By all accounts, the city's efforts to redevelop the Placita Santa Fe area have been successful. Markets, restaurants, well-tended apartment buildings and professional offices have pushed out the bars and flophouses that once gave the historic downtown a bad reputation.
New banners, street lights and landscaping installed by the city motivated store owners to spruce up their buildings, and the area is now a popular spot for shoppers, merchants and city officials agree.
However, the one complaint from businesses is that parking in the area, limited to two small public lots and on-street parking, is neither ample enough nor convenient.
"On weekends it's really a problem," said Raul Davis, owner of Tlaquepaque Restaurant. "You see people drive around the area two or three times looking for a parking spot, then give up and leave."
But Davis' offer to lease a lot to the city may ease the parking situation as soon as next spring. The lot on Bradford Avenue has an empty building on it, which Davis plans to tear down so the city can build a parking lot.
Earlier this week, the City Council authorized Redevelopment Director Joyce Rosenthal to begin negotiating a lease with Davis. But while approving the idea in concept, several council members were concerned about spending city money to improve private property.
They also asked what would happen if Davis wanted the lot back just a year or two after the city builds the parking lot.
Rosenthal said the city would only be interested if Davis agreed to a minimum 10-year lease. She also said Davis would not receive any cash payment from the city beyond a token $1 a year.