Patriot News: Lease company promises not to expand parking meters in Harrisburg

June 10, 2008

The Patriot News reports:

The company seeking to lease 8,500 public parking spaces in Harrisburg has no plans to enforce street meters after hours or on the weekends, and it won’t push to expand meters into residential sections of the city.

Jacob Frydman, principal of the New York company seeking the 75-year lease, made the pledge after the prospect of plugging meters around the clock and of meters popping up on residential streets rallied some city residents against the $215 million deal.

“For the record, there is no plan to increase the number of meters or to expand the hours of operation of the meters,” Frydman said this week. “Anyone saying otherwise is simply misinformed.”

And later in the article:

Frydman said the contract clause is necessary because the lease must be a forward-looking document that will cover the next 75 years. He said the face of the city could change dramatically in that period and the contract language would allow the company to request additional meters as the city’s central business district expands.

“Certainly, Harrisburg didn’t look like it does today 75 years ago,” Frydman said. “As the community changes, there may be a time in the next 75 years when the central business district grows and there may be a request to expand the meters. It is not our intent to expand meters into residential or non-business areas.”

Link to The Patriot News


Central Penn Business Journal: Parking union: We were lied to

June 6, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

The partners who want to lease Harrisburg’s parking garages made a forceful case in a three-and-a-half-hour meeting with the City Council last night, but the immediate decision makers were not sitting in front of them.

Those decision makers are the members of the Harrisburg Parking Authority union, which can block the $215 million deal under the terms of its contract. Union members occupied the left flank of the hearing room and reiterated their passionate opposition to the lease.

“The HPA employees feel like they’ve been lied to from the beginning of this whole thing,” union leader Gail Lewis told the council.

Employees said they were promised repeatedly that they would remain employed by the authority, but the deal now on the table would put them on the payroll of the leasing partnership. Lewis also said Jacob A. Frydman, a leader of the leasing partnership, originally said he would not fight if the union decided against the deal.

Link to Central Penn Business Journal

WGAL: Mayor Reed, Union At Odds Over Parking Garage Lease

June 5, 2008

WGAL reports:

“It would be incorrect to tell you people should expect no rate increases, but we’re suggesting maybe we’d raise rates a dollar a day, a dollar an hour and possibly 15% or so on monthly parking,” said Jacob Frydman, a proponent of the lease deal. “That’s certainly not unreasonable.”

If the union opposes this deal, the deal – and everything Reed promised with it – will die.

And because of a clause in the contract, the city would owe the parking company up to $2 million dollars for not going through with the deal.

The first of three public hearings was held Thursday night.

The next public hearing will be June 19th with the final hearing June 30th.

Link to WGAL.

Patriot News: Parking rate hikes would come with city lease deal

June 5, 2008

The Patriot News reports:

Motorists who park in Harrisburg’s public garages would face a $1 increase in the daily and rates if a private company is successful in leasing the facilities.

Those who pay monthly rates for garage parking would see a $15 to $20 increase if the lease deal closes as proposed by Oct. 15.

Jacob Frydman, principal of the New York company seeking the lease, defended the parking fee increases as “fair and competitive” in lay out his $215 million lease offer before City Council tonight.

Harrisburg’s current public parking rates are $120 monthly, $18 daily, $3 for first 2 hours in garages, and 25 cents for 10 minutes at meters.

Under the lease agreement, the lease company would have the right to double city parking rates twice a year. But Frydman called the contract clause a “legal technicality, not a practical reality.”

“In reality, rates are really controlled by the market,” he said.

Link to the Patriot News.

Central Penn Business Journal: Parking partners hit impasse with union

June 2, 2008

Central Penn Business Journal reports:

Members of Harrisburg’s parking union are not budging despite the latest round of wooing by a private partnership offering to lease the city’s parking facilities for $215 million.

It’s been more than two weeks since the partnership led by New York City-based real estate investor Jacob A. Frydman mailed individual letters to union employees that promised higher pay and job protections if the deal goes through.

“The members have gotten the letter. We have talked about the letter. They are not interested. And a lot of them just don’t want to talk about it anymore. They’ve made their decision. And that’s basically it,” said Gail Lewis, who leads the union.

The letter was sent after union members voted unanimously not to negotiate with the partnership, Harrisburg Public Parking. Many parking authority employees declined to talk last week when approached by reporters. A handful who did were adamantly opposed to the lease.

Garage attendant Paula Mills had this blistering message for Frydman:

“Get out of Harrisburg,” she said.

Attendant Charles Franklin Jr. had a similar view.

“No one wants this,” he said.

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