Council offered $75m for car park
Auckland Council has been offered $75 million by two businessmen keen to snap up one of its inner city car park buildings.
James Brown and Simon Rowntree, who run Tournament Parking, said their offer for the multilevel 890-space Downtown building on Customs Street would give the council funds to fast track rail-link plans without having to consider selling two other high profile CBD sites.
Recent reports have suggested the council might sell a section of Queen Elizabeth Square and privatise sections of Queens Wharf.
Brown and Rowntree said the offer was unconditional. They visited council authorities this morning with a $7.5m deposit cheque this morning and said their proposed settlement date for the remaining $67.5m was July 1.
Mayor Len Brown said the Council would need to look at the proposal in detail.
"As with any proposal, we need to ensure it makes good commercial sense and is consistent with our plans for the downtown area.
"But it is good to see energy in the downtown market, and opportunities to pragmatically make out transport and city centre plan happen,'' he said.
Brown and Rowntree said they were prompted to make the offer after proposals were made to privatise inner city public space including Queen's Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Square.
"The rail link is essential for Auckland but it's wrong for the council to sell public space to fund it," their spokesman said.
"This offer would keep Queen's Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Square in public ownership while providing $75m cash to kick-start Mayor Len Brown's vision for long-awaited first-world public transport."
They say the $75m offer was a significant premium on the carpark's value and included clauses preventing them from increasing casual parking rates, presently $3 an hour at the Council-owned site, above the rate of inflation for at least five years.
Tournament Parking casual rates for some Auckland sites are $4 for half an hour.