The city of Sarasota solicited the public’s input at a meeting Thursday evening into the design of a parking garage on Palm Avenue.
The 2.2-acre site has been the subject of four, separate development proposals over the years, but the city rejected each and instead decided to build its own parking garage on that site.
The garage would have 600 to 700 parking spaces with up to five levels. The ground floor would contain about 14,000 square feet of retail space fronting Palm Avenue.
City planner Steve Stancel said the city had several goals in mind for the garage, including cost efficiency, pleasing aesthetics that blend into the current neighborhood, environmentally friendly design and pedestrian connectivity to Main Street and cultural destinations, such as the opera.
Stancel said the cost is estimated from $10.8 million to $13.2 million. The higher estimate includes LEED environmental certification and building the garage to have the capability to add another level in the future.
The city has not yet decided whether it will sell the retail portion of the project or lease it.
Stancel said if the city leased the retail space, it could bring up to $250,000 in annual income for City Hall. One resident said another benefit would be that the city could ensure a better mix of retail-business types downtown.
The city will request developer proposals later this month, with a response deadline of June or July. A developer will be selected in August. Construction is set to begin in May 2010, with an estimated completion date of October 2010.
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