Less than a month before the city’s newest parking garage is set to open on Palm Avenue, city commissioners may commit to building another downtown parking structure.
The commission is expected to vote Dec. 6, on a change to the Pineapple Square development agreement that would hand control of the State Street parking lot back to the city and require the city to build a parking garage on that site within four years.
Under the original agreement, the city is obligated to build a garage with 350 spaces at a cost of $21,715 per space, or about $7.6 million. In the new agreement, the city would build a 300-space garage. 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, the total cost of a State Street garage would be about $5 million.
The original agreement required the city to make periodic deposits of cash to fund it. More than $4 million was already reserved, and the city would have provided $7 million in total.
Under the new agreement, the deposited money would be released back to the city.
With the change, Pineapple Square would receive flexibility to respond to market demands and economic realities. For example, developer John Simon said he’s receiving interest from major hotel chains on being part of Pineapple Square, which currently has a rigid plan in which it is required to build 157 condos with approximately 85,000 square feet of retail space at its phase two site at Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue.
Simon wants the ability to change the configuration of phase two to possibly include a hotel and increase or decrease the number of condos and amount of commercial space.
Another part of the agreement is that Simon would be able to seek those changes through City Hall administration only and could avoid public workshops and Development Review Committee, Planning Board and City Commission meetings.
Both the Planning Board and the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board voted to approve the agreement on the condition the city not be required to build the garage in four years.
The commission will decide Dec. 6 whether it wants to agree to that obligation.
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