Demolition has begun on the old Turner, Wood & Smith building at 100 Brenau Ave. next to the library in Gainesville.
A new parking deck will go up in its place, providing 400 more spaces for the downtown Gainesville area. The 160,513-square-foot structure will take 18 months to build.
The deck will be jointly funded by Gainesville and Hall County, with the city contributing $4 million and the county paying $5 million. Both will pay for the project with funds from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VIII, a 1% sales tax approved by voters in 2019 that local governments can use for capital expenses and special projects.
“This is something we’ve talked about in the community for quite a while,” Tammy Caudell of Carroll Daniel Construction said in a March Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce meeting. “It’s going to bring additional parking to the north side of the square.”
The city purchased the lot in 2016 for $1.5 million, then leased it back to Turner, Wood and Smith, an insurance company that later moved to another office in Gainesville.
Mayor Danny Dunagan has said officials have long wanted more parking in that area.
“The city really wanted some more parking on that side of town to accommodate the businesses, and also with the new library expansion, the city and the county did a joint venture,” Dunagan said in December.