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Da Vinci’s exit from Easton won’t affect plans for a Fourth Street garage, mayor says

Despite Da Vinci pulling plans for a science center from Easton last week, Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said a 350-400-spot parking garage behind the Easton Public Market on North Fourth Street is still in the works.“There’s no reason to delay the Fourth Street garage,” Panto said Tuesday, explaining that even without the proposed science center on South Third Street, there are other developments going on in the city that will necessitate additional parking.Last month, City Council approved an agreement to sell city-owned land at 56 N. Third St. to be developed into a 70-unit apartment building. That complex, to be constructed by Perone Development of Bethlehem, will require 100 parking spaces, Panto said.On South Third Street, Hearst Publishing’s plans to move into the former Heritage Lanes building will eventually take 175 parking spaces from the garage at City Hall, he added.The city recently contracted with Walker Parking Consultants of Wayne, which told City Council last month that even if the Da Vinci project doesn’t happen, it’s likely the city-owned, 3-acre parcel at 185 S. Third St. will be the site of some other development.“Three acres in a downtown setting is a great problem to have. It’s the entrance to our city. It’s a great parcel,” Panto said.He will set up a committee of a dozen community members and business leaders to review proposals for the site. A request for proposals is expected to go out within the next two to three months.The Walker study also suggested the city’s aging 569-spot Pine Street Parking Garage could be replaced with a 720-spot garage for $14.4 million.City officials would proceed with the North Fourth Street garage first because they would need parking for those displaced when the Pine Street garage is torn down, which includes visitors to the downtown Crayola Experience.Depending on what type of development goes at South Third Street, plans for the eventual Pine Street redevelopment could be changed, Panto said. For example, the garage could be rebuilt to have less parking and a larger commercial element in a prime downtown location.In the meantime, city administrators continue to focus their efforts on a North Fourth Street garage, which includes investigating whether it will be developed by a private developer or the city.Morning Call reporter Christina Tatu can be reached at 610-820-6583 or ctatu@mcall.com
Source: Morningcall

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