Gainesville officials are planning to close the downtown square parking deck for renovations between late September and late November, and they hope to have it reopened prior to the Jingle Mingle holiday event.
Two new levels are being added to the four-story deck to accommodate growth downtown, including a planned $20 million condominium development.
City Manager Bryan Lackey told The Times on Thursday, April 26, that officials hope to keep construction on the parking deck limited to 60 days.
This timeframe means spring and summer events, like farmers markets and concerts on the square, will not be impacted by the deck closure.
But Brenau University students attending class at the Brenau Downtown Center and visitors to the annual Mule Camp Market event will be left to adjust to the significant loss of parking on the square when fall arrives.
Lackey said city officials are already working with the Gainesville Jaycees nonprofit, which sponsors the annual street fair, to limit the impact on Mule Camp.
Gainesville City Council earlier this year approved about $4.5 million in public financing for several new mixed-use retail and residential developments and renovations planned for the downtown square and West Academy Street perimeter — including funds to expand the downtown parking deck.
Gainesville has two tax allocation districts — the midtown area and Lakeshore Mall — wherein increments in property taxes resulting from new growth are reinvested in properties.
According to city staff reports, the TAD increment generated from Carroll Daniel Construction’s new headquarters near the square “will be utilized to pay the debt service (on the parking deck expansion) until a total of $1,500,472 has been accumulated.”
Carroll Daniel, which is receiving about $500,000 in tax allocation district financing to construct its new headquarters along Main Street, was the low bidder for the parking deck expansion project.
“Because the TAD increment is a major component of how we plan to fund the deck expansion, we have to make sure that the creation of that increment has been initiated prior to us committing to the deck costs,” Lackey said earlier this year.