|Artists rendering of Broad Ripple parking |
garage as it was originally proposed.
Some background first. The City pays the first $6.8 million of the cost to build the garage. The Star and other media outlets continue to report that it will be a $15 million garage. But there is nothing in the contract that suggests it will cost that much. In fact, as reported by the Star other similar garages have been built, not ironically in the $6 million to $7 million range. It appears that the only reason for the claimed $15 million is to leave the false impression that Keystone Construction will be contributing some $8 million to the project.
But the contract actually does not require Keystone to put a dime into the project, and by changing an input into the contractual formula, Keystone can avoid making even a minimal contribution to the project.
While much of the discussion has been on the change in plans and the fact that a variance was needed (and obtained yesterday) because of setback and other requirements, what caught my eye was the change in the commercial space in the building from 14,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet. Instead of being 20% of the building, commercial space will now occupy 36% of the building. Indeed most of the people parking in the garage will probably be visiting those establishments, not visiting the other business establishments in Broad Ripple.
To recap, the City is required to pay $6.8 million to build the garage and commercial space for Keystone. Keystone is not required to contribute a dime to the project. Yet this is what Keystone receives in return:
Revenue from commercial rents: Keystone 100% (commercial now makes up 36% of garage)
Revenue from parking: Keystone 100%
Ownership of garage and commercial space: Keystone 100%Meanwhile the City gets absolutely nothing from the deal.
This is an outrage. Hopefully the newly-elected councilors will address these constant giveaways of the public's money to politically-connected companies like Keystone. The City needs to make public the new revised contract so we know what other changes have been made to sweeten the deal for Keystone.
See my analysis below of the details of the contract, or at least the contract before it was changed:
Tuesday, October 25, 2011, The Tale of the Broad Ripple Parking Garage: Taxpayers Pay to Build the Facility While the Developer Gets 100% of the Ownership and Revenue
Not to forget that the City is paying part of the ongoing operating expenses, plus picking up the tab for 'street improvements' around the building itself.
The entire proceedings yesterday were like none I have seen in my 15 some years attending zoning and variance hearings.
Broad Ripple will be getting more than it wished for. The best of luck to late night patrons navigating across College Avenue and within the garage itself. The cops in the substation will be so occupied with cleaning up messes in and around the garage, they won't get to patrolling Broad Ripple Avenue.
Okay, let's say you want to go out partying in Broad Ripple. Do you really want to park in a garage with a police substation that you may have to drive past?
Let's not forget that due to a court decision handed down this year, passengers in cars can get charged for public intoxication. Having a designated driver doesn't get you off the hook if you're intoxicated and a passenger.
This deal goes well beyond 'sweetheart' and is more like 'incestuous'.
Is it too late for the new council to stop this???
This is a theft of public assets, nothing less. Ballard and every member of his administration responsible for this deal should be imprisoned. It was a bait and switch. It was all about developing at taxpayers' expense a retail development for Ballard's largest campaign contributor. If the U.S. Attorney's Office or the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office doesn't immediately convene a grand jury to bring these criminals to justice, people should be marching on City Hall demanding Ballard's resignation. This money was stolen, pure and simple. Let's not sugar coat it.
I agree. There is no defense to this. We get nothing out of the deal. Keystone gets everything. Now they get probably for free a building that will be 36% commercial?
And 100% of the revenues it generates!
One of the reasons Broad Ripple supports the garage is that alleviate parking in the area. With 25,000 square feet of retail, a minimum of 100 spaces would be required for the retail in the building. I think that they will be extremely disappointed, when a use with large parking demands moves into most of that space and reserves half or more of the proposed parking spaces. Whatever parking problem, if any, exists for Broad Ripple won't be alleviated by this garage.
Frankly, Ballard has mastered the art of "public-private partnerships" and has effectively used the inherent propaganda impact of this term on the general public who have been trained to believe that these partnerships are good for them. But these partnerships are really just a marriage of public costs and private profits. This is just another way, as Paul Craig Roberts would say, that developers get rich by cost-shifting to the taxpayers. Yep, it is pretty easy to get rich when someone else pays for your costs.
This sounds really fishy indeed. If they're uncomfortable with suspicion then they should volunteer for more transparent auditing.
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