The Urban Times has posted a story regarding the possible creation of TIF districts at 2 important projects along Mass Ave. For the purposes of this post, I will focus on the parcel that contains the bulk of the discussion in the article, the northwest 500 block.
A sticking point for any development in this city is parking. In this short paragraph, the article highlights the neighborhood’s desire for additional parking
Parking, in fact, was stressed more than once during the meeting. Fisher said any parking built into the redevelopment of the 500 block must not only meet the needs of the project itself, but also to create “a parking solution for Mass Ave.”
I’ve been to Mass Ave by automobile enough times to know that parking can be slightly difficult. That does not mean it is impossible, or something that needs solving through a cost-prohibitive garage in this particular parcel. Graeme Sharpe from our blog had this to say about the potential for garage on this difficult triangular parcel:
1. You attract a tenant that pays a lease rate high enough to justify the developer putting parking in there. I can’t imagine who this would be, even Circle Center Mall is losing their anchor tenants. If they want to go residential development than the prices will have to throw in an additional $150k per space just for parking, and that’s not very affordable.
2. The developer builds the garage, but it is paid for by the users. This would probably work out to be $30/day for a spot. Can’t see that one penciling out with the accountants either. And if it did, then there is no reason to require it because the free market would start building them.
In other words, the city is handcuffing developers, in an attractive section of town where development should be highly encouraged.
Furthermore, I also wondered about how much surface parking is actually in the Mass Ave Historic district at the moment. After a quick calculation, it turned out that 45.7 percent of the district is actually a surface parking lot! Here is a map of the parking lots:
I’m sure that a decent portion of these lots are private and exclusive to home owners or businesses, but that is more or less offset when you consider this map doesn’t include the amount of on-street parking in the neighborhood. But that’s not all…these are only the parking lots located exactly inside the boundary. Here is what the map looks like if you add a buffer out to 400 feet past the district, which is a reasonable distance for most people to walk. The affected parcel is shown in Blue:
Yet this somehow isn’t enough for us.
There is plenty of parking in the neighborhood. Sometimes people might actually have to pay for their spot, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.