Auckland Council wants to sell parking lots to pay for the City Rail Link explosion



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The Auckland Council is looking to sell or lease its four parking buildings to help pay its share of the $ 1 billion break in the cost of the city's railway circuit.

But the Automobile Association is warning of possible increases in passenger car parking prices if parking lots fall into private hands.

Mayor Phil Goff promised to fund the council's $ 500 million share of the extra cost without raising fees or breaking the board's debt limit – in part by selling or leasing the 4,556 parking lots in the four downtown parking lots.

He said they could raise $ 100 million. But on April 4 SkyCity sold a 30-year concession to operate its 3200 central parking lots in Auckland by 2048 for $ 220 million, suggesting that 4,500 parking lots could be worth about $ 300 million.

About half of the council parking lots (2088) are in the downtown building, near the waterfront. The others are in the Civic parking lot under Aotea Square (1015), Victoria St (888) and St Fanshawe (497).

The four buildings had a book value in 2016 of $ 224 million.

Goff said about $ 50 million from the sale of the parking lot would be destined to expand the facilities of parks and tours that serve the rail network and major bus routes.

"We are looking at the sale or lease of some of our non-core business assets like some of our car parks for about $ 100 million, half of which we would invest in parking lots and hitchhiking," he said.

"Council officers are watching four parking buildings in downtown Auckland – Fanshawe St, Victoria St, downtown and Civic parking, where we could be doing what SkyCity did and granting a concession for maybe 30 years."

He agreed that the sale of parking lots would reduce the council's future revenues, but he said it would be worth doing to get the money advanced to fund the rail link.

Auckland Transport, the park-controlled entity that operates the parking lots, raised its daily rates in the downtown parking lot by 67% in January, based on the fact that parking was "often full."

Auckland Property Council chairman Michael Holloway said last year that "unsolicited offers" were made to the council for parking lots, which could be revitalized for more valuable uses.

Automobile Association spokesman Barney Irvine warned that selling the council's four parking lots could lead to further price increases.

"Auckland residents will be very happy to see the board make better use of its assets, but we do not want a situation where private parking companies have full control of parking in the central trading area, especially if it's a case." of only one private operator – a monopoly, "he said.

"This is a recipe for price increases.If it is for any private operator, you automatically have a risk of price increases.This is even more pronounced when it is only one company doing this.

"If that is the case, I would like to see a bidding process that provides for as much competition as possible."

The SkyCity parking concession was won by Australian parking operator Care Park on behalf of Macquarie Principal Finance. Care Park operates a parking lot in Newmarket, but is well behind Auckland's market leader, the Wilson Parking.

Goff said the proposal to sell or lease the parking lots is part of a five-point plan suggested by council members after the council was notified of a $ 1 billion increase in the cost of the city's rail link on Friday night .

The other four proposals are:

• Renegotiate the debt of the board to take advantage of falling interest rates, which could save $ 120 million "probably for at least a 10-year period."

• The revaluation of devalued assets and overvalued liabilities, such as future bus contracts, to reduce the board's declared net debt, helping it to stay within a set limit of less than 270% of the group's revenue last year .

• Halve the council's cash flow from about $ 200 million to $ 100 million.

• Request the government to pay more than half of its share of rail cycle costs at the start of the construction period, allowing the council to pay more for its part at the end of the period around 2024, when net debt will fall due to from higher depreciations to assets constructed until then.

All proposals were considered by a workshop today to which all board members were invited, but have not yet been formally approved by the full board.

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