The new employee parking lot downtown is nearing completion and will add approximately 100 spaces for downtown workers.
The gated lot is located at the corner of Burton Street and Magnolia Avenue. Businesses interested in leasing spots pay $50 per space, and their employees are given a code to enter.
“We do a citizen survey every year,” said City Manager Jim Buston. “For several years, it has been noted on that survey that the residents of Auburn are very concerned about parking in downtown Auburn. They don’t believe there is enough parking in downtown Auburn.”
Buston said the hope is to alleviate parking fees for employees while opening spaces for those who want to shop or dine downtown while the parking deck is under construction. The City is paying to lease the lot from Auburn Bank for the next five years. Buston said when the bank is closed after 6 p.m., the paved lot can be used by the public — excluding Sundays.
The new parking deck will add 300-350 public parking spaces and will include space for the Student Baptist Association, as well as a private contractor. Buston said the private contractor being considered is a hotel, but the plan has not been approved.
If the hotel gets a solid vote, parking will be leased for guests – decreasing the number of public spaces. Buston said the City would then purchase land from the developer providing more room for parking spaces.
There is some space in front of the parking deck the city is looking to sell to a private contractor. The current plan, The Plainsman reported, is for a hotel, but it has not yet been approved by the city council.
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“We’ve started designing our deck to be bigger, about 500 spaces with the understanding that if the hotel goes there, the hotel will need to lease spaces,” Buston said. “I think it’s important for everyone to know these are not free spaces for the hotel.”
Construction is now beginning on the new parking deck and is expected to finish in fall 2019.
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