LONDON, Ont. - Circling for parking in the heart of downtown London may soon be a thing of the past.
The municipal parking lot at 185 Queens Avenue is being pitched by city staff for a massive redevelopment.
The surface lot currently has 74 spaces, but a new Planning Department report recommends boosting the number of public spaces by partnering with a private developer to build a multi-level garage and mixed-use building.
Planner Michelle Knieriem says a recent parking study determined a demand for parking in specific parts of the downtown.
"Throughout the downtown we have a fair amount of parking, but there are certain areas, in the central and southwest, that in the future they may face parking deficits.”
City staff recommend first issuing a "request for qualifications" that will result in a short list of developers. The shortlisted developers would then pitch their designs through a "request for proposals."
Men’s clothier David E. White is excited about the possibility of more residents and more parking in the centre of downtown.
”Parking is still an important component of any core area, so finding something to be developed on that lot would be fantastic news,” White says.
The planning report requires that operations at the London Music Hall be addressed by any proposed development.
Mike Manuel says access to his box office and loading area are from Queens Avenue, “As long as we're considered, they don't want to block us in, we are in support of more residences downtown.”
The city's lot isn't the only vacant land with development potential in the area. A private parking lot at 199 Queens Avenue is adjacent to the municipal lot. It’s owned by Farhi Holdings.
When asked about the obvious development potential, Shmuel Farhi tells CTV News, "We're pleased to see the staff report going to the Planning and Environment Committee. We look forward to this process unfolding."
City staff’s recommendation to partner with a developer to build a public parking garage and mixed-use building at 185 Queens Avenue will be discussed by the Planning Committee on Monday.