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City Poised To Enter Agreement To Sell Morgan Street Garage To State

By JENNA CARLESSO

June 06, 2013

HARTFORD City officials are expected to sign a deal in the next few weeks to sell the Morgan Street parking garage to the state.

At the same time, the city will enter into a long-term lease with the state for the land beneath the garage and rights to future development above the eight-level structure.

The city council approved the sale last week by a 6-2 vote, with one recusal. Councilman David MacDonald, who voted against it, said the city was selling the garage for "pennies on the dollar" to get a quick cash infusion and would likely regret the decision later.

Council President Shawn Wooden, who voted in favor of the deal, said the purchasing price was "a reasonable one." He said he hoped the move would continue to help improve relations between the city and state governments.

Under the agreement, the state would pay the city $23 million for the underused garage. The extra parking space is needed for state workers who will eventually move into the nearby Connecticut River Plaza, officials have said.

The deal also requires the state to pay the city $3.2 million over four years to obtain a 99-year lease for the land under the garage and rights to future development above it. The $23 million would pay off the debt on the property tied to initial construction and subsequent improvements.

State officials said they would honor existing monthly parking agreements and keep the garage available to the public as much as possible.

The 2,290-space garage opened in 2002 and had a 90 percent monthly occupancy when UnitedHealthcare was the anchor tenant at Connecticut River Plaza. When the health insurer moved to CityPlace in 2010, the monthly occupancy was cut nearly in half.

The garage now has a monthly occupancy of 53 percent, up from 47 percent a year ago. It has brought in the least revenue of the Hartford Parking Authority's three facilities, which include the Church Street and MAT garages, officials said.

This year, the Morgan Street garage was expected to bring in $979,900 and cost $617,560 in upkeep and other expenses, leaving a profit of $362,340, according to a review of city documents. By contrast, the MAT garage is expected to bring in about $2.1 million and cost close to $900,000, leaving a profit of $1.2 million.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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