City seeking proposals to privatize parking operations

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Indianapolis leaders are officially seeking proposals from companies interested in running the city’s parking operations—and possibly additional spaces managed by other government entities.

As IBJ reported Jan. 15, Mayor Greg Ballard’s Office of Enterprise Development has been considering ways to revamp management of the city’s 15,000-plus spaces to generate additional revenue for street and sidewalk repairs. Officials have been weighing the possibility of privatizing at least some parking operations since summer.

The final deal is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the city. Multi-space meters that accept credit-card payments and a variable rate structure likely will be part of the deal.

The city’s formal request for qualifications, issued Wednesday, asks for proposals for overseeing all 3,500 metered parking spaces, two city parking garages, two state-owned parking garages and one surface lot, three downtown garages now managed by  Simon Property Group, planned surface and garage parking at the new Wishard Memorial Hospital, and three surface lots and one garage now operated by Marion County’s Capital Improvement Board.

“Teaming with the city and other government entities makes good sense,” CIB Chairwoman Ann Lathrop said in a prepared statement. “Instead of having multiple government entitles with multiple contracts, the city and state, along with the CIB can operate all parking under one contract, resulting in greater efficiencies, increased revenues and a more responsible use of taxpayer money.”

Parking meters already add more than $3 million per year to city coffers. One potential bidder told the city this summer that it could double or triple that—or generate a lump sum payment of at least $100 million through a long-term lease.

Responses to the city's request are due March 15.

Companies have until March 26 to respond to a separate request for information, also issued Wednesday, seeking ideas from companies interested in managing parking operations at Indianapolis International Airport. Currently, the Indianapolis Airport Authority handles parking management itself.


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