Newark hopes to obtain parking lot property

By Tom Lehman 12:46am, July 9, 2013 - Updated 1:21pm, July 9, 2013
Newark Mayor Vance Funk discusses the possible acquisition of property that would be used for new parking garage.
Newark's mayor says the city is inching closer to a deal that could lead to the construction of a long-awaited parking garage.

WDEL's Tom Lehman has more.

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Newark Mayor Vance Funk says the city is trying to purchase property at 51 E. Main Street from Exponential Development Group that could allow for the construction of a large-capacity and long-desired parking garage on Main Street. He says meetings between both parties have been scheduled to discuss the matter.

"We're in very active negotiations in trying to gain control of that property in a manner that will benefit both sides," Funk says.

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Funk says acquiring the property, which includes the access to the parking lot behind the Main Street Galleria and more than 50 parking spaces, would be important to the city.

He says Newark had received a statement in January stating the city's lease for the driveway would not be renewed and was set to expire in July. However, the agreement was recently extended for three months while the city and owner of the property discuss terms of a possible purchase.

"It helps us in regards with the parking garage, but more importantly we need to have the safety net that we can use that parking lot if we cannot afford to build a garage," he says.

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If a deal isn't struck by the time the deal expires in three months, the city could enter condemnation proceedings on the property.

"Everything's gotta be on the table," Funk says. "Condemnation makes everyone more reasonable."

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The property has been previously appraised as being worth more than $850,000, Funk says, and hopes negotiations for the purchase of the property would be reasonable.

"The negotiations are heading in the direction that they will get part of the second floor of the garage for office buildings or labs to support their university activities," he says.

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