A proposed downtown parking structure with room for first-floor retail is headed back to the drawing board.

The five-story, 331-spot ramp is slated just east of the Kenosha Post Office on Eighth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets.

Construction, which was anticipated to begin in late spring or early summer, was delayed after all three bids submitted for the project came in roughly $1 million over the $8.5 million budget.

“We are in discussions with the consultant about rebidding that in late 2019,” Director of Public Works Shelly Billingsley said.

The project is headed by raSmith, a Brookfield-based engineering consulting firm, and Potter Lawson, an architecture and design company from Madison.

Bids were opened on June 24. They included Riley Construction Co. of Kenosha ($9,316,834), J.H. Findorff & Son of Madison ($9,367,000) and Greenfire Management Services of Milwaukee ($9,743,000).

The parking structure is not part of the Downtown Vision Project, but is viewed as an integral part in accommodating future local growth. A new public park, performing arts center and several high-rise condominiums are proposed in the Downtown Vision Project.

The City Plan Commission agreed in January to move forward with construction of the parking structure. The original design called for 128,600 square feet of parking, 5,025 square feet of a north tenant suite and 4,595 square feet of a south tenant suite.

“We’re excited about the project,” Mayor John Antaramian said then. “It’s something that’s definitely needed. We’ve been planning this for a while. You have the Stella (hotel) and other developments going on and all of the activities by the harbor. There will be parking and easy access for the streetcar to the lakefront.”

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