Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pineapple Square Parking Cost

We noted with interest last Monday's SHT Business Section article by Kevin McQuaid profiling John Simon, the manager of the Pineapple Square project.

Of interest was the tally for what Simon is now telling the city he will require in order to move forward with Pineapple Square.

He wants the city to give him:
  1. The State Street parking lot, recently valued at $8,000,000
  2. Approximately $9,000,000 for municipal parking
  3. The vacated block of State St between Pineapple and Palm that has a value of $2,250,000 (using the same sq ft value as the State St lot).

Thus the Pineapple Square project will require the city to give them public property and cash worth $19, 250,000. The city will receive 350 parking spots in return. These parking spots will be conveniently located in the middle of Pineapple Square.

Each of these parking spots will cost city residents $55,000.

We can remember back in the good old days (a year ago) when parking places in downtown condo developments (aka public/private partnerships) cost about $15,000 each and people questioned why the cost was so high.

We cannot fathom how such a deal as this can be justified. Residents were recently astonished when commissioners voted to purchase the Orange Dolphin property. This deal is five times that price and gives a huge parking advantage to Pineapple Square - at the expense of every other retail shopping area in the city. Do we need to give away almost $20M so we can have upscale shopping downtown? What will the Irish American Partnership ask the city to do for them at the Quay?

Meanwhile, what about the real city needs such as affordable housing (both the Palm Ave lot and the State St lot could be significant contributors to affordable housing downtown)? What about the Newtown redevelopment project? What about public housing in Sarasota? All of these needs are priorities. Downtown Sarasota seems to be developing at a rapid pace with little help from the residents - in fact most residents think the pace is too fast.

Why would we consider giving Pineapple Square land and dollars when the needs elsewhere are so great?


Anonymous said...

Alarming as it sounds, I have no doubt the City will give it to them- most of them have already made up their minds.

Anonymous said...

There simply is no critical judgement on our City Commission.
This doesn't mean we shouldn't have development. It means that as CLIENTS we should be informed and intelligent. A good client asks questions...not defensive questions,but an elected body representing the citizens would be looking at projects from the point of view of the public. Mayor Riley of Charleston suggests that we need to consider CIVIC Planning...not only private planning.The city should be an expression of a civic or community vision.In speaking about the public, Mayor Riley says, "You never take the citizens for granted. You've got to make sure they know you are seeking to fulfill their dreams, and there are times when it is your duty to explain that---to tell that story, to sell it."

Where is such a mind as this in Sarasota???

Anonymous said...

Certainly not occupying space in City Hall!