AP NEWS

W-B Council To Hear About Proposed $2M Parkade Sale

April 24, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — It would probably take the city a couple decades to make as much revenue from parking fees at the Park & Lock East parkade as it would to sell the structure in a deal negotiated by Mayor Tony George’s administration.

City council will hear about the proposed $2 million sale to Washington & Market Street Properties LLC at today’s work session.

According to financial statements The Citizens’ Voice obtained for the 20-year-old parkade at North Washington and East Market streets, the city’s annual revenue from parking permits and hourly parking fees at the parkade averaged about $300,000 between 2014 and 2016, while expenses for those years averaged about $196,000.

That netted the city about $104,000 per year, plus about $24,000 in annual parking taxes.

In 2017, the city netted only about $18,000 because revenue had dropped to $283,000 and expenses, which included about $79,000 in one-time repairs, totaled about $265,000.

Most of the annual revenue, however, is used to pay back a loan to the city Office of Community Development that was taken out to pay for construction of the garage, according to city Administrator Ted Wampole.

The city still owes the OCD $377,000. Because the loan is not amortized, there is no pre-determined amount due annually, but the loan must eventually be repaid because the office is federally subsidized.

So, assuming the city continued netting about $100,000 annually from parking fees, it would take almost four years to pay off the OCD loan and about 17 more years to accumulate revenue equaling the proposed $2 million sale payment.

But that revenue stream is not guaranteed, Wampole said, given Geisinger Health Plan’s announcement in February that the company will move hundreds of employees into a new office building in CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park in Jenkins Twp.

According to an appraisal of the parkade prepared late last year by Alan P. Rosen, Geisinger was leasing 208 parking spaces in Park & Lock East, accounting for nearly $175,000 in annual revenue.

“That’s revenue we’d never see again unless (the owners of the building currently housing Geisinger offices are) able to rent out the office space,” Wampole said.

The principles of Washington & Market Street Properties — Martin Mariano and Antonio Rado — own the building adjacent to the parkade that houses Geisinger Health Plan offices.

Other companies that lease some of the 453 spaces in the parkade include Verizon, with 59 spaces, and Washington Street Renewal, with 73 spaces, according to the appraisal.

The major reason the administration is recommending the sale is that “obviously, we were made a good offer,” Wampole said. “They’re paying one-third more than the appraised value.”

Although the parkade has an assessed value of $3.6 million according to Luzerne County records, Rosen’s appraisal set the fair market value at $1.55 million.

Contact the writer:

smocarsky@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2110, @MocarskyCV

 

IF YOU GO

Wilkes-Barre City Council meets for a work session today at 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of City Hall, 40 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre.