City council hoping to buy car parks
The Invercargill City Council is looking to spend more than a $1 million on buying car parks, despite selling one last year.
The council hopes to buy numbers 102, 104 and 131 Esk St, all of which it is currently leasing.
Properties 102 and 104 Esk St, opposite the Invercargill City Council civic building, are both vital to the inner-city upgrade plan, earmarked as a market space in precinct four of the plan.
The two car parks, with a current combined valuation of $465,000, according to the city council website, are currently used for council cars.
Council roading manager Russell Pearson said the council hoped to buy the three lots because having parking space was important to the CBD upgrade and was needed in the city.
The council would enter into negotiations with the property owners about buying the land, he said.
A supplementary report at the council's Tuesday meeting says it is willing to pay up to 10 per cent above the current rating valuations.
The two properties opposite the council are owned by the ILT, and 161 Esk St, which is a gravel car park in the next block, is owned by the Ministry of Justice, Mr Pearson said.
The gravel park was "generally full" and a vital park for inner-city workers; it was also close to the proposed family space on the corner of Deveron and Esk streets in the inner-city master plan.
The gravel car park currently made the council $24,000 annually, he said.
But buying car parks was not about making money, it was about ensuring the council had long term car parks for the city, he said.
Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King defended last year's sale of the Don St car park because by selling it, it meant a company could build in the inner city, instead of on the periphery, something the council wanted to encourage.
The gravel Esk St car park was on a year-by-year lease and the council wanted to ensure the stability of the site, he said.
The site had previously been earmarked as a court house, but that plan fell through, meaning the council could ask to purchase the property. The council website says the land has a rateable value of $650,000.
"These are in Esk St and we believe they are a critical part of the precincts of the inner city upgrade," Mr King said.
As for the ILT-owned car parks, even if the council could not purchase them, Mr King said he was confident the ILT would be co-operative with the council.
"The ILT have obviously played a big part and taken a huge interest in the inner city upgrade," he said.
The properties would be bought using money from the council's off street parking account, Mr King said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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