An overview of discussion about the Polk St. Garage with BPA at the July 2 CC meeting (80)

(80th in a series of posts on parking)

We can use our good newsfolk for an overview of this discussion preliminary to a final proposal in August.

Nicole Radzievich, “Does South Bethlehem need another parking garage? Mayor and parking authority think so, but others fear risk to taxpayers.” Morning Call, July 3, 2019.

Sara Satullo, “The $16.8M planned Southside parking deck plans to pay its own way and open by end of 2020.”, July 3, 2019.

  • BPA bought the 3rd and Polk property from the Sands in April for $2.1m
  • The PSG is planned for 470 spaces (New St. = 626, Walnut St. = 777)
  • Open is the possibility of expanding PSG to 750 spaces
  • Price tag for PSG = $16.8m
  • PSG could open December 2020
  • The BPA will not need a loan backed by the City for PSG (unlike for NSG)
  • As planned, the BPA will stop paying the city $450,000 annually in 2021
  • That planned reduction helps the BPA pay new debt on its own
  • No decision yet on whether to renovate or reconstruct WSG
  • Thus, no decision yet on whether WSG will need a city-backed loan
  • The Mayor wants the PSG
  • The Mayor wants the BPA to stand on its own financially
  • The financial advisors say that the BPA can stand on its own for PSG
  • The BPA has commitments now for 370 spaces
  • PSG would include commercial or residential space
  • For policy reasons, the BPA will recommend increasing the fine structure
  • But increased fines are not needed for financing of PSG
  • Questioned was the amount of debt the BPA plans to carry
  • Questioned was what happens if BPA can’t pay its debt
  • Questioned was why contract rates were far under market rate
  • Suggestion was waiting till demand pushes the need for a garage
  • Exploring the use of the “Ruins lot” in the meantime
  • Countered by information that the “Ruins lot” is not and would not be in play
  • Questioned was subsidizing a garage outside city’s historical district
  • BPA plans to vote on securing the private bank loan at its July 24 meeting

Got the general idea? Now let’s go a little deeper.



One thought on “An overview of discussion about the Polk St. Garage with BPA at the July 2 CC meeting (80)

  1. Essentially they bought land from Sands-Bethworks, and a good part of the demand comes from the ‘510 Flats’ building taking over what used to be a large parking area for NCC and for future development of the land that used to be Sands-Bethworks.

    Why aren’t the developers required to provide parking under the buildings — or to pay the full rate for every space? The full rate should be based on the total cost per space to build the structure and repay the debt within 20 years. (≈ $150/month/space)

    I do think NCC should pay less than the full rate, because all its costs are all paid either by taxpayers or by low-income students. (The ‘full’ rate could be increased to cover the subsidy.)

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