At Tuesday night’s workshop, Manhattan city commissioners discussed the possibility of selling a city-owned parking lot in Aggieville on Bluemont between 12th and Manhattan Avenues.
Deputy city manager Jason Hilgers said that the city administration has been negotiating to sell the 15,000 sq. ft. lot to the Kansas City-based Johnson Company, who currently owns the site of the former Willie’s Car Wash and specialty food store, with original plans to build a 7,500 sq. ft. retail space there. Johnson is willing to pay $800,000 for the lot, and is proposing to use the two lots to build a 116-room hotel and a 122-space private parking garage.
Proceeds from the sale will help with developing the Aggieville district as part of the master development plan, and Executive Director of the Aggieville Business Association Linda Mays is in full agreement with Hilgers.
“Not only would it provide additional revenue in the future, but it’s also going to provide additional BID (business improvement district) funds so that we can put that back into our district, as well as bringing additional people down to Aggieville to patron our storefronts,” Mays said.
Also part of the master plan is the construction of two parking garages in the southwest and northeast corners of the district. The southwest site, currently a surface lot next to Rally House at Manhattan and Laramie, is the most readily available site for construction because the city owns it entirely, Hilgers said. However, the northeast location at 11th and Moro would be put on hold, pending development in that area, and could be built within a five-to-ten year timeframe.
“The city owns maybe 1/3 of it. It doesn’t mean that we can’t incorporate that with the other owners, it’s just a tougher deal to get done,” Hilgers said.
Also discussed during the workshop was the renovations at Peace Memorial Auditorium. In addition to the recently completed foyer renovation and fixing of the HVAC unit, the Friends of the Peace Memorial Auditorium group is asking for additional funding from the city to improve the audio and lighting systems. The city funds will be supplemented by fundraising that was started by the group nearly five years ago.
Commissioners are expected to decide on that issue at the December 19th general meeting.
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