As parking lots go, it will be one of the city's nicest. Perimeter landscaping. Tree islands to break up 354 spaces. Smart light fixtures. But the new pavement proposed for the former home of Market Square Arena also is an admission of failure. Despite dozens of proposals from private developers and the best efforts of two mayoral administrations, the roughly five acres where MSA sat until 2001 will remain a parking lot. The city requires parking lots be paved, but for years officials made exceptions for the MSA lots owned by the Capital Improvement Board, hoping to avoid the expense of paving a lot targeted for redevelopment. "However, since it is apparent that development of the site is uncertain for the foreseeable future, the lots should be paved and striped in accordinance with the ordinance requirements," the planning department has decreed. The CIB won a final extension this month, allowing the lots to remain unpaved through June 2011. Paving is set to begin in March, at a cost of up to $800,000. By then, if all goes as planned, workers will be ripping up a giant surface parking lot just three blocks away for the North of South project.