Marina plans fuel discussions of parking possibilities

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 1, 2013 

As the city ponders redevelopment of the Beaufort Downtown Marina, parking plans also are getting pushed to the forefront.

That's because a water sports center at the marina, which City Council added to the city's master plan this past fall, could gobble many of the current spaces there.

As soon as next week, the Redevelopment Commission could begin soliciting ideas and letters of interest from developers who would like to build on the marina property, according to chairman Jon Verity.

The city's master plan calls for a parking garage two streets away at Port Republic Square, a block bounded by West, Craven and Charles streets.

But that property is in private hands.

The bulk of it is owned by the estates of Flora Trask and Martha Tucker and includes a paid-parking lot. Heirs are aggressively marketing the property to developer, according to Flora Trask's grandson, John Trask III.

Ideally, most of the block -- except for the Scheper House, which is owned by someone not affiliated with the estates -- would be sold in one piece, Trask said. It is being listed at $3.4 million, he added.

Drawings and designs that show how Port Republic Square could be redeveloped are being used as part of the effort to sell it. They depict commercial and residential property along the streets and a four-story, 300-space parking garage in the middle.

"We wanted to come up with a rough marketing plan to show developers what could be done," he said. "... It would hide the parking garage. You don't want to see the parking garage."

Trask, though, doubts a garage is needed now.

It would only be needed if the marina is developed, Verity said.

The master plan notwithstanding, Verity said a parking garage could be built elsewhere. Developer Dick Stewart of 303 Associates has discussed a parking garage on his property at the intersection of Port Republic and Scott streets, according to Verity.

"We've always had the Port Republic Square in our plan as a parking place," Verity said, "but that's not in our hands."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

Beaufort seeks ideas to develop downtown marina, Jan. 15, 2013

Beaufort residents imagine a creative future for downtown, March 29, 2011

Beaufort downtown visionairies aren't going to worry about cost -- yet, April 1, 2011

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