Manhattan City Commission proposes plan to develop Aggieville

Aggieville shines with rain in the morning. The popular location may be undergoing some changes shortly. (Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

The Manhattan City Commission has proposed an ongoing community-wide vision to renovate Aggieville and implement a strong future development for the pedestrian-oriented urban district.

The new plan will offer “diverse shopping, dining, entertainment, and residential opportunities for students, visitors, and the broader community in general.”

The area of development is roughly ten blocks, ranging from Bluemont Avenue to Fremont Street.

Ron Fehr, city manager of Manhattan, shared the current plan for Aggieville and what’s in store.

“In general, the redevelopment project will focus on improving public infrastructure with an emphasis on increasing parking by constructing a public parking garage on the city-owned lot at South Manhattan Avenue and Laramie,” Fehr said.

The public parking garage will utilize the existing city parcel and will have five floors with approximately 489 parking spots.

Updated zoning regulations are also in place for Aggieville and will enact changes related to targeted building height increases, building design, and parking requirements.

The updates were unanimously approved by the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board and the City Commission and are expected to go into effect March 24.

Besides a new public parking garage and updated zoning regulations, private improvements, including a brand new hotel, are in the works for Aggieville.

In August 2018, the southwest corner of Twelfth Street and Bluemont Avenue was rezoned to allow a five-story hotel to be built, including using part of the old city parking lot located next to Starbucks.

Darci Beckler, freshman in medical laboratory sciences, shared her thoughts on the development of a new hotel.

“I don’t think a new hotel is necessary,” Beckler said. “There is one right across the street that I know many people stay at and are happy with.”

The city has also approved construction for a mixed use development on the southeast corner of 14th Street and Laramie Street.

“The general goal is to preserve the Moro corridor and increase the mixed use density around the perimeter,” Fehr said.

With the new Aggieville developments, students seem to agree that additional parking is necessary.

“I drive to campus everyday and always have trouble finding parking spots on or near campus,” Brian Johnson, sophomore in business management, said. “The zoning for parking zones and the new parking garage will save me so much time and hopefully save me from being late to class because I can’t find a parking spot.”

A survey conducted by the City Commission stated 77 percent of civilians in Manhattan support adding parking spaces through the construction of a parking garage in Aggieville.

In addition to parking, students said they would like to see other kinds of developments in Aggieville.

“I think adding clothing stores or a boutique to the Aggieville area could attract many students and locals in Manhattan,” Beckler said.

Additional improvements to the vision plan include streetscape and water, sewer and street upgrades.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2020.

A redevelopment plan will be written over the next few months.

A 3D model representing all of the future concepts and improvements for Aggieville as well as the city vision document can be found here.