City Centre parking garage nearing completion
It’s been called iconic. And thanks to its look — which will include public art slated to go up next week — a city official said the new $13.8 million City Centre parking garage downtown is going to play a big role in how the city of Bradenton continues to develop.
Carl Callahan, city administrator, said he thinks this will be the future of how to invigorate a downtown.
“We’re not the same old Bradenton. We’re looking to the future to take care of the needs of a lot of different folks,” Callahan said. “We’re trying to accommodate a lot of folks with this.”
With hundreds of parking spaces, spaces for business and a modern design that includes a balcony overlooking Old Main Street, it’s certainly a new look for the downtown landscape.
The garage’s ground level of parking is open, to accommodate a new hotel along the Manatee River, but city has yet to determine when the rest of the garage will open.
“We’re getting pretty close,” Callahan said.
Officials also don’t want to leave the brand new facility empty for the Fourth of July celebrations downtown, but Callahan said there are things such as liability to consider before making any determinations.
“What we’re making sure is that you can operate the garage safely,” Callahan said.
Their next steps are looking at streetscaping, including sidewalks that connect off the garage’s elevators and stairways and in front of the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce.
Sidewalks, however, have proven to be problematic. City Public Works Director Jim McLellan, said it’s a quality control issue with one of the kinds of concrete.
The city selected a brown concrete and a white concrete to pour next to each other to create a wavy pattern on the sidewalk along Third Avenue West in front of the garage.
There are issues with the brown concrete, which is already partially laid out on the Old Main Street side of City Hall, some of which may have to be pulled up if other proposed remedies don’t do the trick, according to McLellan.
City officials want to make sure the issues with the brown concrete are fixed before pouring more of it.
“Everyone’s working as fast as they can to make this happen,” Callahan said.
The two colors of concrete will be separated by a strip of blue concrete along Old Main Street, that they hope will entice people to the Riverwalk.
The garage is on budget for the project’s $13.8 million price tag, but streetscape work is a separate project with a separate budget, and the sidewalk issues have not impacted that yet, according to Callahan.
With four stories as well as rooftop parking, there are about 500 spaces in the garage.
The 100 spaces on the ground floor are dedicated to the SpringHill Suites hotel. City employees are also using some of the hotel’s spaces to make sure those spots are full during the day.
Before the garage was built, the city used about 150 parking spaces in the lot, but Callahan said they likely won’t need that many spaces as long as they continue to co-park with the hotel during business hours.
That would leave about 300 spaces for rent or paid parking. They have yet to determine a price point for those spots.
Also undetermined is an official use for the second-level balcony space. Callahan said there is electricity there and to the top level of the garage for possible uses that could be developed as interest arises.
There are also five business or retails units that will eventually be available for lease. City council has to decide what type of business they want to see in the spaces first.
Office space for another business, the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, is now clearly marked. President and CEO Jacki Dezelski said they expect to move in during the second week of July.
“We are thrilled with the response that we’ve received from members who have driven by or peeked in the window,” Dezelski said.
The building that housed the Chamber of Commerce since the 1960s was torn down to build the City Centre parking garage. Their new building, which is attached to the parking garage, is in the same place, so their spot at the corner of 10th Street West and Third Avenue West is secured.
As employees move into their new space, the chamber’s temporary office on Manatee Avenue West may have to close for a couple of days, but Dezelski said once they’re in they will immediately open their doors.