Parking garage rendering

A rendering of a new parking garage planned by the city to be built at the northeastern corner of Fourth Street and Central Avenue in downtown Temple.

Temple is now cementing its drive to get more people visiting its downtown after funding two new additions to its skyline.

The new additions are a pair of multi-story parking garages that will add 650 new spaces for people wanting to visit downtown.

The Temple City Council unanimously approved the $17.1 million guaranteed maximum price for the project earlier this month. This paves the way for both parking garages to start construction next month.

David Olson, assistant city manager for Temple, said the contract to build the structures is with Houston-based SpawGlass Construction.

“We’ve anticipated all along about an 11-month construction process,” Olson said. “So … we would anticipate construction beginning in early November and substantial completion in September of next year.”

The first of the two garages will be on Fourth Street at its intersection with East Central Avenue, opposite the Hawn Hotel. The second garage will be at the intersection of First Street and Avenue A.

City officials said the garage on Fourth Street will include 415 parking spaces, some of which will be reserved for residents of the renovated Hawn Hotel, will rise six stories and cost about $10.8 million.

Olson said he expects both garages to be completed about six months before the renovation of the Hawn Hotel and Arcadia Theater are done.

The First Street parking garage will be the smaller of the two structures, with three stories and 235 spaces, and have an estimated cost of $6.3 million.

Olson said the city also has factored in more than $751,000, or about 5% of the project’s cost, into the budgeted $17.1 million “for any kind of unforeseen circumstances that come up during construction.”

“As you are all well aware, any construction project has those hiccups that come up along the way,” Olson said. “There are a lot of unforeseen (circumstances), and that would cover those costs.”

Any money left over money from these contingency funds at the end of the project will return to the city.

Also included in the project is an additional $1.9 million to fund the First Street Underground Electric Project. The project will move overhead power lines in the area underground.

City spokeswoman Kiara Nowlin said the relocation of these power lines is a part of the parking garage project due to lines in the alley near the First Street garage.

Temple Mayor pro tem Judy Morales, whose district includes the two garages, said she was happy to see the project moving forward.

Morales said the garages will free up more space downtown, bringing in more people and giving businesses more incentive to move in.

“I think it is going to be a whole new downtown actually,” Morales said. “I have lived in Temple all my life and there was a period where there was not much going on downtown. But now, due to the investments of a lot of private businesses and city partnerships, I think it is making a big difference.”