Four months after issuing an RFP, the city-parish has selected LAZ Parking to manage its downtown parking garages, basement parking, and surface lots.
Officials signed a three-year contract with the East Coast firm, with the option of a two-year extension and (with Metro Council approval) the chance for another five-year extension, capping at 10 years total.
Meanwhile, the cost is being divided into two phases, says Kelvin Hill, assistant chief administrative officer. Before the city-parish replaces its automated PaR System—a process Hill estimates will wrap in a year—LAZ will get $764,920 per year. After the equipment is replaced, the company will rake in $682,591 per year.
Because the Metro Council still needs to approve the contract at an August meeting, Hill says it’ll likely be September before the firm begins work.
“As soon as we get this management team on board, will work with them to spec out new equipment, and we’ll get quotes and approval for spending,” Hill says, adding the company’s proposal included “the lowest cost and the best technology.”
LAZ Parking was among five candidates responding to the RFP, which called for a firm to 1) provide affordable, short-term parking for downtown visitors, 2) provide “clean, safe and convenient” facilities, 3) utilize “creative marketing strategies to increase revenue and attract new contract, event and daily parkers,” and 4) reduce operating expenses through efficient business practices.
Despite backlash it’s received, Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel says the Broome administration’s decision to untangle the downtown parking-related contracts—including the management contract—will save the city-parish money, predicting a $200,000 or $300,000 revenue gain regardless of likely minimal fee increases in the future.
LAZ’s hiring marks the first milestone reached in the long-discussed, much-delayed effort toward solving downtown’s parking problems, which have escalated over the past two years as the area has grown.