$5m carpark expansion

By Carmen Hall

3 comments
Parking Building on Elizabeth Street.
Parking Building on Elizabeth Street.

A $5 million top level extension that will provide 110 new parks is being mooted for the Elizabeth St carpark as occupancy rates boom and businesses move back into the central city.

Tauranga City Council transportation manager Martin Parkes said a case study would be run through its Long Term Plan discussions later this year.

"It forms part of wider discussions about city centre parking," Mr Parkes said.

The plan comes after the city council released figures showing it collected more than $1.9 million in parking revenue from motorists during the past year. Revenue from parking was up $500,000 in the last financial year compared with the $1.4million gathered the previous year. Mr Parkes said in 2013/14 the Elizabeth St carpark generated $557,854 and occupancy rates had doubled.

"They have boomed over the past 12 to 18 months. Occupancy is peaking at about 85 per cent where it was 35 to 40 per cent." Mayor Stuart Crosby said high occupancy rates and renewed business enthusiasm were the drivers behind the proposal.

"There are some quite significant businesses coming back into the CBD like Trustpower, which is great. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future the university campus will set up and we are also aware of other potential developments and redevelopments."

Ratepayers would not foot the bill as it would be user pays, he said.

"The parking buildings are paid for by parking fees ... if it went ahead a loan would be taken out.

"It will be part of quite a large range of projects that will be considered towards the end of this year. They will go through a consultation process then around June 2015 we will make a decision," the mayor said.

House of Travel Tauranga owner operator Shane Kennedy said its trading was up 12 per cent and there was refreshed energy in the central city.

From January to June 6286 people walked in off the street and bought travel compared to 5680 in the same period in 2013, Mr Kennedy said. "It's quite significant numbers and I am feeling great. I think the CBD has a massive future."

The high occupancy rates at the Elizabeth St carpark also warranted a new level, he said.

"We need to be future-proofing our CBD. "

Molloys Menswear owner Jason Dovey said any infrastructure was positive for the city.

"If you have all these new things coming into town you are going to need extra parking. "

Books A Plenty owner Chris Baskett said there was a positive vibe in the CBD and the shop had rolled over its lease.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Patio and Eatery owner Dean Teddy said he was all for growth but he questioned the $5 million price tag on the carpark.

"That is $45,000 per carpark and I don't think it's wise spending that at the moment. I'd like to know the costing for three levels with some office space on top which could be leased out to generate revenue."

Confidence had lifted but it was city-wide not necessarily just in the CBD, he said.

The proposal
*New level on Elizabeth Street Carpark
*Could provide 110 new parking spaces
*Expected cost $4 million to $5 million
*Loan paid off by users

- Bay of Plenty Times

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