The Lawrence City Commission deferred to rule on the proposition by HERE at Kansas Apartments to allow it to fill vacancies before the current parking situation is resolved.
This parking problem was caused by the bankruptcy of a company who develops fully-automated parking garages. The garage would have used lifts and tracks to park the cars without human assistance. The robotic parking garage company which filed for bankruptcy was the only one that could handle a project of this size, and without the automated parking services, the garage must now be modified to accommodate a human-run valet service. The modifications include the addition of ramps and restructuring of support pillars, and the addition of a second entrance to the garage on 11th St. which would be used to access the top level of the structure. However, with these modifications a good amount of parking spots have to be removed, 69 spots to be exact, which drops the complex below the number of spots that Lawrence City Code requires for a residency of its size.
Tuesday night, the Lawrence City Commission directed the developers and city planners to revise their parking strategy to get the parking structure to comply with city code.
One solution to this problem could be the acquisition of the 1137 Indiana St. property directly south of the apartment complex. This land, currently occupied by an apartment complex owned by a group of Lawrence residents, would be demolished and a new 96 space parking garage would be erected in its place. This would not only bring the complex above the city’s minimum requirements, but it would actually result in more total parking than the original plan had.
For the time being, HERE must keep 23 rooms and all of its first floor commercial space vacant in order to comply with city code.
In an effort to be allowed to fill these rooms for the August 2016 move-in date, HERE developers are working on a proposal to The University of Kansas that would allow the complex to lease 24 parking spaces from the Memorial Stadium lot until the permanent parking issue has been resolved.
Now some Lawrence residents and the City Commissioners are having second thoughts about approving the HERE project in the first place. They say that the lack of sufficient and efficient parking could result in an overflow of cars into the adjacent neighborhoods where parking is already scarce. Members of the public spoke out at Tuesday’s meeting to say that they think that the commission was tricked into approving this project due to its glitz and glamor. One example that was given of this was the fully-automated garage, which would have been the first in the state of Kansas and one of the largest such parking structures in the United States.