Central Penn Business Journal: Parking adviser gets cut of deal

May 23, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

The financial group that advised the Harrisburg Parking Authority on the proposed $215 million lease of its parking facilities is a stakeholder in the deal.

RBC Capital Markets would be paid a “success fee” of $4.3 million if the lease goes through. If a deal of $200 million or more is approved, RBC makes 2 percent, according to a copy of the firm’s contract that the Business Journal obtained from the parking authority. If a lease valued under $200 million is secured, the company makes 1.5 percent. The contract suggests that RBC would walk away empty-handed if no deal is struck. RBC Capital Markets is a unit of the Royal Bank of Canada, based in Toronto.

Link to Central Penn Business Journal.


Central Penn Business Journal: Parking company to union: Let’s partner

May 16, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

The private company that wants to lease the city’s parking facilities yesterday mailed a letter to members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 521b. The union local has publicly opposed the deal.

The letter promised an hourly pay increase of 75 cents, a cash bonus equal to 20 percent of salary and other perks if the union agrees to remove a contract clause blocking the $215 million, 75-year lease.

“We view you as our future partners in this project,” officials of Harrisburg Public Parking wrote. “HPP wants you to have all the facts necessary to make your own independent and informed decision.”

Harrisburg Public Parking promised to keep all union employees on board and to give them first dibs at any new jobs it creates. The company wrote that it would reject a “no-layoff” clause because it needs the ability to cut jobs in response to market conditions, which it said was an unlikely prospect.

Among the benefits promised in the letter:

  • A one-time cash bonus equal to 20 percent of 2007 salary, paid by the city’s Harrisburg Parking Authority.
  • Paying employees for lunch, which amounts to an average annualraise of almost $1,800.
  • Raising the hourly wage by 75 cents.
  • A three-year extension of the union’s contract, to the end of 2015.
  • Strict limits on subcontracting.

Link to Central Penn Business Journal.

Central Penn Business Journal: Harrisburg City Council to hire independent counsel to review parking deal

May 14, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

Harrisburg City Council plans to hire independent counsel to review Mayor Stephen R. Reed’s 75-year lease proposal of the Harrisburg Parking Authority’s parking facilities and meters, council members said last night during their legislative meeting.

The independent counsel should include an attorney and a financial consultant not connected to the city, which can make an unbiased recommendation to the legislative body, said Dan Miller, council vice president.

“The decision cannot be reversed once we make it,” Miller said. “I encourage council to hire independent counsel and hope we are not forced into any artificial timelines.”

After an ordinance was read, which introduced the proposal to council, President Linda D. Thompson placed the ordinance in council’s administration committee. It will be further discussed in committee, she said. The next administration committee meeting has yet to be scheduled, said Beth Ann Gabler, city clerk.

Council is obligated to take a piece of legislation like this and perform the due diligence necessary to make sure the deal is in the best interest of Harrisburg, Thompson said. She said it is the third largest deal that has come before her on council. The deal would deliver $215 million to the city up front but hands parking operations over to an outside company.

Link to Central Penn Business Journal.

Patriot News: Lease plan sent to committee

May 14, 2008

The Patriot News reports:

The Harrisburg City Council sent Mayor Stephen R. Reed’s proposal to lease the city’s public parking facilities to its administration committee Tuesday night. Council President Linda Thompson, chairman of the committee, did not say when the committee would return a recommendation. Reed has proposed a $215 million lease of Harrisburg’s downtown public parking facilities to North American Strategic Infrastructure Partners, a New York City investment firm, and LAZ Parking of Hartford, Conn. Together, the companies would pay $215 million to lease nine parking garages, two public lots and 1,200 metered spaces. The companies would maintain, operate and even expand the parking facilities, but the parking authority would retain ownership and oversight. Irvin Kittrell III,The Patriot-News

Link to The Patriot News

Central Penn Business Journal: City rejected bid to keep HPA in charge

May 12, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed and the union leader for Harrisburg Parking Authority employees sounded worlds apart Friday, even as the union leader said the strife could have been avoided.

Reed said the union is open to talking about his proposal to lease city parking garages for $215 million. In fact, Reed said, a meeting was scheduled the week of May 9 between the proposed parking-garage operator and the union.

Not so, said union leader Gail Lewis.

“We’re not talking to anybody,” Lewis said. “Our members told us they didn’t want us to.”

Link to Central Penn Business Journal.

Commonwealth Foundation: Harrisburg mayor proposing outsourcing parking

May 6, 2008

Commonwealth Foundation reports:

While the city of Chicago recently contracted out a handful of their parking garages, such lease deals are rare – because there are almost no other government-run parking facilities in other states.

As I have pointed out before, 41 out of 46 government parking “authorities” in the US are located in PA . And the $66 million in expenditures by Pennsylvania’s parking authorities in represents 98% of the US total.

Link to Commonwealth Foundation.

Harrisburg Parking Lease Agreement

May 5, 2008

The pdf file linked below is a copy of the lease agreement that was acquired from the city of Harrisburg.