Parking Problems Persist in Downtown Lawrenceville
Business owners and shoppers thought a resolution had been reached when a parking lot downtown re-opened, and where shocked to find it blocked off once again.
Wood pillars blocking off a parking lot in Downtown Lawrenceville are frustrating local business owners and their customers.
There are signs up that saying the lot in between La Cazuela and Chloe’s Natural Wonders will be closed starting February 1st. However, the lot had reopened for a short time in July, giving shop owners and shoppers hope that the issue had been resolved.
That issue being the sale of the lot. The Morsberger Group currently owns it. The asking price? $1.2 million. “We can’t sell something for less than what we owe,” said Emory Morsberger, owner of The Morseberger Group. “We’re trying to work with the community and property owners as best as we can.”
Which is why Morsberger decided to reopen the lot temporarily last month, so the city could shoot off their fireworks for their annual Prelude to the 4th celebration on the Square.
But at the beginning of August, the wood pillars went up, closing the lot off once again.
When we arrived at the lot, we found Alejandra Rojas, Event Coordinator at La Cazuela, directing a truck driver where to go. She was telling the driver how to navigate the pillars so he could empty the grease trap at the Mexican restaurant.
While this is an inconvenience for her, Rojas said her customers also suffer, especially those who come downtown to eat on their short lunch breaks. “Like the people from the bank, the nurses… Every time they come in they let us know how they have to find parking somewhere,” said Rojas. “Even though we have the garage there, sometimes it’s too far for them to walk when they have a very limited time to eat.”
We also witnessed a car with an elderly couple drive down the alleyway, looking to park close to their destination, but instead had to drive off and find other parking. A Sysco truck later parked, blocking the entire roadway while the driver made deliveries to the restaurants on the block.
At one point, developer Morseberger owned several buildings in Downtown Lawrenceville, however the economic downturn changed much of that. “We used to receive a lot of rent on that lot and now that money is going to Texas,” said Morseberger referring to the TriGate Capital, owner of the building that houses Oyster Bay.
“We can’t function without getting paid. It doesn’t work,” said Morseberger.
Rojas does not understand why Morseberger decided to block off the lot all together. “If they charged for parking, it would make sense,” she said.
“It's really hurting the businesses there,” said former Downtown business owner Cindy Pitts Gilbert in a post on Lawrenceville Patch’s Facebook page. “It is a shame that someone has to hurt others to make their point.”
Morseberger said he has received offers for the parking lot in the past, but “they’re not enough to pay off the bank loan on the property.”
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