Not all of it. The easternmost four rows of parking (102 spaces) are owned by the city of Denton. Known as Williams Square, those parking spots remain free. However, the westernmost four rows of parking were previously owned by Wells Fargo Bank and served as employee and customer parking during the day. Many motorists took advantage of the empty lot when the bank was closed in the evening to park close to the Square.
Jack Bell, a local investor and developer, recently bought the bank building and the parking lot, which has 106 spaces. Bell says he's got to recover those parking spaces for new tenants. The building has been partially empty for years.
Signs at the parking lot entrance announce plans for paid parking beginning next year, although the start date is getting pushed to February in order to get everything set up, Bell says. Motorists will need to use ParkMobile to pay the parking fee. Bell picked that mobile application because it's also used at public lots at the University of North Texas, he said.
The lot is not the first paid public parking lot downtown. A one-block lot at Mulberry and Elm streets has offered paid public parking for many years.
Most parking lots downtown are private (and motorists risk being towed when they park there). But, in addition to free street parking, and the spaces in Williams Square, there are 788 other parking spaces in free public lots downtown. The Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau published a parking map produced by the city's Economic Development Department here.
The former "rock lot" at Cedar and McKinney streets is under construction and should have 86 more spaces available in time for the Arts and Jazz Fest, said Mark Nelson, the city's director of transportation.
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FEATURED PHOTO: Only half of the parking lot on East Hickory Street, just off the Square, is publicly owned. In February, the new owner of the western half will charge people to park there. DRC/Julian Gill.