Sunday, June 17, 2012

More On Bad Broad Ripple Parking Garage Deal

Fellow blogger Pat Andrews continues to do yeoman's work in gathering information on the publicly-financed Broad Ripple parking garage that will be owned entirely by one of Mayor Greg Ballard's largest campaign contributors, Ersal Ozdemir. The Ballard administration used the excuse of Broad Ripple needing additional parking spaces as a ruse for using taxpayer dollars to finance Ozdemir's private real estate development project. The administration is giving Ozdemir nearly $6.5 million, or approximately one-third of the upfront payment the City received from the privatization of the City's parking meter assets, to build his parking garage, which the developer claimed without substantiation would cost about $15 million. The developer balked at having to construct the parking garage above flood plain levels due to the supposed higher costs of construction that would make development prohibitive. After the Board of Zoning Appeals denied the developer's request for a variance that would have permitted construction of the structure below the flood plain, construction is now moving forward. According to the structural permit Andrews found that was filed for its construction, she learned that the estimated cost of the structure is just $8 million, which means taxpayers are paying for about 80% of the cost of the structure that will be owned 100% by Ozdemir. Ozdemir was simply whining because he would have to pay a small percentage of the cost for a commercial development he alone will own. Presumably, taxpayers would have picked up 100% of the tab for construction if the zoning variance he had requested had been granted.

The Ballard administration tricked the public into believing the proposal was merely to construct a new parking garage, but when the developer's plans were publicly disclosed, we learned that it also features substantial retail/commercial development on the ground floor of the 3-story structure. At least 100 of the 350 parking spaces in the new garage will be needed for the retail/commercial space, leaving about 250 new parking spaces for public use. That translates into a cost of $26,000 to the public for each new parking space. The City will never recapture that investment since it is giving the developer 100% of the proceeds from the new development. It's just another example of how corrupt Indianapolis city government has become. The public is simply being raped to enrich one of the Mayor's campaign contributors. These sort of deals would attract the attention of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, but this is Indianapolis where it's considered standard operating procedure and all law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye towards this sort of public corruption. The media in Chicago would also be all over such an outrageous deal, but the media here would describe it as just another successful public-private partnership.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Honestly this boggles the mind. How can this happen and the retail property isn't used along with the garage. What was the point?