The Spokane Public Facilities District plans to begin reconstruction of a block-long parking lot just south from its convention center complex, after the Spokane City Council approved its request to take 20 feet of the Main Avenue right of way for the project, says Kevin Twohig, the PFD's executive director.
Bouten Construction Co., of Spokane, will begin work on the parking lot project next week, under a $1.6 million contract.
Bouten will rebuild and beautify the parking lot, which is on what's become known as the "south block," where the PFD hopes eventually to build a parking structure and expand the convention facilities. That block is bounded by Spokane Falls Boulevard, Main, and Washington and Bernard streets.
The district had asked the city to vacate about 20 feet of the north side of Main, between Washington and Bernard, so it can use that land for part of the parking lot and eventually for the convention center expansion.
The City Council considered the proposal earlier this week.
PFD board member Mick McDowell had said the district wouldn't issue a contract to Bouten for the parking lot work until the right-of-way matter was settled.
McDowell says that the additional 20 feet will allow the district to create the opposite of what he calls "minimalist" parking lots that dot downtown now, and improve the PFD's ability to proceed with a convention center expansion.
"Currently, Main Avenue from Stevens east contains six lanesfour lanes of traffic and a parking lane on either side," he says. McDowell says that the eventual addition of an 800- to 900-car parking garage on the south block will mitigate the need for at least one of those lanes of parking, even if Main Street is changed to a two-way street with bike lanes.
"We intend for our facility to be a hub for trolley, or light rail," and other possible alternative modes, he says.
Twohig says Bouten was one of seven companies to bid for the parking lot job, and that construction will begin next week, but it's not clear yet when the project will be completed. The work is to involve removing the asphalt, sidewalks, and light poles on the entire property, then regrading the site. Twohig says the current parking lot has a lot of aging pavement and needs to be brought up to code.
The contractor will repave the lot, creating a total of just under 320 parking stalls. According to the site plan, the new lot will have pole lights throughout and 125 trees will be planted around its perimeter. Its entrances would be located on Bernard near Spokane Falls Boulevard, on Spokane Falls near Washington, and on Main.
The project also is to include decorative stamped concrete with sidewalk extensions at the corners, and benches designed to match the look of the nearby INB Performing Arts Center, according to the site plan.
ALSC Architects PS, of Spokane, is designing the project.
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