The Lower Broadway overflow casino parking lot was expected to be a revenue stream worth several million dollars a year for the City – which is operating the lot for three years – but those estimates are coming in much lower due to lower usage than expected.
City officials didn’t immediately have an explanation for the lower numbers, but said it was likely due to Encore making its parking lot free on weekdays, and free for Red Card holders on weekends – cutting into the use of the City’s paid parking lot across the street.
City Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas said they had expected around $5-6 million a year from the lot over a period of three years. However, that is no longer the estimate, even though the parking lot is still making money.
“Usage is down,” he said. “At this point, we’re not anticipating making those initial estimates we received from Encore. It is a fluid situation and we’re adjusting accordingly…Through the end of September, we received a net in excess of $400,000.”
Demas said he didn’t have official numbers yet for October when parking became free for everyone the whole month, but he did say the parking lot made money over the Oct. 19-20 weekend.
“We still collected $6,000 over that weekend,” he said. “People are still parking there, but not to the extent we thought they would. Encore’s parking is getting full, so we do see an increased usage of our lot during the busy times at Encore on Thursday through Sunday. So, we’re still getting revenues.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he is still encouraged by the lot, as he was a big proponent of operating it for the interim. He said they are still paying taxes on it, still intend to develop it, and the City isn’t losing any money.
“We aren’t seeing as much money on the parking as we thought we’d see,” said the mayor. “They are still paying taxes on the property, and we are still seeing some good money for that. They only have three years to operate that lot. They’re moving on to the next phase of re-development of that parking lot and all the property they purchased from Dexter to Beacham. We’re anticipating reviewing some new development in there in the next few years.”
Demas said they are exploring right now the idea of leasing spaces to businesses in the area that need parking – particularly during the slower periods.
“The mayor is looking to maximize those revenue opportunities,” he said.