NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 9, 2013

Quietly, plans for parking garage have shrunk and faded

(Continued)

The subject of a parking garage has come up again in recent weeks since it became known that developer Karp has been talking with municipal leaders about possibly siting a hotel at the corner of Merrimac and Titcomb, on land that he owns.

The hotel/motel that the Karp team outlined in “preliminary drawings” could be of “80 to 85” rooms, according to city officials. It would be located on the Fitness Factory site.

In addition to being brought up in connection with Karp, the parking garage has been on the minds of numerous residents because a nearby section of the city near the intersection of Merrimac and Green streets could soon see developments that could call for more parking spaces.

A restaurant with more than 400 seats at the site of the former Davis Auto Parts on Merrimac Street and a $20 million mixed-use development envisioned by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority along the riverfront are just two projects that have raised the question of more parking.

But it appears that a garage with additional spaces will not be coming soon, in part because the city would be faced with a significant cost. Costanzo said the plan had called for his authority to pay for the lower section, and the city would contribute to the upper tiers for general parking.

A total of 300 parking spots was discussed, at a total building cost of $3 to $4 million. If the city paid just half, it would still represent a significant cost.

City Council President Tom O’Brien recently said that the matter is not before the City Council; Mayor Donna Holaday indicated that her office has not been actively engaged in the parking-lot project.

“The parking garage is still on a list but not much is happening at this moment,” said Costanzo.

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