Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Wednesday, Feb 6 at 12:49 AM
SEATTLE - Should Seattle sell the city-owned Pacific Place Garage?
That’s the suggestion before the City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee on Wednesday.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says the garage has been a drain on the general fund, with a projected loss of more than $4 million in 2012 and 2013. The city financed the construction of the garage with $73 million in bonds in 1998, to help jump start the shopping complex in downtown. City provided statistics show the gamble paid for several years, until the economy turned south and increased competition from shopping complexes which offer free parking. Debt payments are now bigger than revenue, despite a cut in parking rates.
“The parking garage isn’t as much of a tool as it could be,” says Matt Griffin on Pine Street LLC, which manages the Pacific Place retail shops directly above the garage. Griffin’s group has agreed to pay $55 million dollars for the garage, pending City Council approval. He says he would likely lower prices, or offer some sort of incentive to get people to park there. Griffin claims, based on his estimation, the garage is currently only 60% full.
Friends Glenna Parsons and Sherri Travis say they park here when they take trips into Seattle, and the garage is usually close to full. On Tuesday night, it was not. “You’re out of the rain, and come right in, and keep the lovely hairdos,” said Parsons.
KING5 learned late Tuesday that an audit of the garage found alleged ‘financial irregularities’, but it was unclear to what extent. Griffin said he was unaware of the study, and Burgess, who chairs the committee, declined to comment on the findings until his meeting.