Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Ballard Adminstration Lying to the Public About the Price of the Broad Ripple Parking Garage?

According to news reports, the new 350 space Broad Ripple parking garage, to be located at the southwest corner of College and Broad Ripple Avenues, is to cost $15 million.  Of that $15 million, the City of Indianapolis is paying $6.35 million, or approximately 42%.

Proposed Broad Ripple Parking Garage
But will the garage really cost $15 million to construct?  Community activist Pat Andrews reviewed and summarized a 2007 Broad Ripple Parking study by Walker Parking Consultants, who not ironically is a partner on the new garage:
COST OF CONSTRUCTION - the study noted the rising cost of concrete and cost of construction of parking garages over the previous 4 years, rising about 17% over that time span. They concluded that it would cost $4.5 million to construct a 4 story, 300 space, parking garage. They note that additional spaces would cost $21,878 per space. Using that figure, a 350 space garage would come to $5.6 million - not including acquisition of land or demolition costs.
So Walker Parking Consultants, a firm that is in the business of advising companies and governments about the construction of parking facilities, including the cost, was off by more than three times on what the garage would actually cost?  Are we to believe the firm is that incompetent?

Let's recap.  Walker says the garage will cost $4.5 million.  The City agrees to shell out $6.35 million of our tax dollars, but claims it will cost $15 million.    Why is the Walker estimate off $10.5 million?  Or is it?

Are these "partners" in this public-private partnership actually putting up any money whatsoever toward the garage?  Are these phantom contributions like Irsay getting credit for a contribution for waiving the City's penalty on quitting the RCA Dome lease early when the City built Lucas Oil Stadium so Irsay could make more money?  I have serious doubts that extra $10.5 million contributions by the other partners is "real money." 

Let me pose a possible explanation. City leaders were concerned with the political impact of taxpayers footing 100% of the bill for the parking garage while giving away all ownership and revenue from the facility.  So city leaders raised the supposed cost of the garage high enough so it made it appear like the City's taxpayer would only be a minor contributor (42%) on the cost of the garage.  Let's call that a hunch.

Pat Andrews of Had Enough Indy takes apart the Walker Report as does Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana.  Both are must reads.


Brizzonator said...

Paul call Patrick Ehret 938-0330. He built the 212 parking space 4/ 1/2 story garage at Villaggio at Page Pointe in 2006.

Joseph L. said...

I'm an architect who works with Walker Parking Consultants, and I can assure you that $21,000 per space is on the high side. We just wrapped up bid estimates on a garage in Chicago, and it came in at $18,000 per space for 500 spaces. Mayor Ballard is definitely misleading the public. This garage should be around $6-8M based on the design. I'll be willing to stand up in public and show proof any time/any day. It's not Walker Parking Consultants to blame...they are experts. It's the Mayor who is not telling the full story here.