There are a web of concerns surrounding the the McNiell Hotel Company development and use of a city parking lot at Tuesday’s Manhattan City Commissioner’s meeting. Deputy City Manager, Jason Hilgers, brought up the discussion item looking for feedback from the commissioners and community. The feedback was mixed.
The McNeill Hotel Company wants to build a 110 room, 5-story hotel on the corner of Bluemont and 12th Street, just on the edge of Aggieville where Willy’s Car Wash is located. This is an issue in itself because the 5-story building exceeds the 35 feet zoning laws for buildings in Aggieville. The proposal forces decisions concerning the Aggieville-Campus Edge District Plan – a plan which intends to be completed around the start of 2017. It also presents competition to current hotel owners who argued the market was over saturated and starting to decline; therefore, making projected revenue estimates inaccurate.
The use of the adjacent city parking lot poses another host of issues that concerned the commission. Since 2000, the city has completed three separate studies that indicated a deficit in parking in Aggieville. With the Aggieville-Campus Edge District Plan in the works, parking garages have been discussed, but their high cost has swayed commissioners to look for private-public partnerships. These partnerships would put the cost of construction and maintenance on private companies.
The McNeill Hotel Company is offering to lease the city parking lot and build a 4-story parking structure with the first floor dedicated to public parking. This is something the commission wants. What the commission doesn’t want, however, is a parking garage off of Bluemont, and one that offers a minimal increase of 14 public parking stalls.
Commissioner Bulter suggested using this opportunity to leverage better offers to increase public parking to the desired 100 stalls. The City Commissioners decided to wait to make any further decisions on moving forward with the McNeill Hotel Company proposal.
Tuesday’s city commission meeting also saw the approval of amending of Manhattan zoning regulations regarding day cares and signs, and the updating of the international housing and national electrical codes.