Parking authority using bond funds to finance projects
By Deserae del Campo
The Miami Parking Authority has tapped into a $40.7 million bond issue to help finance major parking projects under construction or recently completed.
"This bond issue represents the most aggressive growth spurt for the Miami Parking Authority that we've had in 30 years," said Art Noriega, authority executive director. "It will allow us to better serve some of the underserved neighborhoods like Allapattah, the West Grove and Little Havana."
The authority's strong bond rating yielded competitive interest rates, allowing the agency to borrow more, Mr. Noriega said.
The late March bond issue was facilitated by parking consulting firm Leonard Bier & Associates, which handled the comprehensive parking and financial analysis; RBC Dain Rauscher, which assisted with structuring and pricing of the bond; and Bear Stearns, the bond underwriter.
Most of the bond proceeds, $25.9 million, are being channeled into the Garage 1 parking, office and retail project at 40 NW Third St., due for completion in mid-2008.
The garage's 700 parking spaces will replace 515 spaces. There will be 34,000 square feet of office space and 4,500 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
The authority plans to use 12,000 square feet of office space or lease it to another government entity.
"We are really becoming a 21st-century parking agency and will continue to be leaders in terms of technology and building our parking infrastructure," Mr. Noriega said. "We want to continue to be a tremendous asset to the City of Miami, and this bond issue allows us to do that.
"It is possible that we will issue more bonds in the future. We have a couple more projects that could come online in the Grove and the Design District, and we are now looking at financing options, including bonds," he said.
Other projects funded with the bond issue are:
$3.3 million for the Allapattah Parking Plaza at 2121 NW 21st St. The garage, due to be finished this month, will include 350 parking spaces and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
$1.9 million for about 350 parking spaces under Interstate 395. The parking authority constructed the lots and expects to be reimbursed for construction costs with the bond issue. The land is leased to the Florida Department of Transportation for 10 years.
$4 million for 300 pay-and-display parking meters.
$1.3 million for two surface parking lots on Watson Island. The authority built a 343-space surface lot next to the Miami Children's Museum and a 95-space surface lot near the Watson Island boat ramp. The authority is to manage the lots for 20 years.