Jeff Sykes thinks we should be looking at the Winston-Salem parking decks in order to gain understanding with regard to the proposals in Greensboro. I will excerpt from his blog post liberally. Consider the following:
City staff in Greensboro is among the best I’ve ever seen at talking their way through a challenge with bureaucratic legalese. That will also be a major hurdle in the coming discussion of the parking deck plan...
The recently begun West End Station along Brookstown Avenue is a $35 million project that involves 229 apartment units and a 300-space parking deck. There is no mention of public incentives for this project.
A more recent development, Link Apartments Innovation Quarter, is much more similar in parking deck size to the Greensboro proposal. This $43.5 million project entails 340 apartments with an 850-space parking deck open to the public. What is most interesting here is the public portion of the financing scheme. The city and Forsyth County’s involvement is limited to a total of $8 million, to be paid from new property taxes generated by the development.
Think about that for a moment. In Winston-Salem, developers can build a massive apartment complex with 850 parking spaces with only $8 million in public funds but in Greensboro the richest developers in town need $28 million just for the parking deck?
Serious questions need to be asked about the details of the taxpayer-backed scheme in Greensboro.
Lastly, a massive proposed project going by the name of Brookstown District is still in the approval stage from what I could determine online. This massive mixed-use project will transform the area around Winston’s baseball stadium, Biz-40 and Peters Creek Parkway. It will be a completely new anchor on the busiest corridor into downtown from the south side.
This project has a 1000-space parking deck component that is being built for $16 million. Again, the property taxes from the improved development are dedicated to pay for the project. Moreover, the annual financing cost to the city is listed at $1.3 million. The $80 million investment from Brand Properties here, combined with $29 million from Grubbs Properties already completed Link Apartments Brookstown (separate from the new WFIQ project) brings enough new property tax revenue to cover the costs.
Interestingly, Triad City Beat’s Jordan Green has reported that Greensboro’s estimated annual financing cost is $2.3 million for each proposed deck ($4.6 million total for both projects.) That is more than $1 million a year higher than what they are paying in Winston-Salem.
In Greensboro there are census tracts ringing the downtown area with poverty rates above 40 percent. The city is already committed to spending $68 million in public money to finance its portion of the stalled Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, which increased from $51 million in late 2016 with zero public scrutiny. Another $56 million for parking decks connected to well-heeled developers brings to $124 million in public money being spent on pet projects downtown while the city’s poverty rate hovers at 20 percent...
The agenda item pulled from the Nov. 14 council meeting needs to be thoroughly scrutinized. Two provisions stand out. One had a provision giving corporate entities credit for land already owned as an expense in the city-financed parking deck. More interestingly, public records indicate the land is valued at $1.4 million but the city scheme gives them credit for $2.5 million. The same document also says the city’s $28 million parking deck cost cannot exceed 50 percent of the investment in the total project. Again, Jordan Green has reported the total value of both hotel projects in Greensboro as a combined $49.5 million. Math dictates that one of these projects cannot meet the 50 percent threshold.
Jeff has done a great job researching this question. We are witnessing crony socialism in the city of Greensboro, which is nothing new here. All our progressive local politicians love to pat themselves on the back for pushing this type of junk.