SARATOGA SPRINGS -- With the City Council having this week approved the necessary lease, the Saratoga Springs City Center is planning a groundbreaking Monday for its new 600-space parking garage on Maple Avenue.
A ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m., on a $16 million project that is expected to take about a year, with a late 2020 opening anticipated. The northern part of the existing High Rock parking lot will be closed until further notice as of 7 a.m. Monday, city officials said.
The final design that emerged from years of contentious discussion was done by Envision Architects and the LA Group, and won unanimous City Council approval on Tuesday. The City Center, which is financing the project, had previously hired Bette & Cring of Latham as the builder.
"This structure will elevate the level of business we can bring to the city and will provide better parking options for our long-term clients, citizens and guests to our community," said City Center Executive Director Ryan McMahon.
The four-story garage will be built where the surface lot between Maple and High Rock avenues is now located. While there is broad recognition that the downtown area needs additional parking, the project was debated for the last five years over concerns about its aesthetic appearance, whether other uses would be incorporated into the structure, and whether the city should be working instead to become less auto-dependent.
A working group appointed last year by Mayor Meg Kelly came up with current plan, which has satisfied many but not all critics.
"This has been close to 30 years [of discussion], so this is really a historic night," Kelly said prior to Tuesday's vote.
"I certainly believe that the City Center at this point needs a covered parking facility, for a significant number of cars in order to continue its success," city Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin said.