Underground parking structure plan sunk by costs
by David Mendez
A plan to build a subterranean parking structure in Riviera Village, at the existing Triangle parking area near Trader Joe’s, appears to be sunk, for now, by construction costs ranging between $18.6 million to $32.8 million.
“I wish we had the money to do something, but we don’t right now,” said Councilman Christian Horvath.
Last year, the Riviera Village Business Improvement District — a district managed by area business owners that secures extra tax funds from businesses for projects in the Village — hired Walker Consultants to analyze design concepts for building a subterranean parking garage at the Triangle lot, with the idea of creating open space above the parking facility.
Further, according to former District 1 Councilman and current RVBID President Jeff Ginsburg, the parking concept could lead to a plan to turn Catalina Avenue into a walk-street between Avenue I and Elena Avenue.
The idea, Walker representatives presented, could be similar to downtown Los Angeles’ Pershing Square: a park and gathering space on top, with at least one level of parking below the surface.
All three designs for the subterranean lots would increase the number of parking spaces from the existing 210, creating a total between 336 spaces and 490 spaces.
The catch is the cost for the project, which would range between $18.6 million and $32.8 million. Though the new garages could potentially generate about $472,500 a year (based on the 336 space options), staff estimates that would only provide up to $7.7 million in financing — plus, the city would lose that revenue from its general fund.
Few options may exist to bridge the funding gap, including potential grants, but the most likely option may well be a public-private partnership.
Councilman Todd Loewenstein cited Manhattan Beach’s Metlox Plaza as another possible example. Metlox Plaza features a parking area under commercial space.
Horvath considered an above-ground parking structure, topped with a park or open space. According to staff, cost estimates for such a project would range between $14 million and $19.7 million.
“Views from a rooftop space could be more magical, with a new view to the ocean,” Horvath said.
Though there’s a problem with some of those view corridors. “At Avenue I and Catalina, all you have to do is remove the building,” Mayor Bill Brand said.
The City Council received the report, and ordered staff to send the report to the General Plan Advisory Committee for further study.