McGurns, city near agreement on garage


Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 1:40 a.m.

Gainesville is on track to enter into a 99-year business deal with two of the city's most well-known developers.

Ken and Linda McGurn, owners of Union Street Station, who have built and redeveloped other downtown buildings, have promised they will build for $7.4 million a city parking garage on a lot they own - ultimately saving the city $2.5 million over what it planned to spend on another garage.

The Gainesville City Commission voted unanimously and with little discussion Monday night to get out of its contract with the builder for the first garage and begin looking for someone to design and construct the McGurn garage.

The city had planned to begin construction this winter on a free-standing, five-story garage facing SW 2nd and SW 3rd Avenues, across the street from the criminal courthouse now under construction.

Some people, including the McGurns, criticized the garage for being too costly and ornate. The McGurns offered to donate their land for the garage and guarantee its price.

The city hasn't signed a contract with the McGurns yet. But according to a proposal still under negotiations, the McGurns would sell their 1.6-acre lot, now used as a parking lot, to the city for $500.

In return, the McGurns would be allowed to use 122 of the 824 spaces in the proposed garage for 99 years. They also want air rights to the space above the garage for an apartment complex.

The McGurn lot is located in the middle of the block bounded by University Avenue, SW 2nd Avenue, SW 2nd Street and SW 3rd Street. It would include 2,500 square feet of commercial and retail space on the ground floor - 13 percent of what was proposed for the first garage.

In addition to the cost of the garage, the city would spend an additional $1.2 million already incurred in design costs for the first garage, and to release itself from contracts with construction and management companies.

Under a contract between the city and Alachua County, the city must provide 375 additional parking spaces by the time the new criminal courthouse is completed in January 2004.

Ashley Rowland can be reached at 374-5095 or rowlana@gvillesun.com.

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