A new, two-story parking facility may help alleviate the parking nightmare in Westchester Square.
Recently a 150-space parking garage opened for business at 2510 Westchester Avenue. The facility will accommodate parking for the newly renovated medical/office building adjacent to it. Manhattan Parking Group will operate the lot. Spaces will be available from five minutes up to a month.
“Hhere’s an abundance of parking that people can pay for on an hourly, weekly, monthly basis and they also have a valet service available. The benefit is thatthe lot iwon’t always be full, so people that need to visit the area can use this parking facility,” said Joe Kelleher, president of the Hutchinson Metro Center, the real estate company that owns and manages the property.
“My understanding from listening to the merchants is that parking has always been an issue at Westchester Square. The area has been very congested and as a result it has had a very negative effect on merchants. Hopefully our parking structure will help alleviate that problem, especially during the weekend and off-hours when people shop at the Square.”
When the company purchased the roughly 60,000-square foot property about a year ago, the facility was a call center for Verizon, with a small parking facility at the rear of the building. Mr. Kelleher said the main reason for purchasing the property was to turn the building into a mixed-use facility for office and medical space. During the renovation process, the development added a second deck of parking to the garage.
The 30,000-square-foot facility will likely be opened up entirely to the public at night, after the office and medical staff have left for the day, Kelleher said. The operating company is still exploring price structures and space availability.
According to Greg Perry, president of the Westchester Square Merchants Association, more parking spaces should improve business and walking traffic for the area. Perry said parking has become so bad in the area that at least two businesses have recently folded as a direct result of potential customers not being able to find parking.
One of the main factors leading to congestion in the area is that city vehicles from the Department of Motor Vehicles occupy most of the public parking intended for business patrons, Perry said.
But with the new Westchester Avenue facility completed, the city is looking into possibly moving their vehicles into the new garage, he said.
“Say you want to buy a sandwich, where do you go?” he asked. “Our objective is to constantly stay on the move by building a flow for our customers and our businesses. This will definitely alleviate some of the problems, at least for the businesses. It’ll give them a parking lot to send their customers.”