Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
Ohio State officials announced the Australia-based investment company QIC Global Infrastructure as the highest bidder for the leasing of parking assets.
QIC has placed a $483 million bid to enter into a 50-year agreement that would cap rate increases on parking at 5.5 percent annually for the first 10 years of the deal.
“QIC Global Infrastructure has a successful track record of managing transportation systems on behalf of its clients,” Ross Israel, head of QIC, said in a statement. “If we are selected for this project, we fully commit to providing The Ohio State University with the quality service consistent with what they have always offered to their customers.”
Joseph Alutto, OSU’s executive vice president and provost, said the 5.5 percent cap might ease previous concerns about parking rate increases stemming from parking privatization.
University officials said they will make a recommendation on the decision by Friday. The school began looking to privatize parking assets about a year ago.
QIC’s bid came in higher than those from the other two finalists – a $417 million bid and a $390 million bid from Macquarie and IFM, respectively.
The bid was one of three bidding scenarios presented by QIC. They offered OSU as much as $523 million in a deal that would cap rate increases at 7.5 percent. A third scenario would have set the rate increase cap at 6.5 percent. That bid came in at $509 million. In each of the three scenarios, QIC’s bid was higher than those presented by Macquarie and IFM.
Alutto stressed this was not a “done deal,” and there are still several stages to go through before making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees at its June 21-22 meeting.
If recommended to the Board and then passed, QIC will partner with LAZ Parking to take over operations of all permit sales, parking lots and parking garages – more than 36,000 parking spaces, according to a QIC release – over a 50-year period.
Alutto said he was not surprised the bid was $108 million more than the basement price set for bids at $375 million.
“I’m not surprised by the fact that it came in much higher,” Alutto said. “The overall number is high, which gives us the flexibility to invest in the quality of the institution.”
President E. Gordon Gee said he expected the bids to be near $400 million, and that he hoped the bids would reach almost $500 million.