BURBANK -- Design concepts for a parking garage in downtown Walla Walla range from a structure anywhere from three to five stories housing from 89 to 208 stalls, according to a presentation made in a Port of Walla Walla meeting.
Project engineers with USKH Inc. told Port officials in November they're about halfway through the concept design on a multilevel parking structure for the city-owned lot between Macy's and Alder Street. Based on initial exploration, the cost for the various options could run from $3.8 million to upward of $6 million.
Though it's anyone's guess whether the structure could be financed, the plan is intended to help explore possibilities to curbing downtown Walla Walla's parking woes.
"An elevated parking lot has been talked about for decades," Port Executive Director Jim Kuntz said.
But missing from the conversations have been details about the size of a potential garage, number of parking spaces and cost estimates so officials can then determine what would be needed to turn the vision into a reality.
The parking issue was the subject of additional scrutiny last year when the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation conducted a parking study. The study said more than 2,200 employees work downtown every day. But only 1,264 parking spaces are available.
The foundation's parking committee submitted a report of possible solutions that included everything from improving the visibility of signs marking existing free lots to what's proven to be the most elusive solution of all: a parking complex.
Led by Port Commission President Mike Fredrickson, the Port stepped in over the summer to help with the exploration of a design concept. The Port hired USKH to create the structure concepts at the city's lot.
USKH project manager Dan Karas presented three options for the approach into and out of a parking garage off Alder Street.
He also offered four layout options. Some included a retail component on the ground level. Variations included different numbers for compact and standard spaces, and different options for parking either on ramps or leveled floors.
"It is a fairly tight site for a garage," Karas said.
Though about halfway done with the concept design, numerous details are still left to be determined, including which configuration to choose. Without that, there's no telling how many parking spaces would be added or what the final costs would be. But here are a couple of details that have emerged:
Based on the range of configurations presented to the Port, a potential structure would add a minimum of 89 spaces to the existing 64. The largest option would more than quadruple the current number with 272 spots.
The overall price range would be between $20,000 and $30,000 per stall, or $50 to $60 per square foot. Parking stalls would be squared versus angled for the most efficient use of space.
Port commissioners Thursday favored further renderings on the option that offered no retail space on the ground floor.
Kuntz emphasized the Port has no intention of running a parking structure and would have no ownership of it. The design work is simply to help provide information for officials as they move forward.
USKH officials said Thursday the next step in the process will be to continue working on renderings to show what a structure might look like from the street.
Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8321.