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Handshake deal would provide public parking for condo dwellers
Downtown parking deck to be expanded, spaces offered for tenants
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Residents at The Parkside on the Square condos and retail development coming to Gainesville won’t be required to pay for reserved tenant parking at the public downtown parking deck because of a handshake deal done years ago, city officials say.

To accommodate increased demand for parking that the Parkside project is expected to generate downtown, Gainesville plans to expand the public parking deck by adding two floors.

When Parkside developer Tim Knight purchased the downtown property from the Carter family, the deal came with assurances that any project built on that location could use spaces on the parking deck, Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey told The Times.

“That’s just an agreement that I’ve honored since I’ve been here,” Lackey said. “It got handed down to me. That was the agreement.”

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said the verbal agreement predates his time on the council.

“It was a sales agreement,” Dunagan said. “There was a handshake, and back then people honored handshakes, which they don’t do too much today.”

Dunagan said the lot was sold to the Carter family, who in turn sold the property to Knight.

City officials expect funds from its downtown tax allocation district, which takes in the Parkside project and a 60,000 square-foot development of retail and office space by Carroll Daniel Construction, to help pay for the parking deck expansion.

“When the tax allocation district downtown was established, the tax value of the properties were set at a threshold, and anything above that in future years would go into a special fund that the city could use for infrastructure projects around town,” Lackey said.

Councilman George Wangemann, who has been in office since 1986, said he vaguely recalls the verbal agreement on the property where Parkside on the Square will be developed.

“As I remember, there was never any guarantees,” Wangemann said. “I believe council expressed a willingness to address parking for any development on that property.”

However, when the time comes for the city to do the parking deck expansion, Wangemann said it would not be unreasonable for city council to ask Knight to pay an impact fee.

“They would be impacted most by (the parking deck),” Wangemann said.

On Nov. 3, the city closed the deadline period for accepting applications to pre-qualify contractors for the deck project. The city received six applications.

At the time, Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard said it’s possible bids might be received as early as December, and the city could issue a notice to proceed on the parking deck project by February.