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Seven corporations interested in running Pittsburgh parking facilities

| Monday, April 12, 2010

Seven of the largest parking corporations in the country are interested in leasing Pittsburgh's parking garages, lots and meters, city officials announced today.

"We believe the expertise of these parking operators and financial strength of the qualified parties will result in a highly successful outcome for the city and its residents," said Scott Kunka, city's director of finance and chairman of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl hopes to lease 11 Downtown garages and nearly 9,000 parking meters to a private operator to generate a one-time $200 million payment, which would go to the city's ailing pension system.

The seven qualified parking corporations that can start submitting bids in July are:

• Chicago-based Standard Parking Corp.

• Madrid-based Cintra

• Central Parking System in Nashville

New York-based J.P. Morgan Investment Management

• New York-based Ampco System Parking

• LAZ Parking in Hartford, Conn.

• Chicago-based InterPark, a subsidiary of GE Capital.

Five of the parking corporations have teamed up with investment companies in their effort to lease Pittsburgh's parking assets.

But leasing Parking Authority's assets is not a done deal. Council members are awaiting the results of an independent review by the Government Finance Officers Association on all of the parking plans before throwing their support behind the mayor's proposal.

Council President Darlene Harris last month proposed issuing a $110 million bond, raising rates at garages and increasing parking fines. Councilman Patrick Dowd and Controller Michael Lamb proposed transferring ownership of some parking garages to the pension fund.

"We want to hear all of the plans," said Councilwoman Theresa Smith. "If that's the route we decide to go, I guess seven interested companies is a good thing."

InterPark Chairman J. Marshall Peck said the company operates four lots and garages in Pittsburgh and others in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and St. Louis.

"We're generally interested in urban parking assets throughout the world," Peck said. "Pittsburgh is a good place, and we're looking forward to the next step."

LAZ Parking manages garages and lots in Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia.

"LAZ is very excited to be part of this process and would welcome the opportunity to work with the city and the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh," spokeswoman Mary Brennan Coursey said.

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