Additional funds unanimously approved for Foundry Place parking garage
On August 7, the Portsmouth City Council voted unanimously—7 to 0—to authorize $3 million to cover additional construction costs and complete the city’s second municipal parking garage in 2018.
Located in the city’s North End, the 600-space parking garage is part of what will be known as Foundry Place, which will feature residential, office and commercial spaces in 4 mixed-use developments. The Foundry Place parking garage project is part of a public-private partnership with Deer Street Associates.
At the council’s meeting at City Hall, several spoke in favor of approving the additional $3 million bond.
Valerie Rochon, president of the Chamber Collaborative of Portsmouth, cited concerns related to a lack of current parking availability in Portsmouth, which she said frustrates locals and visitors alike.
“My greater concern is for the amount of dollars the business in the city will be losing in the future because these people are not coming back,” she said. “My position is to be behind whatever would bring an effective garage solution to the city.”
Dixie Tarbell, a resident of Portsmouth for roughly 40 years, expressed excitement at the prospect of a new garage.
“We needed that parking garage years and years and years ago,” she said. “We’re the city of the open door and I love that about Portsmouth…The city of the open doors needs to welcome everybody by having an easy place to come to visit.”
The approval of the additional $3 million bond brings the cost of the overall project to $26.2 million.
Anyone in construction industry has seen significant cost increases. Additionally, there have been changes in the scope: including improvements of utilities, sewer and drainage.
The team has looked at ways to cut costs related to the parking garage. After extensive analysis, they determined as a group that features, including a generator, a second elevator and 600 parking spaces, were all necessary.
Once completed, Foundry Place will comprise the Deer Street/Bridge Street area from Maplewood to Hill Street. In addition to renovating a section of the city that once served as the industrial hub of the Seacoast, the project will also provide workforce housing for greater Seacoast residents.
The economic center of the Seacoast region, Portsmouth doubles in size during the day, as thousands of workers commute to the city on a daily basis. Proponents of Foundry Place note that the proposed 5 workforce housing units will help fill a critical need in Portsmouth.
In looking at housing prices, roughly 50 percent of people who own homes here today would not be able to afford to buy a home in Portsmouth now.
Another key value to taxpayers that results from the parking garage itself is that all debt service repayments will come from the Parking Fund, which will leave the General Fund and property taxes untouched.
To join a mailing list and receive update on the Foundry Place project, visit www.foundryplace.com.
As always, thank you for your support.
Kim & Ania Rogers