Temple Ligon Temple@TheColumbiaStar.com
Claussen’s Inn partner Dr. John Bryan, who recently retired as a professor of art and architectural history at USC, welcomed a full house at a Martin Luther King Park meeting hall Monday night, November 26. The gathered group of nearby merchants and property owners came to see Bryan’s ideas on new parking for Five Points.
Standing with Bryan were real estate professionals Lee Marsha and William Durham of the William Durham Company.
After Bryan’s welcome speech, Marsha and Durham discussed the details of the location, the design, and the development of a three- level, 300- space parking garage behind Claussen’s Inn, next to the railroad tracks, and bounded by College Street.
As Marsha and Durham put it, the 100 parking spaces on the ground are to stay. The city either agrees to a ground lease, gaining the air rights for its two levels of parking above the existing groundlevel parking, or the city buys the land but either way leaves the ground- level parking for its current use. Each level accommodates about 100 parking spaces, so the existing ground level and the two new elevated levels can come to a total of 300 spaces, 100 existing and 200 new.
Based on the city’s construction cost of a new 650- space garage on Lincoln Street, where the successful bid on October 12 was $9,849,000 or less than $15,000 per space, the 200 new spaces can also be built for $15,000 per space, or $3,000,000.
The land can be bought for a negotiated amount, probably between $1and1.2 million, according to Durham. Or the air rights deal, the ground lease, can be consummated for maybe $10,000 a month, again according to Durham.
With a three- level garage on purchased land, the city gains 200 new spaces for $4,200,000, which means each new space costs about $21,000 in land and construction, with the city acting as its own developer and construction manager.
The alternative to the $21,000 per space proposal, as presented by Bryan and Durham and Marsha, is a maximum of 200 above- ground spaces at the corner of Blossom and Saluda, the old Kinney’s property, where the city has reportedly expressed intentions to cover a $6 million payment to the developers for 200 elevated garage parking spaces. The city spaces boost the height of the Kenny’s site project by two levels, which top off the project at about five- and- a- half floors: high-ceilinged ground level retail, two levels of parking, and two levels of housing with its own parking.
The Kinney’s site was identified in a resolution passed by city council on March 7, 2007, and signed by the mayor, the city manager, the city attorney, and the city clerk. In other words, the developers of the Kinney’s site and its 200 parking spaces appear to have come together with the city in a done deal.
There’s something magical and immutable about the city’s $6 million payment, according to discussions among the Monday night audience, and the Kinney’s site developers reportedly won’t proceed without it.
City council member Kirkman Finlay III spoke a month ago about the Kinney’s site project, and he warned the city parking may have to come in less than 200 spaces due to site problems. But under the assumption all 200 garage spaces can be delivered at the Kinney’s site, the parking gained by the city is actually 125 since there were 75 public parking spaces on the ground before demolition began.
New public parking spaces at the Kenny’s site, then,
come to 125, and with the same $6 million payment, that’s $48,000 per new space.