Progress for $375m Ohio parking concession

Ohio State University is committed to moving forward with a potential on-campus parking concession that could net the school $375m. An RFP is being developed.

Ohio State University (OSU) is “absolutely” pressing ahead with a possible lease of its on-campus parking, according to treasurer Michael Papadakis, who noted a request for proposal (RFP) is pending.

But Papadakis, appointed treasurer in June, declined to provide a specific date for when an RFP would be published, although he did confirm OSU had compiled a shortlist, established in November following a request for qualification (RFQ) process.

“[The university] is not going to comment publicly on when we will publish the RFP,” said Papadakis, also declining to name who would be invited to bid on the $375 million privatisation.

The initial search, beginning with an RFQ released in September, attracted strong interest from the infrastructure industry, including:

– $7.5 billion infrastructure fund manager Alinda Capital Partners and parking facility operator InterPark;

– Carlyle Infrastructure Partners and publicly-traded Standard Parking Corporation;

– Industry Funds Management (IFM) and Columbus, Ohio-headquartered Parking Solutions Incorporated;

– Sydney, Australia-headquartered Macquarie Capital and Central Parking System;

– The $100 billion Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Imperial Parking;

– Alternative investment firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR), ACS and Ampco System Parking; and

– Queensland Investment Corporation Private Capital and LAZ Parking.

For an upfront $375 million sum, the eventual team would be granted a 50-year concession period, as well as a stipulation that allowed for a 7.5 percent annual parking fee increase.

With the revenue generated from leasing its 35,000-space parking operation, OSU would shore up its $1.8 billion endowment fund.

No US college or university has ever leased its on-campus parking to a private concern.

OSU has touted privatisation as a more effective method of handing parking, stressing the university would maintain ownership of its property.

But the effort to privatise on-campus parking has rankled both the faculty and student body.

A faculty council has voted against leasing parking, while a student group recently organized a rally to protest against privatised parking.