The Voice for Industry
|November 12, 2008|
||Meeting Nov. 13
Parking Garage Up For Grabs
The U.S. Postal Service parking garage at 4th Avenue South and Lander is up for sale and might be used to provide badly needed parking for the SODO Sound Transit Station – or, maybe not.
Nobody knows but the answer may become clear in January.
The parking garage was open to the public for retail parking until 2006, when it was closed through the Homeland Security initiative. The 500-space garage is now used only for postal service vehicles and is mostly empty.
A postal service employee confirmed this week that the parking garage and post office along 4th Avenue South are now being marketed as potential surplus properties. The postal service will begin accepting bids for the properties the first week in December, with the winning proposal scheduled for selection within 45 days. A half dozen private firms have expressed interest in the property, the postal employee said, and some of them are interested in keeping the garage.
Bidders have lots of leeway in their proposals, including the choice of including the post office in their development or redevelopment plans. The postal service will be looking for the best return on the property and has already decided it can relocate both the post office and the parking garage if the price is right. Government properties are normally surplused through processes that first make them available to other government entities, but the postal service is not required to follow such a process due to its status as an independent agency within the federal government.
The future of the parking garage is of interest because no parking facilities are presently planned to support the Sound Transit station on the east side of the parking garage or the one on Royal Brougham near the sports stadiums. The stations will open when Link Light Rail service comes to SODO next year.
The city does not want parking provided near Sound Transit stations inside Seattle to encourage transit users to bike, walk or ride buses to the stations. That approach is problematic in SODO because no one lives in the area and transit service is more limited than in any other part of the city.
And while the SODO stations are located too far away from many businesses to be of much value to Duwamish area employees or employers, the stations are close enough to downtown Seattle to make them attractive for "hide and riders" who will use street parking in SODO and then ride the LINK into downtown to beat the high cost of downtown parking rates.
Parking is a concern in the area because the SODO area will lose about 2,000 parking spots over the next couple of years while construction work on the Spokane Street Viaduct and the Alaskan Way Viaduct eliminate the parking spaces beneath both structures.
Parking and other issues related to the SODO Sound Transit stations will be discussed at a community meeting Thursday, November 13, sponsored by the Duwamish Transportation Management Association. The meeting is scheduled from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and will include presentations by staff from the City of Seattle, King County Metro and Sound Transit, with time for questions.
The meeting is scheduled for 2-3:30 p.m. at the Mezza Café at the Starbucks Center at 1st and Lander.
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