HUDSON -- As Hudson prepares to implement its new parking system downtown, a new parking ramp was presented to the Common Council Monday night.
Gary Borglund of Willow River Properties proposed transforming the current North Lot, with 60 parking spots on the corner of Second and Vine streets, into a five-story building with parking, an event center and apartments.
Borglund said while coming up with the design, they wanted it to be good for the city, but they also need it to make money. Parking, he said, is often not a money maker. The event center and apartments will offset that.
The building would have five levels, one underground. The first two would provide about 250 spaces of parking. The top floor would be an event center offering seating for 320 people with an outdoor space. The fourth floor would hold likely five apartments, seven at the maximum.
“With those numbers, we think we can make this work,” Borglund said.
Parking for the event center would be valeted off the property, Borglund said, with only some spots being used for a bridal party or other event needs. With an event with 300 people, typically about 120 cars are expected.
“If we have an event for 300 people and the parking is full, we have not solved any problems,” he said.
The garage would use updated concepts including overhead LED lighting, lighting to indicate open spots, noise sensors, charging stations for electric vehicles and possible spaces for shared vehicles.
The price for parking would need to be competitive with what the city charges, Borglund said. Having a covered lot may allow the center to charge more, but he said his team will have to see what works. The underground level could potentially be by parking permit.
The event center would fill a hole downtown, which currently does not have anything like it, Borglund said. Organizations often go to golf courses out of town for events, and restaurant owners have told him he receives calls from people asking about larger spaces for groups to dine.
The event center’s kitchen would be designed so local restaurants could come in to cater, either preparing food on site or bringing it and warming it up. Council member Randy Morrissette II said he’s heard from restaurants that they support that concept.
Morrissette moved to take the next step with the proposal.
“I think it’s something we need to explore with the issues of parking downtown,” he said.
Council member Sarah Atkins Hoggatt opposed the project, referencing the new city parking system that has not gone into place yet.
“While the proposition is given to us as the city wins as potentially gaining parking, it comes at quite a price,” she said -- staff energy and resources, and the selling public property. Atkins Hoggatt said the city should wait and see how the system goes first.
The new system was proposed after a 2017 parking study conducted showed downtown parking was insufficient to support continued growth. That study also recommended a parking garage as a potential solution.
The council approved a predevelopment agreement for the project on a vote of 3-2, with Atkins Hoggatt and Council member Joyce Hall voting no.
With the predevelopment agreement, the applicant makes a deposit of $20,000 to the city for staff review of the project. It does not obligate the city to approve the project or provide any financial assistance tools, City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick explained.