In an effort to free up precious parking space, Whitefish Bay will contribute $277,000 to the restoration of a neglected 24-stall parking lot under the Fox Bay Building.
In exchange, the village will get public parking access to 20 surface parking stalls currently reserved for tenants and employees of the Fox Bay Building. The surface lot will remain under New Land's ownership.
The Whitefish Bay Village Board on Monday night unanimously approved a development agreement that would give New Land Enterprises, owner of the Fox Bay Building, $277,000 of the estimated $300,000 project cost to restore the now-unusable underground parking lot. Trustee Lauri Rollings was absent.
That will allow New Land to lodge its tenants' vehicles below ground while freeing up its surface space behind the building for the public.
As part of the development agreement, New Land is obligated to keep the underground lot in use for 20 years. Trustees asked Village Attorney Chris Jaekels to negotiate with New Land and extend the agreement to 25 years.
Jaekels said the sum of additional parking will be needed to make up for the temporary parking shortage created by the construction of The Mandel Group's 100-unit apartment development, which is expected to break ground in February. The development agreement states the underground parking renovations must be completed by Feb. 15, or at the very latest, April 1.
"After it's done, if you take into consideration these stalls going back into use, combined with the net loss from Mandel, we'll actually have a net gain in parking," Jaekels said.
Jaekels said New Land objected to The Mandel Group's apartment development because it would create parking shortages for tenants and their customers. The village held several closed-door negotiation sessions with New Land Enterprises, which refused to pay for the restoration of the underground parking lot.
In the end, the village agreed to pay for 92 percent of the project cost, with any additional costs to be incurred by New Land.
"We decided it was in the village's best interest to get that parking lot up and running again, and no bank was going to lend them the money," Jaekels said.
The public funds are coming from the village's first tax-incremental finance district, created about 10 years ago. The $300,000 project cost would fix the parking structure's water damage, electrical problems, ventilation and other issues.
Under the development agreement, New Land is able to decide how the 24 underground parking spaces will be allocated among building tenants and customers. New Land may also charge rent for the underground parking, as long as the rent prices don't lead to an underutilization of the lot.
New Land will also repaint the lines of the 20-stall surface parking lot directly behind the Fox Bay Building. The village will make that parking lot a two-hour public parking lot without any further restrictions from New Land, which will maintain ownership of the lot.
The village will pay New Land incrementally as work is completed. If New Land does not hold up its end of the development agreement, the village will have an option to purchase the surface level parking for $1.