Downtown Bowling Green continues to thrive and grow, with the latest example of that fact coming with the recent news that apartments will soon be built around the downtown parking garage.
Plans for the parking garage always called for apartments or condominiums to be built on the now-vacant College Street side of the structure.
The parking garage opened in 2013 as construction continued on the “wrap” around the structure. A year later, the mixed-used development, now called Stadium Park Plaza, opened on the Bowling Green Ballpark side of the garage.
That development has been a robust addition to the downtown landscape, offering assorted establishments that have enhanced the area. Additionally, the free parking garage has offered needed parking for the many downtown events, from Bowling Green Hot Rods games to concerts at Circus Square Park and the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center.
What has been missing is the long-planned residential component of the wrap. That should soon be coming to an end.
At a recent meeting of the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority, needed easements and agreements for the project were approved. The easements and agreements include allowing access from the planned apartments into the parking garage structure, use of garage elevators and having some parking spots be designated for those renting the apartments.
The 855-car garage should still have plenty of parking spaces for the general public.
The 80 or so apartments are being built by a group of developers headed by Mike Vitale and Steve Sutton, who have built other downtown apartments in recent years. Vitale’s and Sutton’s development group has recently constructed the Vue and Lenox Place apartment complexes downtown, with another apartment project underway at Chestnut Street and Seventh Avenue.
Authority Chairman Doug Gorman said the development “is a big-time project finally coming to fruition.”
The downtown Tax Increment Financing District has seen more than $300 million in private development since it began more than a decade ago. The promise of the effort was that residential would follow the other developments as downtown became an attractive place to live.
Completing the wrap and bringing another 80 residential units to downtown will be a milestone achievement in the ongoing effort to remake downtown Bowling Green into a thriving work, play and live location.