Saratoga County

Paid parking figures into 2 of 3 public safety facility plans

Paid parking downtown, which city officials have avoided for years, could be the way to pay for a pu

Paid parking downtown, which city officials have avoided for years, could be the way to pay for a public safety building, two developers proposed in plans presented Friday.

Bonacio Construction and a group led by Forum Industries encouraged the city to add paid parking systems.

Bonacio proposed a plan that would pay for a police station and court building plus give the city $598,592 extra a year in spending money.

And owner Sonny Bonacio sweetened the deal by offering to pay the city $4.5 million up front for the land at the intersection of Maple, Lake and High Rock avenues, as well as a city-owned lot on Broadway between the Collamer and Algonquin buildings.

That proposal sounded pretty good at first blush to at least two city officials.

“That’s good from the perspective of seeing money,” said Ron Kim, commissioner of public safety, after hearing from all three bidders on Friday.

“We’re getting it basically for free,” agreed John Franck, commissioner of accounts, but added he had to study the proposals more.

“They’re not apples to apples,” he said.

Franck said he hasn’t made up his mind about paid parking downtown, adding he wanted to get opinions first from the Downtown Business Association and Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Scott Johnson wouldn’t share his opinions on any of the proposals yet.

“I think it’s premature to indicate what I like and don’t like about the proposals,” Johnson said.

City officials heard sales pitches from all three companies during separate meetings Friday.

All three proposed a deal where the city would pay a yearly lease payment and would own the public buildings after 30 years.

During his presentation Friday, Bonacio said paid parking has to be put everywhere downtown or motorists will still clog the streets driving around looking for a free spot.

“The majority of the traffic is going to be people driving around looking for a place to park,” said Peter Cornell, president of BBL Development Group, which is partnering with the well-known Saratoga Springs builder along with the LA Group and LaBella Associates.

A group called High Rock Partners, made up of Forum Industries of Clifton Park, Turner Construction, Phinney Design Group of Saratoga Springs, Garfield Traub Development and Standard Parking presented what they termed a “Rolls Royce” public safety building, a 56,000-square-foot structure that developers assured city officials they can scale down if needed.

“This is the nicest, best facility that we can offer,” said Stephanie Ferradino, a Saratoga Springs attorney representing the partnership.

The proposal also includes work force housing, a six-screen Zurich Cinema theater, retail space, apartments and an open-air public market in the parking garage area.

If the city followed the developers’ proposal to charge for parking and ramp up advertising in parking garages, the city would pay $1.2 million net a year to lease both buildings.

High Rock Partners’ proposal also makes use of the city’s Broadway lot.

Standard Parking would replace city parking enforcement officers by managing the parking system — writing tickets, selling permits to residents and employees and even handing out umbrellas on rainy days and giving free jumpstarts to stranded motorists, said Jay Rockman, senior vice president.

“We think we can do more to encourage downtown business and encourage development,” Rockman said.

Yorkshire Properties of Clifton Park proposed a three-story public safety building and parking garage. The plan leaves the rest of the lot empty for the city to use later as it wishes.

“The market conditions don’t support that,” Richard White, vice president of Bovis Lend Lease, said of businesses on the site now.

Phinney Design Group of Saratoga Springs and Bovis Lend Lease of Clifton Park are working with Yorkshire.

At the presentations Friday, City Council members were not allowed to question the presenters, a rule that frustrated Kim.

He proceeded to ask a few questions during one of the presentations.

Here are some specifics from each proposal:

YORKSHIRE Properties

Yorkshire Properties presented three options:

A three-story, 47,000-square-foot public safety building outfitted with a new City Court for $1 million a year.

A three-story building with the court left empty for $998,000 a year.

A two-story police building for $862,000 a year.

LEED-certified building.

A 600-space parking garage with free parking for $1 million a year leased.

Bonacio Construction

A $4.5 million payment up front to the city.

The city would spend about $1.8 million to install an electronic paid parking system and create 2,750 metered parking spaces on downtown streets, garages and parking lots.

A 32,800-square-foot public safety building that includes a courtroom, with “green” components; three stories and a basement.

A 910-space parking garage that brings the total metered spaces to 3,660.

The city would pay $2.7 million a year lease for both buildings.

A movie theater, restaurant and a mixed-use building with retail and residential rental units.

Estimated $598,592 a year positive cash flow from parking revenue, tickets, sales and property taxes after the city pays the lease on the public safety and parking garage.

An additional $100,000 in revenue each year if the city elects to build a 400-space parking garage on the Woodlawn Avenue lot.

High Rock Partners

A 56,000-square-foot LEED-certified public safety building, which can be scaled down if city officials wish.

An 850-car parking garage.

A $1.2 million lease price for both buildings after revenue is subtracted.

Paid parking in the city’s garages and surface lots, but not on the streets.

A scaled-down 30,000-square-foot public safety building and 600-car parking garage would cost the city nothing and give it $426,000 a year in revenue.

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