According to preliminary estimates, a garage with about 531 parking spaces at the Marler Street lot might cost about $13.6 million and a garage with about 613 spaces at the Zerbe Street lot might cost about $18.7 million.
DESTIN — The City Council recently took a big step toward the potential development of at least one possible fee-based, multi-level city parking garage.
But many questions remain, not the least of which is how the city would pay for the garage or garages, each of which is estimated to cost more than $13 million.
The council on Aug. 6 unanimously approved choosing Pensacola-based Structured Parking Solutions as a potential partner to develop one or two parking garages that would help meet the demand for parking in the harbor area.
Structured Parking Solutions was the only firm to respond to the city’s request for proposals for a public/private partnership to develop a garage on one or two city-owned Harbor District properties.
A parking garage could be built on either the Zerbe Street pay-to-park lot or the Marler Street pay-to-park lot, or parking structures could be constructed on both of the lots, according to city information.
The council authorized Structured Parking Solutions to host stakeholder meetings about the potential garage or garages with local residents, business owners/operators and other community members, and to prepare a letter of intent.
The letter of intent will include an outline of the project phases, goals and schedules and could be ready for the council’s consideration in about a month. With the council’s approval of the letter, Destin and company officials would then discuss funding options and enter negotiations on the garage project or projects.
According to preliminary estimates from Structured Parking Solutions, a garage with about 531 parking spaces at the Marler Street lot might cost about $13.6 million and a garage with about 613 spaces at the Zerbe Street lot might cost about $18.7 million.
At the Aug. 6 meeting, Councilman Chatham Morgan said he does not want city property tax money to be used to pay for building a parking garage.
Borrowing the required funding would be one option, city spokesman Doug Rainer said Monday.
“All of the options that will be available to us would be presented once the company does its due diligence,” Rainer said.
At the Aug. 6 meeting, Councilman Cyron Marler asked Greg Darden, Structured Parking Solution’s business development director, for the estimated time required to construct a multi-level parking garage.
Darden replied that it typically takes his company 12-14 months to design and build a public parking garage.
The 146-space Marler Street pay-to-park lot on the northwest corner of Marler Street and U.S. Highway 98 opened in May 2017.
The 51-space Zerbe Street pay-to-park lot, just west of the Destin Community Center and north of McQuire’s Irish Pub, opened this past May.