The city wants to add more public parking in the downtown warehouse district by partnering with developers, and has been negotiating with Kane Realty to acquire spaces in a deck the developer hopes to build there.
With big projects on the horizon – such as Union Station and the $150 million project Kane wants to build – the city stands to lose as many as 333 parking spots in the district.
The Raleigh City Council has been negotiating with Kane about acquiring spaces in the seven-story parking deck he plans to build on 2.5 acres between south West Street and south Harrington Street.
The Raleigh development company, which rebuilt North Hills, needs the deck to accommodate visitors to its proposed residential complex and 18-story commercial tower, which would be the tallest in the district.
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The city council on Tuesday took another step in seeking warehouse district parking by authorizing staff to solicit offers from developers who might be able to expand public parking in the area by building it or renting it to the city.
Interested parties have until 2 p.m. on July 31 to submit plans showing how they might provide at least 250 parking spaces for public use by September 2017.
“Bottom line, we need as many (spaces) as we can get,” Councilman Eugene Weeks said.
Council members and city officials said their request for partnership offers has nothing to do with their talks with Kane Realty or the company’s pending request to build in the district.
Jim Greene, an assistant city manager, said the timing of it all is coincidental. City staff has been seeking new parking opportunities for at least six months at the behest of warehouse district residents and business owners, he said.
Those efforts included talks with other developers and business owners, in addition to Kane, Greene said.
“It would be irresponsible for us not to do our due diligence,” he said.
Councilwoman Kay Crowder said parking negotiations will have no bearing on the future of Kane’s development proposal, which she has opposed so far. Crowder said she considers parking and development separate issues.
“If everything lines up, that would be wonderful,” she said of a parking deal with Kane. “If not, that doesn’t mean he can’t build.”
John Kane, the company’s CEO, said in an email that his company plans to participate in the city’s request for offers.
“The City has been excellent to work with,” he wrote in an email.
Kane’s project could potentially transform the district prompt a new phase of high-density development outside of the Fayetteville Street corridor. But the company wants to preserve the character of the district by incorporating the old 67,000-square-foot warehouse on site into its tower plan.
Development in the area stayed stagnant for many years but is now home to several popular restaurants and the headquarters for Citrix, a tech company. Union Station, expected to open in 2017, is expected to spur even more development.
The transit hub will be located at 501 Martin St., one block from Kane’s site.