February 15, 2022,

City Council to Vote on Hillman Garage Project
Mark Kleinschmidt

For many years the Annapolis business community and city residents have talked about replacing the Hillman Garage and argued about the future redevelopment of City Dock.  The decaying condition of the garage and the increased frequency of flooding at City Dock have pushed both projects to the front burner. The City Council is about to take a vote on Resolution 9-22 which will set in motion the process to build a new garage in March and after the Hillman garage is completed, the process to redevelop City Dock will begin.  Most importantly, the passing of this ordinance will move Annapolis into the future.

The Resolution will authorize the City to enter into a contract with Annapolis Mobility and Resilience Partners, LLC (AMRP) to finance, design, build and operate the new garage.  The new garage will expand parking spaces from 425 spaces to 590 spaces, and will include improvements such as electric vehicle chargers, gateless entry and exit, robust storm water management, and parking space availability information.

The estimated cost for the garage is $21.8 million. The estimated cost for City Dock is estimated at $34.2 million. With a total cost is $56 million, this is the largest  construction project in the City’s history. The Hillman Garage project will be self-funded as part of a public-private partnership with AMRP, and the City Dock project will be partially funded with proceeds from the garage project.

The designs for the new garage have already been approved by the  City’s Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission. By using the Private-Public Partnership process, the garage can be built more rapidly and it will also create an opportunity to re-think mobility in the City and help obtain funding for the City Dock project.

Getting to this point did not happen overnight, it has been a two-and half-year process that included the City Dock Action Committee which brought together hundreds of stakeholders to share their concerns and ideas. Concerned citizen, downtown business owners,  environmentalist and Historic Annapolis were all involved.  I was on the Committee and learned a lot about the different parking needs in the downtown area. Residents, shoppers, diners and tourist all have different parking needs and a mobility plan must be put in place to address these needs.  There was one consensus from all different groups and that was: No net loss of parking.  The new garage will  make this happen.

You may ask yourself, who is AMRP? It is a very talented team of 10 separate companies and led by Hunt and Amber Infrastructure who was selected through a competitive procurement process by the City.  The other member firms of the AMRP team include: Hunt Companies (Developer), Treadwell Franklin and Sewall (Development Advisors and Program Managers), Whiting Turner (Design Build Contractor), BCT Architects (Master Planner), Walker Consultants (Lead Designer, Hillman Garage), WSP (Lead Designer, City Dock), Mahan Rykiel (Landscape Architect), Premium Parking (Parking Operator), and Via (Mobility Solutions).

Let’s be clear that the replacement of Hillman Garage will cause serious parking challenges but this has to be endured in order to  move forward.  To help mitigate the loss of parking capacity when the new garage is under construction, the AMRP has developed a mobility and marketing program that is called Access Annapolis. It will include new parking options and innovate electric trollies.  There will also be a significant increase of informational signage.

Time is of the essence to get started, so the Chamber encourages City Council to pass R-9-22 and get the construction process started.  Let’s get started on the road to the future as we take every step to preserve the past.