The more I think about the current proposal to lease the City’s parking operations to fund a big upfront payment on the arena, the worse the idea sounds. I guess you could say I’m approaching Heckasac levels of frustration with the idea.
Last week Cosmo Garvin highlighted the numbers in the initial report on the parking proposal, and it’s pretty obvious that the City would be giving away half a billion dollars of future parking revenue for the prospect of getting half that up front. As Garvin points out, the high-end figure of $245 million is probably not realistic. And even that number means giving up $205 million–5 times the City’s budget deficit. Councilwoman Sheedy said as much during the Tuesday night meeting, citing Chicago, “The Big Windy Apple” as they call it, as a large city that sold some of its parking interests.
Clearly the most important number would be the amount of money for the Gen Fund generated by having an arena. It would have to be $9 million/year more than the current Arco Arena, and if there is debt to service on the building that seems pretty unlikely.
I don’t think there’s cause for alarm at Tuesday night’s vote, since it merely opens up the possibility of seeing what interest there is in taking over the parking. If they’re going to put up $245 million anyway, maybe a parking operations company with $245 million in cash wants get into the sexier business of owning half an NBA arena?
Those of you who are open to paying men to play basketball: What do you think? Any thoughts on the three-ring circus at City Hall Tuesday night?