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VIP Parking Lot Closes; Work Begins on Two-Level Doylestown Garage

February 8, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larry R. King, 215-348-6413, lrking@buckscounty.org

Bucks County's employee parking lot at Broad and Court Streets in Doylestown will close at the end of business today, making way for construction of a two-deck parking garage that will more than double the available spaces. IMG_8920 (2)

By day the so-called “VIP Lot” has provided 73 parking spaces primarily for employees working at the Bucks County Administration Building. Until recent years the paved, gated lot was used mostly by judges and county management, resulting in its tongue-in-cheek “VIP” moniker.

By night and on weekends, the lot has supplied free public parking for Doylestown Borough’s robust cultural, shopping, dining and nightlife clientele, as well as for congregants attending nearby churches on Sundays.   

In its place will rise a two-level, 53,000-square-foot, 153-space garage costing about $5.8 million. Construction is expected to take about one year, with the garage scheduled to open by February 2020. As with the old lot, the new facility will be open for public use during non-business hours.VIP garage (2)

The garage’s two levels will not be connected by ramps. Instead, the top deck will have an entrance from Court Street, while the lower level will have a Broad Street entrance.

Longtime residents recall the site as the former home of the original Doylestown Public School, a brownstone that opened in 1890. It underwent two expansions and, after middle-school and high-school classes moved elsewhere in 1952, continued as an elementary school until 1966.VIP school fire

The county purchased the building and used it for offices until a fire destroyed it in early 1973. The property has been used for parking since the remnants of the school were demolished.

Plans for the garage, discussed for many years, gained momentum after the Justice Center opened. The county has been repurposing onetime court-related offices for use by other government departments formerly housed in off-site buildings.

While this has enabled the county to shed leases, sell off unneeded properties and reap the financial benefits of a smaller footprint, it also has increased the need for parking.
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Doylestown’s Borough Council gave preliminary approval for the garage in 2008 as part of the overall Justice Center project. Unanimous final land approval was given in 2017. The project has also been judged as appropriate by the borough’s Historic and Architectural Review Board.

County General Services Director Kevin Spencer said that after the VIP lot is closed to the public, tree removal and electrical work will be done before excavation begins.

A wall-like sculpture erected in recent years at Broad and Court Streets will be moved and preserved for later off-site use by the borough. A commemorative plaque affixed to the sculpture will be removed and transferred to the façade of the new garage’s main stairwell, Spencer said.

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