Coral Springs has discarded its original plan for a $4.5 million 350-spot parking garage in the downtown area and will instead build a 600-spot facility, with 350 spots reserved for city staff and the rest for the public.
The proposed four-story garage will cost 8.1 million, but the city’s financial burden will not increase. According to the agreement worked out between the city, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Amera, the city’s master developer for the area, the city will pay back $4.5 million while the CRA will pay back the rest.
Amera will pay the interest on the remaining $3.6 million, the estimated cost for building the additional 250 parking spots, until the CRA generates enough revenue from new development in the area to repay the loan. Amera will have to submit a final site plan for development of the area adjacent to the city hall site before the city issues a certificate of occupancy for the garage.
The City Commission had discussed the issue on March 18 and tabled it because it wanted time to study the proposal in detail and seek public input. At their meeting last week, officials voted 4-1 in favor of the larger facility, with Mayor Skip Campbell the only dissenting vote.
The city will borrow the $8.1 million sometime in the fall and provide the funds necessary to build the garage to the CRA. “The city would bid and award one contract for the construction of the city hall and the garage,” said Deputy City Manager Jennifer Bramley. “It is very important that we have one contractor on site when we go under construction. The larger garage will ensure the viability of our downtown.”
Commissioner Joy Carter said most of the people she had talked to had expressed support for building the larger facility.”This is a huge decision. I was not thrilled with the cost and now it is even more. I only had access to 397 people and I reached out to them twice. Fifty three said ‘do it’ and four of them said ‘don’t.’ I have to go with the majority.”
Many people choose to stay away from events in the downtown area due to lack of enough parking, said Vice Mayor Larry Vignola. “We were able to talk to professionals’; everyone says going a little bigger makes sense. The fact that Amera is going ahead and kicking in that extra money makes a lot of sense for us fiscally. If we are going to go ahead and do this, we should do it right.”
The city’s plans for its downtown area includes a new municipal complex, the parking garage, an ArtWalk, and private development. Amera has plans to tie up with another developer to build new homes and retail shops. A hotel and a luxury movie theater are also part of the private developer’s plans.
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