At an Oct. 28 meeting, Hamilton County commissioners unanimously approved a request-for-proposals for a 434-space parking garage to be built on Clinton Street just east of North Eighth Street.
County attorney Mike Howard presented the proposal to commissioners Mark Heirbrandt and Christine Altman. Commissioner Steve Dillinger wasn’t present.
The county owns a 205-space parking lot south of Ind. 32, where its employees currently park. Employees must cross Ind. 32 to reach the courthouse or the judicial center, a path that can be dangerous as Ind. 32 is the busiest street cutting through downtown Noblesville. The proposed parking garage would move all county employee parking north of Ind. 32, eliminating the employees’ need to cross the street.
The county’s proposed 10-year plan is to construct the structure with 434 spaces originally and the potential to expand to 583 spaces by adding a fourth level. The parking garage proposal also states that the City of Noblesville will transfer ownership of its 46-space parking lot north of the judicial center to the county. Costs for the project won’t be released until after the RFP is complete.
“The structure will be built to accommodate a fourth level, or third, above-ground level, at a later date with (149) additional spaces,” Howard said. “The extra floor would be in the county’s 20-year projections.”
However, Howard recognized that the fourth level may not be needed.
“We don’t know what our workforce is going to look like in 10 years,” he said. “We may have more people working remotely.”
After 5 p.m. and on weekends, the garage would be open to the public. If all goes as planned, the parking garage is anticipated to take 10 months to build and open in late 2020. The south lot will then be sold to a developer and have potential for a mixed-use development consisting of approximately 200 apartments and retail on the first floor. Once the parking garage on Clinton Street is operational, the county will seek developers to develop the south lot.
Currently, the south lot is tax exempt, since the county uses it for parking. Once a developer builds on it, the development will be taxable.
“The design elements of that new structure would blend with the existing judicial center,” Altman said. “We want to make sure everything harmonious.”
Although Ind. 32 is dangerous to cross, the impetus for the project is the commissioners believe there’s a better use for the south lot.
“The other big gem for the community is to bring workers to live and work,” Altman said. “It brings local option income tax.”
The apartments are expected to be market-rate.