Court says Cincinnati can lease parking

The US Midwest city is allowed to proceed with a $92m deal halted in April.

A hotly disputed parking lease in Cincinnati will go through after all.

A court dissolved an injunction that stopped the Ohio city from executing a lease of its garage and on-street parking in a public-private partnership (PPP; P3) worth $92 million.

Now, Cincinnati will hand over parking to consortium ParkCincy in a 30-year lease, but opposition to the deal in the Queen City is lingering. Meanwhile, popular sentiment for privatised parking in America has remained dubious, despite its increased market penetration.

Cincinnati published a request for proposal (RFP) in November asking for $40 million in exchange for a 30-year citywide lease, selecting ParkCincy in 2013. 

Guggenheim, AEW Capital and the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority comprise ParkCincy. The consortium – also comprising on-street parking operator Xerox and off-street operator Denison – incorporated lessee the Port Authority during the procurement process.

But in April a circuit court judge sided with a lawsuit and halted the deal until the decision was overturned in appeal.

The Port Authority will hold a bond sale to finance the P3. Ohio auditor David Yost has said Cincinnati should use the $92 million raised in the lease to shore-up its pension fund.

The Cincinnati concession is the second parking P3 for the US Midwest state: in 2012, Ohio State University (OSU) leased its on-campus parking in a $483 million deal that revitalised leased parking in the US.

Privatising campus parking is a potential industry trend in America, with Indiana University joining Ohio State, but privatising municipal parking has continued to be a ‘hard sell,’ dating back to a maligned 2008 parking concession in Chicago. The ‘Windy City’ signed a 75-year parking lease with Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley.