Glen Ellyn to revisit proposal for downtown parking garage
Downtown Glen Ellyn businesses, commuters and developers will pay close attention to a village board discussion Monday about an issue that affects them all: What to do about parking.
The village is taking stock of the downtown parking supply and revisiting the possibility of replacing a municipal lot with a parking deck.
Glen Ellyn's last major parking study did not formally recommend a parking structure but noted well-located decks "can also serve as a catalyst for attracting new businesses."
Since that 2013 analysis, about a dozen new restaurants have opened or plan to open downtown. Some of those dining spots are moving into longtime retail storefronts. And that means downtown parking habits are evolving, Village Manager Mark Franz said.
"We've had kind of a goal to create more of an 18-hour downtown, where we've got more restaurants, more activities, more special events," he said.
A proposed residential development near the library could bring more visitors downtown and make finding a place to park in high-demand areas even tougher. For commuters, there's already a three-year waiting list to receive a downtown parking permit.
Officials say it's the right time to do a broad review of potential sites for a parking deck, funding plans for such a project that could cost between roughly $6 million to $12 million, fees for permit parking and better ways to direct drivers to available spaces.
Here's a look at some of those issues the board will review Monday night.
How to fund garage
Village administrators have recommended Glen Ellyn begin charging a food and beverage tax to raise revenue for other infrastructure projects throughout town.
But should the village issues bonds to finance construction of a parking structure, the new revenue also could help pay off the debt and pay for maintenance costs for a garage.
The village also could consider increasing the home-rule sales tax, increasing parking permit fees and tapping funds from special taxing districts.
Glen Ellyn's last major parking study suggested that the village should explore public-private partnerships to incorporate a new garage into a larger residential, commercial or mix-used development.
"We'd love to still consider that, but I think we need to be more proactive and consider a garage or at least a more formalized plan for parking for the next 20, 30 years," Franz said.
No large-scale development has gotten off the ground in the four years since the study. One real estate group walked away from a project to build an apartment complex with space for retailers on the site of the vacant Giesche Shoes store.
But other developers stepped forward this fall with a conceptual plan to convert the Giesche building into a restaurant, cafe and event space.
Where to build it
Potential sites for a parking deck include village-owned sites:
• The south Main Street parking lot near the former Giesche store.
• The lot south of the intersection of Crescent Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue near the former McChesney & Miller grocery store.
• The lot behind the Civic Center.
Dewberry architects estimated that a two-story parking garage on the Civic Center lot could cost between $5.54 million and $6.96 million. That deck would result in a net gain of 111 spaces.
The 2013 parking study estimated that a four-level parking deck on the south Main Street lot could cost between $5.7 million and $7.5 million. That garage would result in a net gain of 165 to 175 spaces.
A three-level structure on the Crescent Boulevard lot could cost between $10 million and $13 million, according to estimates in that analysis. The deck would result in a net gain of 350 spaces.
At the nearby vacant McChesney & Miller grocery, Springbank Real Estate Group approached the village more than two years ago with an ambitious concept that called for two apartment buildings with space for retailers on the ground floor and a 120-foot-tall clock tower.
Since, Springbank, the property owner, has put together a new project team with new principals, architects and a real estate broker.
"We've seen very preliminary design concepts, I'd call them, and we've met a couple times in the last 30 days," Franz said last week. "We're hoping that momentum continues, but no real specific plans to report on yet."