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Within four years, the city will build on the State Street parking lot a garage with at least 300 spaces.
Sarasota Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 4 years ago

City to build second parking garage

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

Through their approval of a new development agreement with Pineapple Square, city commissioners committed the city to build a parking garage on the State Street parking lot within four years.

Pineapple Square developer John Simon sought the changed agreement to allow him the flexibility to build something other than condos, such as a hotel on his property at Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue.

The original agreement only allowed 157 condos and 85,000 square feet of retail space.

Simon also wanted any agreements to the development to be handled by City Hall staff only to avoid the public-hearing process.

In exchange, Pineapple Square would return the State Street parking lot to city control. The new agreement calls for the city to build a parking garage on that site within four years, which the city’s master plan also dictates.

Under the current agreement, the city also is obligated to build a garage with at least 350 spaces at a cost of $21,715 per space, or about $7.6 million.

In the new agreement, the city would build a garage with at least 300 spaces. The price would be determined during the bidding process, but the Palm Avenue garage is being built for about $17,000 per space. At that rate and size, the total cost of a State Street garage would be about $5 million.

But the city had a study completed to show that a four-level garage on State Street could contain 690 spaces. That could cost $11.7 million.

Through the new agreement, the city will get back from Pineapple Square $4.4 million it had set aside for the developer. It ultimately was going to be required to put more than $7 million in that fund. All that money can go toward the new garage.

Some commissioners were uneasy with the idea of being obligated to build the garage within four years, but their belief that Pineapple Square is too important to downtown’s success to deny.

“I think this is a very good project for downtown,” said Commissioner Terry Turner. “It’s a better deal for taxpayers.”

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.
 

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