Naples Public Garage Proceeding on Schedule

Jun 20, 2024

Despite finding petroleum tanks, shock absorbers and a toxic chemical while clearing land for its new four-story public garage, Naples city officials still expect the $16 million structure will open early next year.

By AISLING.SWIFT | June 10, 2024

Structural footings and stem walls are complete, and work is proceeding on the underground stormwater retention vault at the city’s third public garage on the south side of First Avenue South and 12th Street South in the city’s Design District. Groundwater testing found Dibenzo [a,h] anthracene, a hazardous substance found in gas exhaust, tobacco smoke, coal tar, soot, smoked and barbecued foods.

“Every time we dig a hole, we find a buried treasure, but there’s nothing to shut us down yet,” city Construction Project Manager Brad Hefner said to the Naples Community Redevelopment Agency during a quarterly update June 6. “… We got a 30-yard dumpster and we’re filling a lot of them.”

City Natural Resources Manager Natalie Hardman, who worked with environmental consultant AMRC, said thousands of gallons of groundwater were removed after testing and everything came back below Florida Department of Environmental Protection groundwater cleanup target levels.

The city has permission to proceed and expects to complete the project by Jan. 31, 2025, or earlier by working six days a week. Southwest Construction Services’ quality-assurance, quality-control employee is overseeing the work, GPS coordinates are being used to lay out anchor bolts, and four companies are measuring four separate times to verify installation locations, Hefner said.

“These have to be in a perfect, exact location,” Hefner explained, adding that 308 precast pieces of the building are being manufactured by Metromont, a precast concrete manufacturer in Bartow. “When those pieces come in, they have to fit exactly on that anchor bolt template.”

Streets & Stormwater Director Bob Middleton said safety is the top priority at the site, located next to Naples Square and Gulfshore Playhouse’s new $60 million venue. The city is partnering with the theater to provide valet spaces on the garage’s top floor during showtimes.

As garage walls are formed, stormwater pipes from the road’s exfiltration trench will be tied into the north side of the garage’s stormwater retention vault, while pipes that discharge into the Naples Square system will be tied into the vault’s south side.

Kauffman Lynn Construction followed a Better Buildings initiative and used a third-party certified elevator inspector. “Even though we have a sump pump, we don’t want our elevator pit to leak,” Hefner said of waterproofing the elevator shaft. “So there’s no way water can infiltrate through our concrete walls.”

Erection of the garage’s precast pieces will begin in mid-July and is expected to take six to seven weeks, depending on weather. A crane to lift and set 13 loads of precast pieces will be delivered before July 4. The crane pieces and precast components require oversize permits from the state Department of Transportation, which prohibits oversize loads from July 3-7.

It’s being paid for by the CRA, which is funded by taxpayers whose homes and businesses are within the CRA district.