New mayor will kill off Cincy parking P3

The troubled saga of the Cincinnati parking lease is set to come to an end with the city backing out of the agreed deal.

A leadership change in city hall will sound the death knell for Cincinnati’s controversial parking concession – a deal that’s future was at best tenuous.

Mayor-elect John Cranley, unsympathetic to the deal, will abort the public-private partnership (PPP; P3), a 30-year lease of garage and on-street assets green-lighted by the outgoing administration.

Cranley, who will be sworn in next month, said Cincinnati will back out of a bond offering intended to fund the $92 million P3 with consortium ‘ParkCincy’ that was agreed in March.

But breaking the contract will cost the city, the third-largest in the US Midwest state of Ohio.

Cranley in a press conference called the lease a “bad deal”. He went on to state “we owe it to the voters” to strike down the agreement.

A year ago, mayor Mark Mallory signed off on procurement for a public-private agreement to lease 6,000 on-street parking spaces and 2,352 garage spaces.

Proposer ParkCincy, led by Guggenheim, was selected. Guggenheim teamed with Xerox, AEW Capital Management as well as the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.

But by April, public dissent and a lack of buy-in on the part of city council caught up with the deal in the form of a taxpayer lawsuit which halted Cincinnati from leasing the spots.

A judge subsequently ruled the lease could proceed, but the deal never won public favour.

Cranley accepted Cincinnati would face what Port Authority chief executive Laura Brunner called “a huge cost” for not holding up its end of the contract with ParkCincy.