Jordan city officials want to see new business downtown, but accessible parking continues to be a barrier for economic growth.
Last year alone, development of Delia's All-in-One was delayed and a proposal to relocate Bridge Church was denied by the Jordan City Council due to parking concerns.
In an effort to unlock the downtown district's economic potential, the city is exploring a proposal — in partnership with local businessman Tony Schmidt — to develop a parking lot in the 200 block of Broadway Street.
The proposal was discussed during a joint session of the Jordan City Council and Economic Development Authority last week.
"This is just concept level," City Administrator Tom Nikunen said. "The EDA has met and talked about this and they support the idea."
The parking lot would be built on a vacant lot owned by Schmidt, located behind 205 and 209 Broadway Street (The Pickled Pig Pub). Preliminary plans show the lot could support 35 parking stalls with access to Broadway Street between First Street and Water Street.
Councilman Jeff Will said it's a solution the city has needed for a long time.
"We've been complaining about parking in downtown forever ... if you look at downtown New Prague, on the north side, every one of those businesses has an alley behind them and that's where they have their parking," Will said.
Preliminary cost estimates price the project at $262,900. That figure includes land acquisition payments. The project would be paid for using EDA funds.
Nikunen also suggested paving an adjacent alley, in between Broadway and Mill Streets, that would provide access to the parking lot. The paving project is estimated to cost $70,000, based on past alley bids. That project would likely be paid for using city maintenance funds.
Altogether, that's just shy of $10,000 per stall.
EDA member Ryan Dahnert said it would be a good use of unmarketable property.
"If we do nothing I think that looks the same way for 20 years," Dahnert said. "Other than a parking lot what's that going to be?"
"We think it's going to totally rehab this whole block," Nikunen said.
In the meantime, Councilman Robert Whipps suggested putting up signage in the city council chambers parking lot on First Street, reminding drivers that the lot is designated for public parking on weekends.
Earlier in the meeting, EDA members Ryan Dahnert, Joe Thill and chairman Ron Jabs submitted a strategic plan to the council, outlining 2020 objectives in the EDA's mission to attract new business, cultivate existing business and improve the business environment in the community.
Top priorities include:
- Working with Scott County on the Highway 169 and 282 interchange plan.
- Implementing the downtown master plan.
- Market commercial and industrial properties.
- Conducting and acting on a market analysis.
- Conducting visioning sessions and research.
Council members asked for an update on the city-owned lot on El Dorado Drive that's being marketed to developers as a potential hotel site. Last year the city signed an agreement with a developer to explore the possibility of building a hotel. That fell through by the end of the summer. Nikunen said he's discussed the project with local banks, one of which said they have a group of potential investors in mind.
Even without a developer, the city is left with a market study that says a hotel is viable on the site.
"I think the study may not have had all the many, many hotels that came up in Shakopee recently, so maybe that is scaring (developers) away," Nikunen said.
Whipps said the proposal may not be as attractive as it once was, but he still believes it was a good investment for the city.
"I think a hotel is a great incubator," Whipps said. "If you have a hotel in there those other lots are going to go up for a premium and that area is going to develop rather quickly."
Whipps also said the city council has heard complaints that EDA spending and focus is limited to downtown district. But Joe Thill said recent business development, starting with Roets Brewery, has had a domino effect in town, leading to more boutiques, Delia's All-in-One and now a forthcoming winery on First Street.
"The wine bar, when that goes in watch what happens on this block," Thill said. "I would not be surprised if something else would pop up next door, much like at Roets — you've got all these other things popping up and they're staying open. When was the last time you saw people walking around downtown? Now it's crazy on a Saturday, there are people walking everywhere. It's been a lot of years since that's happened."