A possible $125 million rehabilitation of the Civic Center arena could begin soon, with a proposed land lease of a portion of the surface parking lot at the edge of the 22-acre property.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is interested in leasing a 3-acre space on the grounds of the decades-old facility to relocate personnel to a single, six-story office building at Claiborne and Canal streets, city Chief of Staff James Barber told Lagniappe.
“It would be a multi-use office building,” he said. “Right now, they’ve got people scattered at multiple sites.”
The construction of an office building requires new zoning. Right now, the Civic Center property is part of a special district that doesn’t require zoning. The Mobile Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on this next month, which has prompted questions about the plans from various media outlets and members of the Mobile City Council.
Because the office building will take up a decent chunk of surface parking available at the site, the city is also planning to build a 1,000 to 1,200 spot parking deck at the location as well, Barber said.
No other plans for the site have been made public at this point. Populous, a company hired by the Mobile City Council to look at a possible renovation of the arena on site, has not made its final recommendation to the city yet, Barber said. However, the company has told the city that a total rehabilitation of the Civic Center arena would cost roughly $125 million. Barber said it’s important to keep that option open, as previous plans looked at only tearing it down and starting over.
“This looks at keeping it,” he said. “It’s important to put that on the table because there’s a lot of interest from various groups in keeping it.”
Since previous plans have fallen apart, Barber said, private developers have shown interest in the site, but none have presented proposals to the city.
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