Los Angeles approves parking agreement

The City Council’s approval paves the way for Los Angeles to release the final agreement to bidders interested in a 50-year concession on nine parking garages. A winning bidder could be selected in March.

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a final parking concession agreement for the city’s Public Parking Garage System, clearing the way for investors to bid for a 50-year lease of the system’s nine garages.

“The council faced a tough choice, and it did the right thing,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement after the council’s vote.

Los Angeles' parking garages
could soon be under private

Before the vote Wednesday, Villaraigosa had warned the council he would have to lay off staff if they did not approve the concession agreement for the parking garage system. “I will have no option but to order our city’s managers to effectuate position eliminations – including layoffs – necessary to balance the city’s current fiscal year budget,” Villaraigosa wrote in a letter to council.

Los Angeles anticipates the garage lease to generate $53 million for its fiscal year 2010-2011 budget, according to the letter. The money is needed to help close a budget gap of approximately $490 million.

Los Angeles began a bidding process for the garages nearly a year ago when it released a request for qualifications from interested bidders. More than a dozen investors, including Starwood Capital Group, Bainbridge ZKS and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, expressed interest in the concession, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In August, the city council approved the release of a draft agreement for the concession. The city spent the next several months soliciting feedback from the qualified bidders and other stakeholders to prepare the final version of the agreement, which is now cleared for bidding.

A winning bidder could be selected in March, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Representatives of the Los Angeles City Administrative Officer, the mayor’s office and the Los Angeles City Council did not return calls seeking comment.