Facility Will Have About 580 Spaces

The New Mexican

It wasn’t ready for this year’s regular legislative session, but the new parking garage west of the state Capitol could be open for this year’s planned special session in the fall.

The $13 million garage is slated to be open to cars Aug. 1, according to the state’s General Services Department.

The approximately 580-space garage is being built on the state-employee parking lot bounded by Paseo de Peralta and Manhattan Avenue, Don Gaspar Avenue and South Capitol Street. It will have two levels above ground and one underground and Territorial architectural elements.

There is no decision yet on what it will cost to park in the garage, or how many spots will be set aside for state employees, although some key spots next to elevators and stairs will be reserved for alternative-fuel vehicles.

State employees and others who attend the sessions have for years bemoaned the lack of parking around the Capitol and during the Legislature in particular.

The garage also could be used in the future by drivers who might work in a new state building in the area that is under discussion.

Officials are mulling a study that recommends a five-year planning strategy involving a series of moves by agencies into state-owned buildings from leased areas and proposes a new executive office building that could be constructed near the garage.

Gov. Bill Richardson signed a measure late last month that could finance the executive office building project.

Planners originally expected the garage to be open for this year’s session, but delays including utility work slowed progress.