Drivers will pay to park in Midtown tax-subsidized garages
By Susan Stabley
Subsidized parking garages in the Midtown Miami project would offer free parking - for the first hour.
After that, rates would be a dollar an hour in two garages that are to be financed with a 30-year bond and paid for with revenues from a special taxing district, according to a representative of project developers and city officials.
Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton, whose district includes the Midtown Manhattan site, and Mayor Manny Diaz' senior economic-development adviser, Otto Boudet-Murias, said the garage's parking rate likely would increase after a certain number of hours to deter people from parking at Midtown and heading elsewhere for the day.
Paul Abrams of Midtown Group confirmed that a charge would be placed on parking past the first hour but said he did not know about a threshold that would kick in later.
All three said the money would be needed to cover costs for security maintenance and manage the garage. The city's parking surcharge may also apply, said Mr. Boudet-Murias.
Up to $170 million in revenues from a special tax district created by the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County this month are to help build the $1.2 billion Midtown Miami project. The taxing district is limited to the project's site - bounded by Northeast 36th Street on the north, rail tracks along Northeast Second Avenue on the east, North Miami Avenue on the west and Northeast 29th Avenue on the south.
The district, approved last week by both commissions, would generate the largest amount of public funds for the 56-acre development planned for the former Buena Vista railyard in the Wynwood neighborhood.
Midtown Group, one of the developers, opened a 16,000-square-foot sales center last week at 3110 NE Second Ave. The mixed-use half of the Midtown project is to include 3,000 condo units, 900 rental units, office space, retail space, a hotel and a spa.
Developers Diversified Realty of Ohio is to create the other half, a 600,000-square-foot shopping center called The Shops at Midtown Miami.
The tax district was created for repayment of 30-year bonds worth $76 million. The bonds are to pay for a $51 million parking garage with more than 2,900 spaces and a public plaza, according to city documents. County documents estimate the cost of the garage at $45 million.
Plans call for commercial parking to be split between two structures and fronted by street-level retail space. Some parking would be available for residents of the development, but Mr. Boudet-Murias said public funds have been designated only for commercial parking.
The garage and the public plaza were touted last month to the Miami City Commission when the subsidy was discussed. Developers say jobs will be created during construction of Midtown Miami and residents will spend money within city limits instead of traveling to shopping centers elsewhere.
"We can keep our earnings in the City of Miami," said Miami's chief financial officer, Linda Haskins, at the April 22 meeting.
Ms. Haskins said parking at Midtown Miami would be free.
Commission Chairman Arthur Teele said at the meeting, "The main piece of this incentive package is parking, and parking is going to be free."
When asked last week what happened to the plan for free parking, Mr. Boudet-Murias said, "We misspoke."