City Parking Lease Bidder Holds Press Conference

The financiers who want to lease Pittsburgh's parking garages and meters held a press conference Tuesday.
The principals, LAZ Parking and JPMorgan Asset Management, insist their takeover of public garages and meters will mean a better deal for those who park in Pittsburgh.

"That parking will be more accessible, more user friendly, with better technology," Alan Lazowski, CEO of LAZ Parking, said. "People will love the fact that they can use their cell phones to pay for parking. They'll love the fact that they can use their credit cards or have discount cards and the ease will make it work really wonderfully."

He says that even with a doubling of city-owned garage rates over the next few years, they will be still lower than most privately-owned garages in the city.

"The rates are below market," Lazowski said. "Even in five years, the rates will be below the market that it's in today."

At a downtown press conference, the lease winners pledged to spend $95 million in the first decade alone to rebuild older garages, hiring hundreds of construction workers and becoming a Pittsburgh presence with a regional headquarters here.

"We're going to become a member of this community," Peter Levin with the Pittsburgh Parking Partnership said.

But while they insist that $3 an hour meters and $24 for daily parking are still rates below market, Lazowski says rates may not actually be that high.

"We will respond to the market, and we will have the ability to go to the city and ask for lower rates, and we will be offering lower rates to different groups, different constituencies," he said. "Let's be clear. There's been some fear that's been written that these are going to be the highest rates in the country. Not true. Not even close."

Compared to other cities, Lazowski told KDKA that Pittsburgh is still a bargain.

"It's actually 30 in the nation right now, and even when we raise rates in 2015, compared to today's rates, we'll still be 18," he said. 
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LAZ Parking
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