A rendering of the Tobin Center's proposed parking garage. Image courtesy of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Credit: Courtesy / Marmon Mok Architecture – Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

A $17.4 million, 500-spot parking garage is one step closer to opening for attendees of events and programs at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts after Bexar County Commissioners unanimously approved $5 million for its contribution toward the new garage on Tuesday.

Bexar County Performing Arts Center Board proposed that costs of the garage be split between the City and County in October 2015, but the new plan is to have the City match the County’s $5 million and have the board come up with the $7.4 million difference.

“The center has overwhelmingly become a success, but parking is a sore spot,” Tobin Endowment Chair J. Bruce Bugg Jr. told commissioners. The center has hosted more than 1,000 performances since its grand opening in Sept. 2014, and it has become a popular – and crowded – destination in downtown San Antonio.

The City and the County had previously agreed to pay for the design and construction of a $10 million parking garage, but unanticipated designs and construction were added to the plan, which now totals $17.4 million. The parking garage will be located adjacent to the the Tobin, at the corner of Fourth and Taylor Street.

An aerial view of the Tobin Center’s new parking garage location. Image courtesy of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Credit: Courtesy / Marmon Mok – Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

“We have served more than 450,000 people at the Tobin since we opened, so this will be highly utilized,” said Bugg, who thanked the commissioners for their investment “in the safety and convenience for the successful operation of the Tobin Center through this parking garage.”

The $5 million from the County will go into a general fund account for the Tobin, as will the $5 million expected from the City, said Mike Sculley, program director of Bexar County venues.

“The Tobin will be responsible for anything above $10 million in expenditures, meaning they are responsible for the more than $7 million plus balance. This (agreement) is not dissimilar to what we did with Toyota Field.”

The parking garage, designed by Marmon Mok, will provide potential retail space on its lowest floor, but will primarily be used for parking. The design will complement the historic area and alleviate heavy traffic, the board members said.

“We’ve already done preliminary work, the design is completed, and the HDRC (Historic and Design Review Commission) has approved the project,” said Tom Stephenson, chair of the Tobin’s Parking Committee. “Once we get the go-ahead from the County and the City … we can begin the process and hopefully break ground in 30 days.”

Construction will take about a year, and the parking garage is expected to open by mid-to-fall 2017, said Stephen Souter, managing partner at Marmon Mok. Plans for the parking structure have been in the works for more than three years, but the board and the amended agreement with the County and City have put the plans back on track.

The board will likely present their plans to Mayor Taylor and City Council on Thursday, where they will ask for the other half of the contribution.

Following the vote, County Judge Nelson Wolff congratulated the Tobin for the being named the number one theater in Texas, and the number one theater under 2,000 seats in the world.

“This is a pretty incredible achievement,” Wolff said. “Looking forward to seeing this continue and grow.”

This story was originally published on Tuesday, May 3.

Top Image: A rendering of the Tobin Center’s proposed parking garage. Image courtesy of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. 

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Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson, a former reporter at the Rivard Report, is a Texas native who has lived in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. She enjoys exploring new food and culture events. More by Lea Thompson

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