Convention Center Authority to seek proposals for Garrahy garage
THE REDEVELOPMENT OF the Garrahy Judicial Complex parking lot into a 1,250-space parking garage cannot go forward until any three developable plots on the former Interstate-195 land known as The Link sell. Above, a layout of the proposed garage drafted by Fuss & O'neill.
PROVIDENCE – Plans to build a parking garage near the Garrahy Judicial Complex are moving ahead even though the sale of at least three developable parcels nearby must be completed before construction can begin.
The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority’s board of commissioners said Tuesday it would issue a request for proposals within the next week or two to design a garage for more than 1,000 parking spaces and 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail storefront space. Construction won’t go forward, however, unless any three developable lots in the Interstate-195 corridor known as The Link sell, said James Bennett, authority chairman.
Lawmakers this past session authorized up to $45 million in bonds for the Garrahy project, which is projected to cost about $43 million.
State funds totaling $500,000 from Rhode Island Capital Asset Protection have been approved for the planning process, which includes the request for proposals. Those funds would be returned to RICAP once the bonds are issued, Bennett said. RICAP is a fund set up to protect the state’s capital assets.
The three parcels that sell could be any size and do not necessarily have to be near the courthouse, he said, but once they do sell, the Convention Center Authority wants to be ready to pursue construction.
“Money is available to start the process and time is money, so we want to be prepared,” he said. “As soon as [the land sells], we want to kick off that multimillion dollar garage. The legislature did not want us to build the garage without having a use for it.”
Since the proposed garage would be close to campuses at Brown University and Johnson & Wales University, Bennett said he expects it would serve “multiple uses over the course of a typical day and week, maximizing the investment.”