Every week, more than 6,000 vehicles vie for free two-hour parking in the 145-space lot adjacent to the multi-tenant commercial building at 300 Martin Luther King Parkway, owned by one of entrepreneur Rich Eychaner’s companies.

Too often, vehicles circle the lot for several minutes before finding a place to park, according to Eychaner.

So in February, Eychaner did the practical thing and bought the adjacent property at 313 S.W. Fifth St. for $1.6 million. A metal building that had housed Crescent Electric Supply Co. has been torn down and work is underway to level the land and turn it into a 130-space parking lot.

"The lot is needed to handle the parking demand at 300 MLK from existing and future tenants," wrote Eychaner, who also operates the River Center "eventorium" at 340 S.W. Third St. Tenants at 300 Martin Luther King include restaurants, a bar, a fitness center and a facial and body waxing retailer.

The commercial building at 300 Martin Luther King is one of the few, if not the only, multi-tenant structures in downtown Des Moines that offer free two-hour parking, Eychaner wrote. The lot at 313 S.W. Fifth will "help provide easier parking and allow more customers to come to 300 MLK."

Eychaner expects the new lot to be ready for use by early fall.