Christian Street Garage - public art

This rendering shows the facade with public art proposed for the Christian Street Garage overlooking Ewell Plaza.

At $28 million for 300 parking spaces, give or take, the Christian Street Garage will cost more than $90,000 per space. 

That’s more than three times as much as a parking garage built on an open, unencumbered site. Those will typically cost a little over $20,000 per space, possibly as much as $30,000 per space, according to industry studies.

Of course, normal garages don’t include a two-story library. That’s $5 million right there, plus another $700,000 for additional soundproofing and fireproofing, according to figures from Benchmark Construction.

In addition, there are other factors that make the Christian Street project unusually challenging, and raises costs accordingly, construction professionals and city officials said.

Andy Gilburg of Benchmark detailed other costs unique to the project. They total $15 million, more than half the budget.

In addition, he said, there are logistical costs such as street closures and traffic control. Then there are overall increased costs resulting from the site’s small size, urban setting and extremely close proximity to its neighbors — just inches, in the case of the Holiday Inn Lancaster.

Randy Patterson, former city director of economic development and neighborhood revitalization, said there’s a role for the public sector in taking on beneficial projects that the private sector can’t.

When you look at the overall investment in Ewell Plaza, including private capital underwriting the Holiday Inn Lancaster and 101NQ, “in my opinion, that balances out the added expense,” Patterson said.