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City council reviews parking garage designs

Columbia City Council members gave unofficial support last night to one of three proposed designs for a parking garage on Short Street downtown and said they would like to include retail space in the new structure, which could be open by 2013.
If the design council members favored gets final approval, the $9.1 million garage being designed by Walker Parking Consultants would feature a brick facade meant to help it blend in with surrounding architecture. Designers said they plan to preserve the childrens artwork already embedded in the black chain-link fence surrounding the parking lot currently on the site and will include the works in the design of the new garage.

With the planned garage, city leaders hope to accommodate the quickly changing North Village Arts District area. Carrie Gartner, director of the Downtown Community Improvement District, said that over the past year more new businesses have opened in the districts area than in any other part of downtown.

It kind of was moving so fast there that it was hard to keep track of, Gartner said.
walker th_A01_rendering_0901_1_t620.jpgCouncil members had expressed apprehension about including retail space in the new garage after city-managed retail space in the parking garage at Fifth and Walnut streets was slow to fill up. But the Downtown Parking Task Force recommended condominium retail space in the garage that would be developed and managed by an outside entity.

The task force also recommended that Short Street remain a through street.

Last week, the city received two bids to develop retail space at the site of the new parking garage. Boone County Family Resources has proposed to develop office space within the garage, and North Light LLC has proposed to construct an apartment building adjacent to the garage that would contain retail space on the bottom level. Architect Nick Peckham and Robert Grove, co-owner of Grove Construction, are listed as organizers for North Light LLC.

The plan proposed by BCFR would use about 50 parking spaces within the roughly 300-space garage. Tony Grove, Robert Groves son and a co-owner of Grove Construction, said their plan would reduce the size of the garage.

The new garage is expected to accommodate guests at a planned DoubleTree hotel at the current site of the Regency Hotel and a planned apartment building at the corner of Walnut Street and College Avenue.

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said the council will have another work session on the garage Sept. 26 and that the city plans to choose from one of the proposed bids by then.
Walker Parking Consultants
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