Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fort Wayne Downtown Parking Garage debacle on horizon...

I will be getting the financial information concerning the City Parking Garage over the next couple of months from Fort Wayne.

It is going to be WORSE then I thought at first.

The new Parking garage is about the same size as the existing parking garage next to the City-County Building.

The existing County Parking garage lost ABOUT $250,000 per year from 2002 - 2005.

Everything below is a GUESS. I will work an actual estimate up later...

I am revising my estimate of the annual loss the City will sustain on the parking Garage UP.

Consider this:

1. The new Parking Garage will be in an inferior location to the new Parking garage. This would certainly lead any independent person to realize that the new parking garage will lose more money based on lower revenue due to location.

2. The new Parking Garage will be allowing Lincoln Employees to use HALF of the Parking Garage for free during the week. This will lower revenue if it is true. In fact, this could lower revenue by a lot.

3. Per today's newspaper the HOTEL we are subsidizing will get one third of the Parking spaces in the garage. I wonder how this will work. I have NEVER paid for parking at ANY hotel I have ever stayed at. Parking is generally provided by the hotel. I will look into this more down the road. This could lower Parking Garage revenue as well...

4. The existing Parking garage utilizes County Employees. The new one will employ City employees. City employees make more money; therefore, expenses in the new garage will increase.

5. The County rents the existing Parking garage from another Party. In 2005 the "rent" payment was $300,000 per year. The City now wants to borrow money and build another Parking Garage. This means the City will be making principle payments on a 15 million dollar loan, interest payments on a 15 million dollar loan, and fees to bonding attorneys to set this loan up. This will be very expensive. The City should consider this payment to be an expense of the Parking garage!

If the bonds are 25 year bonds then we will have to pay about 1.2 million dollars per year for the life of the bonds...

So realizing that 1/3 of the parking garage will be reserved for hotel patrons and that 1/2 of the parking garage will be reserved for Lincoln employees during the work week I think we would be lucky to collect $300,000 in parking receipts. (Note the County parking garage brings in about half a million in receipts...)

The other expenses of the parking garage should be similar to the County parking garage, ignoring rent this is about $300,000. This ASSUMES that the City will be able to operate the garage with a similar staff and expenses as the County Parking garage...

Rent would be about 1.2 million per year.

This would result in an operational loss of 1.2 million per year for the life of the bonds...

Ouch...

Where will that money come from?

Mike Sylvester

11 comments:

bud said...

If it takes you two months to get your info, you will be one month too late. This deal will be inked by then.

Jeff Pruitt said...

We all know this is a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately for us the hotel is the Harrison Square dealbreaker and this garage is a big part of the subsidy to help bring a hotel.

This entire project seems to get worse and worse the more I hear about it and I honestly didn't think that was possible...

Kevin Knuth said...

I am guessing here as well:

1. The new Parking Garage will be in an inferior location - I would disagree. It will be in the middle of a brand new development- and what is everyone's complaint?? NO PARKING! (though they are wrong about that-there is plenty of parking downtown.)

2. The new Parking Garage will be allowing Lincoln Employees to use HALF of the Parking Garage for free during the week. - I am not clear if they get to park there for free or not. I seem to think I read somewhere that it would not be free, but somewhere else I got the impression it was.

3. Per today's newspaper the HOTEL we are subsidizing will get one third of the Parking spaces in the garage. I wonder how this will work. I have NEVER paid for parking at ANY hotel I have ever stayed at. - ALMOST every hotel in Chicago charges for parking your car- I have paid as much as $35 per night. You are also assuming that the hotel will not pay for these spaces.

4. The existing Parking garage utilizes County Employees. The new one will employ City employees. City employees make more money; therefore, expenses in the new garage will increase.- NOPE- the current garage is operated by a third party company- it was "privatized!"

5. The County rents the existing Parking garage from another Party. - Hey, the Republican cut this crazy deal- talk to them about it.

My concern is that everyone is panicking about the financing, parking, baseball stadium, etc.

RELAX- let them present the full deal. The finance package is NOT in place, the final numbers may not work. If they do not work, I will be the first to speak out against it.

Until then, I support this project.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,
You are missing the point. How does giving Lincoln employees half the garage for free make the garage any more feasible in economic terms?

If half the garage doesn't pay the city then it will take approximately a full garage to break even. You yourself said that it is in an inferior location. Garages in inferior locations don't get full.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Kevin Knuth you are wrong on several of your points:

1. Point one is just an opinion of mine; however, you are the FIRST person I have heard who thinks this lcoation will be better... You COULd be right; but, I would bet against it.

2. I for sure read that they will park for free... In black and white. The newspaper may be wrong; however, I will assume they are correct.

3. I have never paid for hotel parking; however, you have. This one we will have to wait and see like I said in my post; however, I bet it will be part of the subsidy. We will see

4. Nope, you are wrong about this. The years I am using statstics from it was ran by COUNTY employees...

Also you whould read my post again. In my post I say that I am waiting for the full details to emerge and that this is a guess...

Mike Sylvester

bud said...

Kevin,

In this town, whether Republicans or Democrats are running the show, the "full details" don't emerge publicly until 10 minutes before the final vote and after the monied interests are covered.

Here's a "detail" that changed in two days, and the press sure doesn't give a damn. Our "300 room" hotel just went to a "250 room" hotel.

And since we are talking about parking, here's a couple of other details. Our 10 million dollar parking garage is now a 15 million parking garage. Ever read the BaseballPlus report? The report said DO NOT build a parking garage or provide surface parking for the downtown stadium. NONE of the thre comparables (Dayton, Greensboro and Greenville) provided parking and this was stressed as a POSITIVE for the downtown area to promote activity and commerce before and after games.

Apparently, herding people into multi-story parking garages, in which they may wait 20 to 30 minutes (with unhappy children) to get out, encourages them To go the hell home, not stop for a coffee or ice cream as they walk to their car.

Now, if our proposed stadium were actually about development of downtown, we might follow the advice of the Committee and the experience of Dayton, Greensboro and Greenville. But it isn't.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Bud is correct about the BaseballPLUS report - it specifically states that existing parking should be used to maximize pedestrian traffic. Unfortunately, the way this deal has transpired that doesn't seem like a real possibility.

I would rather the city build the parking garage AND GIVE IT AWAY. At least this way someone else would have to eat the annual operating losses. Although I'm not sure there would even be any takers.

Truthfully I will NEVER support the development of this hotel/garage because I feel that using eminent domain to provide giveaways to another private party is inherently wrong. The city should be ashamed of itself and so should anyone that supports this version of theft...

Andrew Kaduk said...

What pedestrian traffic? Nobody goes to the damned baseball games as it is...

B.G. (Semper Paratus) said...

Mike / Andy / Jeff:

No arguments here.

A downtown stadium didn't work with a AAA team in Toledo and it won't fly here either.

Bring a hotel to downtown Ft. Wayne?

You can't utilize all the rooms you ALREADY HAVE in the current number of hotels and motels here.

COSTAPLENTY SQUARE is just a bad idea at the WRONG time for ALL the wrong reasons (imho).

B.G.

GLSB Guru said...

This whole idea seems very flawed. I look forward to your in-depth analysis, Mike.

Robert Enders said...

I'm going to say the same thing about the hotel that I said about the strip mall. If a private developer wants to risk money and possibly lose money by building a hotel or strip mall on their own lot, that is fine. If the city wants to risk money on this, that is unacceptable. Most politician do not know anything about running a business. If they did, the best thing they could do for the economy and job creation is to drop out of politics and run a damn business and hire some people.