Preston Center Garage Could Get Funding

Dallas’ billion-dollar bond package, if approved Nov. 7, would address several projects in Preston Hollow, providing, most notably, $10 million to help tear down and replace a much-debated 60-year-old parking garage at Preston Center.

There’s not yet a price estimate for the project.

Nor is there an actual set plan about what the new parking structure would look like, said District 13 Dallas City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates.

“It’s been a challenge because the community was like, ‘I want a garage and a park would be great,’ and the stakeholders that immediately surround it were like, ‘What would that do [to business] during construction, people wouldn’t [want to] park underneath, and they want a surface lot,’” she said. “So we’re trying to marry those.”

District 13, which zigzags North Dallas between Interstate 635 and Northwest Highway – and as low as Mockingbird Lane in some neighborhoods, would see about $56 million if all 10 bond propositions pass.

While the billion dollar package tackles myriad of city issues, from streets to housing needs, Gates’ district only has projects in the streets, parks, and flood control propositions.

[pullquote-left]“If we can’t get it done, the money can be instead used for streets.” -Jennifer Staubach Gates[/pullquote-left]

About 18 percent of its total proposed dollars will go toward what’s been described as an eyesore in Preston Hollow.

The parking garage at Preston Center is one of several projects in Proposition A, which is earmarked for street projects.

Council members were given discretionary funds during bond deliberations to allot as they preferred.

Gates said she could have split the dollars into the economic development or drainage bond proposals but decided to put them all into streets to avoid losing some of the money should one of the other bonds not pass.

“I know I used my economic development dollars toward the parking garage because that’s an economic driver,” Gates said, explaining why she allocated discretionary funding to Prop A instead of toward economic development, Prop I, which could also have been used for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, or transit-oriented development.

If Prop A passes, the North Central Texas Council of Government (NCTCOG) plans to match funding for the parking garage and has identified an additional $20 million in private investors for the project, said Karla Weaver, project manager for the NCTCOG.

Gates said the next step, after the bond election, is to meet with stakeholders to see if they can come up with a solid design and funding plan for the garage.

“If we can’t get it done, the money can be instead used for streets,” she said.

According to preliminary plans, the changes to the Preston Center garage will double the capacity of the current garage, add street-level parking, and create a pedestrian-friendly environment. A surface-level park would sit on top of the new garage.

Weaver said Walker Consultants has been hired to reconvene with regional stakeholders to hash out more accurate specifications for the project. Walker, she said, was behind the Houston parking garage and community park Midtown. Midtown required $18 million for the parking garage and $14 million for a green space and restaurant above.

Beyond the money set aside for the Preston Center garage, the majority of dollars spent in District 13 will focus on street repairs — something Gates called a top priority across the city due to deferred maintenance.

District 13 doesn’t have any projects in the City Facilities or Cultural and Performing Arts bond propositions, which includes things such as constructing a new storage facility for mosquito abatement and adding ADA restrooms to the Bath House Cultural Center.


NOVEMBER 7 PROPOSITIONS

Ten propositions totaling $1.05 billion are backed by current revenue and will not require a property tax rate hike.

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Proposition A
Streets and Transportation: $533,981,000

Proposition B
Parks and Recreation: $261,807,000

Proposition C
Fair Park: $50,000,000
Proposition D
Flood Control and Storm Drainage: $48,750,000

Proposition E
Library Facilities: $15,589,000
[/column]

[column size=”one-half” last=”true”]

Proposition F
Cultural and Performing Arts Facilities: $14,235,000

Proposition G
Public Safety Facilities: $32,081,000

Proposition H
City Facilities: $18,157,000

Proposition I
Economic Development: $55,400,000

Proposition J
Homeless Assistance Facilities: $20,000,000
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