UP Aims to Bury Snider Plaza Parking Problem

About a half-acre on Haynie Avenue could offer at least a partial solution to parking challenges at Snider Plaza, University Park officials say.

To provide parking for employees of Snider Plaza businesses, the city would replace the vacant apartment buildings on the 22,500-square-foot site with an underground garage.

“That seems to be where parking is going these days in University Park,” City Manager Robbie Corder said.

Corder envisions having attractive open space above ground with one or more levels of parking below.

“The city has struggled for years with trying to provide adequate parking in the Snider Plaza retail area,” Corder said.

The City Council on Jan. 17 tentatively agreed to purchase two and a half lots from SPC Hillcrest LP for $3.25 million and put down $50,000 in earnest money.

The purchase contract includes a 60-day inspection period — twice the typical length — to give city officials time to meet with the Commercial-Retail Advisory Committee and the SMU Land Sale Reserve Committee, Corder told council members.

City staff would also meet with Snider Plaza merchants and property owners about the project and the potential for their employees to use the new parking, he said. “Meeting with those groups will be important toward the success of that goal.”

Those meetings will also help city staff determine whether to propose charging Snider Plaza employees to park in the garage and how large a garage to propose, Corder said.

Underground parking costs about $25,000 to $30,000 a spot and the proposed property could accommodate about 50 parking spaces per level, he said.

City staff proposes paying for the land purchase and garage construction with money collected from the sale of rights of way during the development of the President George W. Bush Center, the complex at SMU that includes the presidential library and museum.

There’s about $15 million in the SMU Land Sale Reserve, Corder said.

Under the land purchase agreement, SPC Hillcrest would be responsible for demolition and removal of the existing buildings, while the city would handle replatting of the lots at 3432 and 3428 Haynie and half the lot at 3424 Haynie into one property.

There’s no timetable yet for building the garage, but Corder said he hopes it would mirror the Park Plaza construction schedule.

The nearby Park Plaza development, which will replace the old Chase Bank building at Hillcrest and Daniel with a six-floor tower featuring office, restaurant, and retail spaces, is expected to have 490 underground parking spots, according to uptexas.org.

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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