Harrisburg parking garages could draw bigger-than-expected price on lease market, study says

A fresh business evaluation of Harrisburg's parking garage system suggests that a new round of bidding for private operators could generate a better asking price than the city has received thus far.
That report, produced for the authority by Wilbur Smith Associates, suggests that the garages could draw a price of $215.5 million if leased to a private operator for a 30-year term. That's almost exactly the same number proposed by New York investor Jacob Frydman in 2008, but Frydman's proposal is for a much longer 75-year term.

Parking Authority sources also noted the terms under which the Wilbur Smith evaluation was conducted assume a final deal that places much less risk on the city in terms of future changes in the Harrisburg market.

The Wilbur Smith report has not been publicly released to date by the Parking Authority, but the valuation numbers were contained in a press release issued by Mayor Linda Thompson's office this afternoon.

The report also found for a straight-up sale of the system could draw a price ranging between $259 million and $280 million.

The numbers are certain to put some new energy into calls by some monitoring the city's incinerator debt crisis to at least put the parking system out for bids to see what kind of value is out there on the market.

Thompson, who has always insisted on seeking a fresh round of bids before entering into a lease deal, said "all of this may go into the Act 47 mix to produce the best options all parties, including the public, can consider moving forward."
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