A study commissioned by New Bern and released in 2007 made several recommendations to improve Downtown New Bern’s parking situation. A parking structure was not among the recommendations, but was mentioned as an aside.
The report by Lanier Parking Solutions recommended against adding paid parking downtown, unless the city built a parking structure, in which case it would need to have paid parking to pay for the construction costs.
If a parking structure was considered, it recommended one of four locations:
- Within the “super block” between Middle, South Front, Craven and Pollock streets.
- The city lot at 100 Craven St.
- The Farmers Market
- Behind the O. Marks building at 300 Middle Street.
More recently, a UNC School of Government study recommended that the city build a parking structure at the intersection of Craven and Pollock streets, across the street from City Hall.
That plan would create a five-story parking garage that could also include residences or a hotel plus other commercial space. It requires the county to contribute land now occupied by the County Tax Office on Pollock Street and for the city to acquire an adjacent privately owned parking called the Stubbs property.
City officials say the Craven at Pollock parking structure would add about 200 parking spaces to the 121 already there.
A hotel would have about 156 rooms and 12,000 square feet of commercial space and would cost $38.5 million to develop. The residential option would add about 63 units and cost $21.5 million to develop. Both scenarios would create a parking structure with 321 spaces.
Both scenarios require the city to partner with private developers and would take about 15 years before they turn a profit, and 21-26 years before they payoff development debt.