AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — The Old Regions Bank on Chesterfield Street in Aiken is expected to be the city’s new administration building. City leaders are already working to figure out what needs to be changed. “We talked about several things at that meeting,” Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
Work has already started, and it’s expected to be completed in a year. The City will purchase the building after the project is done. “The City is keeping all options open, but at this time we are, you know, because of the, um, revenues affected by the pandemic,” Bedenbaugh added.
At a recent work session, members of Council discussed changes to the property including keeping or not keeping the balcony on the building and talks of a connector from a parking area to the building. “Most likely the walkway would go into the third floor of the municipal of the new municipal building, which is where the chambers would be located,” he said.
Which could mean a parking garage in the surface lot next to the building and behind the Playhouse could be on the horizon. Leaders say the plan for the possible $4 million garage is still on the table, but if approved, they want to blend in with the surrounding buildings. It will be not be substantially taller than any of the buildings already in the area.
“You’re looking at a three-level garage of approximately 190 spaces. The first two levels would be covered a second. The third level would be open, sort of rooftop parking or uncovered parking,” Bedenbaugh added.
Officials believe we will see a more business options where a parking garage could come in handy. “The pandemic has affected in-person commerce and restaurants and other kinds of retail. The while we’ve seen a downward turn, we believe that there’ll be kind of a long-term uptick. We’ve expanded the downtown businesses zoning, we’ll see more infill of existing parcels,” he added.
The funding for that would come from the hospitality tax fee, which is levied on all restaurant meals and prepared foods that purchase in the City.
None of the plans are set in stone at this time. “I think the way staff will be proceeding is when we’re ready to look at a design that would have an option or an incorporation of a walkway, leading from the garage into the building,” the city manager said.
Council is expected to continue discussions by mid-year 2021.