The City of Ocala is seeking approval of a $256,000 contract for the purchase of a .29-acre parcel of land that would complete the acquisition of the Mt. Moriah block in support of the city’s second parking garage project.
The contract, which is between the City of Ocala and IOM, LLC, will be presented to members of the Ocala City Council for approval or denial during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 18.
In September of 2022, the city completed the closing of the Mt. Moriah parcels for the future site of a second parking garage. This land, which consists of six parcels totaling 1.62 acres, fronts on SW Broadway, SW 2nd Avenue, SW 3rd Avenue, and SW Fort King Street.
In order for the second parking garage to occupy the entire block, the city is seeking ownership of the .29-acre parcel located at the northwest corner of SW 3rd Avenue and SW Broadway Street. This location has been used for surface parking since the site’s building was demolished in 2010.
City staff is recommending approval of the contract between the City of Ocala and IOM, LLC for the sale and purchase of the .29-acre parcel. If the city council members agree with that recommendation during this week’s regularly scheduled meeting, then the city will purchase this parcel for $256,575.
The proposed contract includes a parking agreement entitling the seller and its successors in interest to 20 parking spaces for tenants and customers from the date of the closing until the competition of the parking garage’s construction.
In addition, the seller would be granted 25 parking spaces in the completed parking garage at no cost for the first five years, followed by a subsequent five-year renewal term at a discounted rate that is equal to 50% of the prevailing market rate.
On February 16, 2022, the city held two public meetings to provide additional information and to obtain feedback about the future location of the second parking garage. During those meetings, which both had over 30 attendees, the city manager and staff gave a PowerPoint presentation that outlined the methodology that went into selecting the proposed parking garage’s location.
According to the city, general feedback during those public meetings was positive, though some residents voiced concerns about existing vagrancy issues and the impacts on the site’s historic nature.
City staff stated during the public meetings that the future construction of the garage would include infrastructure improvements that would enhance visibility and safety, and a monument or plaque could be worked into the parking garage’s design to reference the site’s historical nature.
According to city records, the proposed second parking garage is currently in the planning and design phase, and it is scheduled to be completed in late 2024.