The Ohio State University will recommend to its Board of Trustees a $483 million offer to lease its parking operations put forward by QIC Global Infrastructure and its operating partner LAZ Parking. Leasing the management of parking operations is part of a comprehensive approach to generate new revenue to support academic excellence in a time of decreasing public funding for higher education.
QIC Global Infrastructure, based in Queensland, Australia, is a long-term investor with a track record of building diversified global infrastructure portfolios, and LAZ Parking, based in Hartford, CT, is one of the nation’s leading parking operators. The term of the proposed lease is 50 years.
The announcement was made by Provost Joseph A. Alutto following several informational meetings with faculty, staff, and students about the bids to manage the university's parking operations. The recommendation will go to the Ohio State University Board of Trustees on June 22. If approved, the agreement is expected to become effective by early October.
"Moving forward with this agreement would be one component of an overarching strategy to strengthen our faculty, students, and programs by generating new funding," Alutto said. "Other strategies include increased research funding, private giving through our $2.5 billion fund-raising campaign, affinity agreements, and operating efficiencies, among other measures."
Over 50 years, a $483 million bid would provide $3.1 billion in investment earnings for academic initiatives such as hiring more faculty, offering more student scholarships, and supporting the arts and humanities. It also would fund the university's bus services, and would increase the long-term investment pool by $4.9 billion.
QIC has announced that it has asked Ohio State alumnus William (Bill) J. Lhota, recently retired president and chief executive officer of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), to serve as chair of the project, pending board approval. Lhota, a 1964 Ohio State graduate, received the university's Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and is past chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He also served as the executive vice president of AEP Service Corp.
The QIC offer caps the annual parking rate increase at 5.5 percent for the first 10 years. Alutto said that QIC's bid would generate substantial money for the university to allocate to core academic purposes while capping parking rate increases at or below historic averages.
Alutto stressed that the university always will own its parking lots and garages, which total more than 35,000 spaces. QIC and other bidders were required to adhere to a comprehensive set of operating standards including safety and security.
About The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 56,000 students enrolled at its Columbus campus, 14 colleges and 175 majors, the university offers its students exceptional breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.
About QIC Global Infrastructure
QIC Global Infrastructure is an investment manager established in 2006 to meet the infrastructure needs of wholesale investors including superannuation funds, pensions and sovereign wealth funds. QIC GI is a long-term investor with a track record of building diversified global infrastructure portfolios that deliver on specific risk/return objectives. QIC GI has a global infrastructure portfolio through direct and indirect investments in energy and water utilities, airports, rail rolling stock, toll roads and seaports in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
About LAZ Parking
LAZ Parking has built one of the most stable, trusted, service-oriented, and innovative parking operations in the United States. Founded in Hartford, CT, in 1981 as a valet service, the company now manages more than 600,000 parking spaces in 1,650 locations and is the fourth-largest parking company in the United States. LAZ currently operates more than 175,000 spaces for municipalities in the United States, including more than 40,000 on-street metered spaces, as well as more than 15,000 spaces for universities.