Officials break ground on Park East garage

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Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard speaks at the groundbreaking for the new parking garage as Pedcor co-chariman/founder Bruce Cordingley looks on. (Submitted photo)

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard speaks at the groundbreaking for the new parking garage as Pedcor co-chariman/founder Bruce Cordingley looks on. (Submitted photo)

The City of Carmel and Pedcor teamed up for a groundbreaking on May 12 for a new parking garage to support further development of the Carmel City Center.

Part of “phase two” of the City Center, the private-public partnership led to Park East, a five-story $13.9 million parking garage that will have at least 725 spaces and approximately 28,000 square feet of commercial retail/office space.

When the new parking garage was originally proposed for a vote of the Carmel City Council in 2014, the plans were for around 620 spaces over four stories at a cost of up to $20 million.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the project came in at a cost of $11 million for the garage so it was decided to increase the garage’s size.

“We had a budget coming out of the TIF (tax increment finance) funds for the parking garage and we used a process allowed under state law that we never used before called ‘design/build’ which allows the contractor more say in the structural design of the project,” Brainard said. “It was, in essence, different firms competing for it and the winner, the low bidder, came in substantially below budget. Millions below budget. So we had an additional $2 million to add another 200-something parking spaces and add another story on it and still stay under budget.”

The debt ended up being more than $15 million in municipal bonds. Carmel Redevelopment Commission members insisted there are many layers that protect taxpayers from any risk of debt associated but some city councilors at the time expressed concerns about a special benefits tax used as protection to secure the bonds. The bonds were passed up to $20 million on a 4-3 vote in December 2014. Two of those votes against were from members no longer on the council.

Park East is on west side of the Nash Building, 720 S. Range Line Road, next to Graeter’s Ice Cream and Endeavor Boutique. The Carmel City Center is a 1 million square foot, $300 million, mixed-use development along Range Line Road and City Center Drive.

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