REDMOND, OR -- Redmond officials are changing gears on the future of the former city hall property. City Manager Keith Witcosky says the original plan to develop market-rate housing isn’t cost effective in this economy. "As it turns out, it would require a pretty big subsidy from the city, which wouldn’t be appropriate for market-rate housing. And so, what we’re looking at right now, as we examine the needs, public parking is a need downtown. We’ve got a new theater, we’re going to have a new hotel open this year, we’re going to have a new park. Giving people a place to park off-street is going to be important; and it looks like we’re going to go down that route."
Witcosky tells KBND News the lot across from Centennial Park could be converted into housing or some other use in the future, "As the economy turns around and continues to grow over the years, I could see that parking lot be developed at some point in time, which happens in major metropolitan areas." But, for now, he says it's important to make sure the property doesn't fall into disrepair, "We look at ‘what’s an interim use that serves a community need?’ Public parking is a need and we’re responsible for providing it."
Developing the lot will still take time and money, "You’ve got structures on it and then you’ve got to kind of create the parking lot. And even that is going to cost – we’ve been pretty open about it - $700,000 to $800,000. It costs around $7,000 per stall to build a surface parking lot." Witcosky believes it would provide free parking to about 100 vehicles, adding around 30 to the 70 spots already adjacent to the former City Hall building. It has yet to be designed but could be open by the end of the year.