Purchase of Parking Lot on 4th Ave South by City of Naples

ALERT:  Purchase of Parking Lot on 4th Avenue South by the City of Naples for the Construction of a 350+ space Public Parking Garage in the Heart of Old Naples

We have just recently learned that Naples City staff have entered into a contract for the purchase of the parking lot on 4th Avenue South (at 4th Street) for the construction of a 350+ space Public Parking Garage.

Total Estimated Cost $16-$17 million dollars

The Contract along with appraisal information was included as an “added agenda item—for Information only” purposes at the June 14, 2017 City Council Meeting—the last meeting before city council recess. Here is a the link to the materials provided to city council for this agenda item:

Serious Problems Caused by Massive Garage in Residential Neighborhood

We are very concerned about the city moving forward with the $6,000,000 purchase of the property for construction of a 350+ space garage (with an estimated total cost of $16-$17,000,000) in a “residential” neighborhood in the heart of Naples in such close proximity to the beach.
While we are still in the process of reviewing all of the information, based on the information reviewed to date, we have numerous questions and concerns.  The proposed garage will create several problems:

Tremendous Increase in Traffic

The garage could be expected to generate a tremendous increase in traffic. It is estimated a 350+ space parking “public” parking in this location could be expected to potentially turn over 3 or more times a day and generate well over a 1000 trips per day. 

This level of intensity of development and use was never envisioned for Old Naples when the traffic grid was established many years ago. The traffic grid in parts of Old Naples is already close to gridlock at peak times in season.

Adverse Impact on residential character of 4th Avenue South between 5th Street and 3rd Street

The proposed garage will flood incoming and outgoing 5th Avenue entertainment traffic and beach traffic into a quiet residential area of Naples – impacting not only the residents on 4th Ave s. but other residential blocks to the North (imagine out-of-town traffic coming into town on Central or 3th Avenue South and then coming south on 5th Street or 4th Street)

Proposed Site is in a “Residential “ Zoning District

The property is not zoned for a large public parking garage. The proposed site is located in an R3-12 “RESIDENTIAL” zoning district, which would normally allow for 12 residential units to be built on the approximately 1 acre site, not a 350+ space parking garage.

Parking Demand Analysis

We are in the process of reviewing various parking demand/analysis reports and studies that have been compiled over the years. None of the studies that we have been able to locate indicate a need for a 350+ space public parking garage.  In fact, the most detailed study we are aware of indicates that at most 50-60 spaces would be required to support the entire anticipated build out of the West end of Fifth Avenue South.

Cost Versus Benefit Analysis

We do not understand the rationale /justification for the city continuing to subsidize private development on Fifth Avenue via special parking incentives.

A price of $6 million dollars for a vacant parcel of land encumbered with a permanent easement for 113 parking spaces is a very steep price. And with an estimated construction cost of @ $30,000 per garage space –the purchase price is actually the equivalent of $9,390,000 (given the contract essentially provides for the city paying for the cost of constructing the  113 spaces required per the easement). Why would we do this? It does not make economic sense.

Much More Economical Alternatives

Many folks have proposed that we focus on addressing “employee” parking versus investing potentially $16-$17 million to build a large public parking garage. It is estimated that there are over 1200 employees in the immediate area—and there are several possible existing venues nearby within walking distance or shuttle distance of Fifth Avenue to accommodate employee parking at peak demand times in season.

Proposed Utilization of CRA Funds

The proposed use of CRA funds is also a concern. We do not understand the justification for utilizing CRA funds to incentivize private development on Fifth Avenue—which is clearly “not blighted” or economically distressed at this time.

Contract Review & Approval Timeline

The “last” contingency date in the contract (during which time a decision will need to be made whether to move forward with the purchase) is August 18, 2017. The city has proposed utilizing Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) funds to pay for the acquisition of the land and construction of the garage.

There are a series of critical meetings at which the proposed purchase of the land and construction of the garage will be discussed including the following:

June 26, 2017 CRA Advisory Board Meeting - the CRA Advisory board is scheduled to review the proposal on Monday, June 26, 2017. The meeting will be held at city hall and is scheduled to begin at 9:00. Here is the link to the agenda and materials for the meeting. http://naples.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=14&event_id=727

August 15, 2017 CRA Meeting – the CRA is scheduled to review the proposal on August 15th. We will provide details on this meeting when they become available.

August 16, 2016 City Council Meeting –City Council has a regularly scheduled meeting for August 16, 2016 which is the only city council meeting currently scheduled prior to the August 18th (only 2 days later) decision deadline in the contract. So it will be very important to plan to attend this meeting.

We would encourage you to share your thoughts with members of the CRA Advisory board and City Council. It is very important that they hear from you.