550 new parking spaces are coming to the State Street garage. The $9 million project has a target start of April of 2018.
The project should take about a year to 18 months, but the good news -- it'll add 50 percent more spaces.
"We have such a demand for parking downtown it's really amazing. With all the new residents, we've sort of gotten ourselves into a parking bind at times,” said City of Knoxville Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett.
In order to fix that bind, Knoxville leaders approved a plan to add two and a quarter floors to the State Street garage.
"It’s starting to stifle some of our economic development just a little bit,” Emmett said.
The move is designed to help those who work, live, and play in downtown.
"That garage by Market Square fills up really fast, so I think it would be beneficial to build more parking spaces,” explained UT student Rebecca Isles.
In total, Downtown Knoxville has more than 5000 parking spaces.
Right now downtown's three biggest garages – Market Square, State Street and Locust have 800, 1,100, and 700 parking spaces respectively. Adding two floors to State Street adds 500 spaces bringing it up over 1,600.
"Certainly the top deck of the garage will be out of service at that time, that's about 240 spaces out of an 1,100 car garage,” said Emmett.
This isn't the first big construction project at the State Street garage. The city gave up 200 spaces to build an overpass connecting the garage to Gay Street.
Adding two more floors to the top of the garage might not be the finish line for this project, either.
"We've done enough investigation to reveal we can add another quarter level of parking on top of what we have today of residential or office in the future,” Emmett said.
The city's plans will put the parking addition project up for bid before it'll have a concrete idea of when to start. Once that project is close to being done, they'll look at starting a project of adding a mixed use property above it.