Yankee Stadium Parking Strikes Out…


Yankee Stadium Parking Strikes Out…

There is some irony here. Or maybe its point of view. The cover article on the IPI's November issue of the Parking Professional is about the parking at Yankee Stadium. As you read through the article, you find that the 4000 spaces divided between two modern, will designed garages can make a great difference to fans and local residents in the Bronx.

However, if you read this article in today's NY Daily News you find another side of the story. It seems the project is so far in the red that most likely it will default. Yankee fans are staying away in droves. The garages are running at 60% capacity during home games and basically are empty (one is closed) the rest of the year. Money Quote:

"The truth of the matter is, the whole thing's a mess," said one financial adviser to several bondholders. "If the city doesn't step in, there's no way Bronx Parking (the organization who built and runs the garages) can pay back the money it took to build those garages."

Bronx Parking has already failed to pay more than $10 million in back rent and interest to the city for the garage system, which sits on city-owned land. The bondholders have asked for more time to review the company's plans to avoid a total collapse. But anyone who looks at the numbers will realize that this could be one of the most embarrassing defaults of a tax-exempt bond in decades for New York City.

My spies on the scene say that anyone with a minor knowledge of parking could have told them that their business model was doomed to failure. I did the numbers and if the garages were completely full for every home game(80) the money generated would not pay the interest on the mortgage. Operating costs and the rest simply weren't in the cards. When the operating company realized what was happening, they raised the price of parking and simply drove more people to the subway or nearby (less than two blocks) garages that charge less than half what the Yankees charge.

The headline in the Parking Professional is "New Yankee Stadium Parking is Home Run for Bronx." Maybe the design and the rest are pretty and well thought out, but the money side is more like a pop up to the infield.

The garages aren't providing "much needed" parking to the area, since existing garages aren't being used nearly to capacity (the one Yankee fans prefer at a mall down the street is normally less than half full.) The PP article notes that there is now park land and other amenities surrounding the garages which provide recreational activities to the area.

All that is well and good. However who is going to pay for it. I'll tell you who. It will be that taxpayers of New York City. The Yankees I'm sure figured a way to get a garage for their new stadium without having to pony up any money. Whoever provided the funding model should be pretty embarrassed, but they won't have to put up the quarter of a billion dollars to pay off the bonds.

This is another boondoggle that has gotten us, at all levels of government, into the sad fiscal state we are in. I'm in an ongoing argument over at Linked in with some Brits over whether building and owning garages is profitable. I say it isn't unless there is a generator nearby to fill it up. The Yankees don't have enough parkers or enough games to pay for their garages and the neighborhood isn't taking up the slack. I rest my case.



John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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