Columbus City Council is due to vote Monday to pay $ 21.82 million for the construction phase of a new parking lot in the new mixed-use Astor Park development adjacent to Columbus Crew’s new Lower.com field.
The council has already approved at least $ 1.4 million for the design of the city-owned garage by Columbus-based architecture firm Moody Nolan, bringing the total cost to at least $ 23.22 million.
The city had estimated the cost at $ 25 million, but that was based on a garage that could hold up to 750 cars. The final design of the five-story garage provides for 677 spaces to “serve residents, workers and visitors to the Astor Park area,” formerly known as Confluence Village until the team changed the name. in honor of the Astor House Hotel in New York City, where the United States Football Association (now known as the US Soccer Federation) was founded in 1913.
The garage will have a “perforated metal exterior” and vertical glass shaft with two elevators in the southeast corner, according to the ordinance.
The design will include two vehicle entrances with a total of five entry and exit lanes, located at the northeast and southwest corners of the structure, approximately 60 feet from the new stadium in the Arena district. There will be central ramps to access the parking lots, according to the ordinance that will be voted on Monday.
The garage’s utilities will include electric vehicle charging stations, a first-floor “bike center” accessible from an alleyway, and a groundwater reservoir. The garage will also include “openings for direct connection to adjacent residential buildings, built under a separate contract,” the ordinance said.
Why Columbus taxpayers pay for parking
The parking lot was part of what ultimately turned into a dramatic increase in costs to city taxpayers under an agreement between Mayor Andrew J. Ginther of Franklin County, the State and the crew to prevent the Major League Soccer team to leave town for Austin, Texas in late 2018.
While Ginther and other city officials initially said the city’s contribution to the deal was capped at $ 50 million, The Dispatch reported in 2019 that city officials were operating under two sets of books. separate: the public commitment of $ 50 million which included new streets and infrastructure and three cash contributions totaling $ 38 million and another unpublished budget filled with additional projects requested by the team and unforeseen cost overruns.
Following those reports, Ginther announced at a stadium dedication ceremony in 2019 that the city had in fact contributed an additional $ 63.9 million, bringing the total costs to the city’s taxpayers to just a bit. less than $ 114 million. But Ginther said the supplement was for projects not directly related to the stadium, calling it “additional funds for the infrastructure of this incredible new employment center.”
“I didn’t major in math, but the last time I checked, $ 113 million in infrastructure for a new job center leveraging $ 1.04 billion in private investment is a pretty good deal. return for central Ohio taxpayers, ”Ginther said at the event.
However, there were also contractual obligations of the stadium agreement, including the required municipal parking garage.
Meanwhile, the city is still in talks with the state to gain the necessary control of certain Ohio State Fairground parking lots near Historic Crew Stadium for a community sports park that , according to city officials, would be the public interest component of the present, nearly 3-year-old stadium deal.