staging.
By building a deck on the WAC lot, officials expect to lose $199,000 during construction. The East lot, staff estimates, will result in a loss of $134,500.
A significant loss in fees could require city staff to completely restructure the financing plan for the deck since paid parking revenue is what will cover up to $6.5 million in bonds set to soon be issued for the project. According to Paul Becker, the city’s finance director, a restructuring of the bonds would delay the project even further and could result in the city losing out on record-low interest rates.
“If we stay with the theater site, that would be, financially, the easiest for us to accommodate,” said Becker.
Aldermen will consider each site during the Dec. 4 City Council meeting.
Location: Southeast corner of the Walton Arts Center campus at Spring Street and School Avenue
Size: Five levels, 246 spaces/218 net gain
Cost: $6.37 million
- The terrain makes the presence of the structure less dominant than East lot
- Least loss of revenue and parking spaces during construction
- Requires relocating Walton Arts Center administration building, but once rebuilt, it could buffer the view of the parking deck from the north
Location: Southern portion of the main Walton Arts Center parking lot at West Avenue
Size: Five levels, 339 spaces/242 net gain
Cost: $6.38 million
- Leaves room for future liner buildings on the south side
- Substantial loss of revenue and parking spaces during construction
- Loss of the only remaining large tract of land in the downtown Dickson Street area for future municipal purposes/developments
Location: Existing parking lot by Kingfish bar on School Avenue
Size: Four levels, 293 spaces/233 net gain
Cost: $6.29 million
- Lack of compatibility with the adjacent residential properties
- Moderate loss of revenue and parking spaces during construction
- Procurement of two residential structures and one commercial business along Spring Street
|Overall size of parking deck||246 spaces||339 spaces||293 spaces|
|Net Gain||218 spaces||242 spaces||233 spaces|
|Spaces/revenue lost during
construction and staging
|Comparable cost per space||$15,703*||$13,251||$13,019**|
|Total direct cost
(includes liner buildings/screening)
|$6.18 million||$6.18 million||$6.15 million|
|Total indirect costs||$193,700||$199,000||$134,500|
|Total cost||$6.37 million||$6.38 million||$6.29 million|
* Does not include cost to replace Walton Arts Center Administration Building
** Does not include cost to purchase and demolish two properties south of the existing lot
Source: Official site selection study
Selection Criteria Matrix
1 = Least meets selection criteria, 3 = Most meets selection criteria
|Multiple access points on different levels||3||1||3|
|Access onto multiple adjacent streets||3||2||3|
|Avoids impact on school bus parking||3||1||3|
|Efficient use of land as infill, avoids using valuable land for future
large scale development
|Avoids impact on adjacent
|Avoids impact on adjacent commercial properties||3||2||1|
|Avoids reduction of tree canopy||3||3||1|
|Allows future vertical expansion||3||3||3|
|Allows future horizontal expansion||1||3||1|
|Avoids impact on Walton Arts Center expansion/operations||1||2||2|
|Room for liner buildings||3||2||3|
|Positive effect on festivals||3||1||2|
|Good foundation/subsurface conditions||3||1||3|
|Avoids replacement/removal of existing structures||2||3||1|
These following criteria are not included in the matrix because they are equally met for each site:
- Internal circulation efficiency
- Passive and active user safety factors
- Structural system and design efficiency
- Sidewalk and green space area
- Fire safety and truck access
- Avoiding impact on school bus drop off
- Storm water management
- Ability to utilize LEED Building Criteria
Source: Official site selection study