Ted Siefer's City Hall: Downtown parking spaces become pressing matter
The Bedford lot is the more desirable property, in the heart of the Millyard, and it has been the subject of months of study by a Florida consultant hired by the city. Is there demand for parking in the area? Yes, there is, the consultant, Peter Flotz of the Lansing Melbourne Group, concluded. Is the site suitable for a large multi-story building? Yes, it is.
No, Castagna insists. The other parties were "unsolicited," he said. "They came to me through business contacts."
Castagna notes that the concept for student housing in the area grew out roundtable discussions he led five years ago, concerning how to revitalize the northern stretch of Elm Street downtown. Castagna said Vitas approached him earlier in the year about the student housing concept, and the Pearl Street site seemed like a natural fit.
As the meeting approached, Castagna said, he felt an obligation to let the aldermen know that other companies interested in the site had more experience in what was a unique and novel form of development, private student housing. One was ready to pay quite a bit more than Vitas had offered for the lot. Attempts to reach Vitas were unsuccessful.
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