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City parking garage gets on fast track

January 29, 2014 News Extra

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Butler will get a new 225-space parking garage, but it will be built by a developer, not the city.

Representatives from the city, parking authority, and redevelopment authority met privately Tuesday with J.S. Capitol Construction to discuss the Centre City Project, which will bring the garage, a Marriott Springhill Suites hotel and a new Rite Aid pharmacy to downtown.

Each of the groups agreed to develop a plan that would have J.S. Capitol, the developer of the rest of the hotel and pharmacy, acquire the parking garage property, build the garage, and then sell it back to the parking authority, according to city Treasurer Jeff Smith.

The plan is expected to allow the project to proceed more quickly and at a significantly lower cost than the previous plan of having the parking authority build the estimated $4.5 million garage through a bond issue, which would likely add more than $1 million in additional interest and fees.

City Councilwoman Cheri Scott, who was at the meeting, said the proposed idea will speed up the project and will save money.

“They can get material cheaper,” she said of the developer. “They can buy it in bulk, and they are better connected to different resources than we are.”

A final decision on the plan will need to be discussed and voted on at public city meetings.

Smith said there could be special meetings soon to move the plans along.

“All parties are committed to having this done by the end of (February),” he said.

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