Flanked by state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), state Assemblyman Jimmy Meng (D-Flushing) and officials of the Flushing Business Improvement District, Liu confirmed the three finalists are Silvercup Studios, Rockefeller TDC and Vornado Trust Realty at a news conference last Thursday.The group met to discuss new rates and solutions to the potential parking shortage associated with the development of the congested downtown area's 1,100-space parking lot.In the original Request For Proposals in February 2004, the EDC set a requirement that at least 825 parking spaces must be incorporated into whatever development replaces the municipal parking lot on Union Street between 37th and 39th avenues."Very quickly all of the RFPs in Flushing said that's okay, but 825 parking spaces is a lot less than what we have currently, so we made it very clear that there needs to be at least 1,100 spaces," Liu said.All three of the current proposals contain plans for between 1,800 and 2,000 parking spaces.In an effort to provide incentives to local businesses, Liu said the cost of parking in the new lot will have to be hiked. As a result, the BIDs would get a percentage from the parking revenues.Parking in Municipal Lot 1 currently costs $1 per hour and $4 per day. Although the BID should ultimately decide the price, Liu said he expects rates to increase exponentially depending on the amount of time a car spends in the new lot.He suggested rates of $1 per hour for the first three hours and $3 per hour for the use of the parking spot after that."The local businesses have always said they want to encourage people to not park there for the whole day," Liu said. "They want to encourage people to come to Flushing, park, spend lots of money, and then leave so other people can come and park and spend lots of money in Flushing."Stavisky said the new development will be a profit-making venture for local businesses and the Flushing economy."We have a unique opportunity here in Flushing that doesn't come along very often," she said. "We have empty space, and we've got to make sure that that space is used properly for the benefit of the community."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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