Million-dollar bust (Texas Tech, cronyism, and a useless garage)
Much more at link. The principals of this suspicious deal are amazed and perplexed that the huge eyesore is 3/4 empty. It just doesn’t register with them that there are students who can’t afford a grand a year for parking, and many others who wouldn’t pay that even if they could afford it.
Texas Tech and its alumni association stand to lose as much as $1.2 million from leasing the Raider Park parking garage in a deal involving a number of prominent alumni of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Raider Park, a $25 million venture located at 2522 Marsha Sharp Freeway, is a privately owned parking garage held by a limited partnership controlled by Clayton Isom, a 29-year-old Phi Delta Theta alumnus from Tech with deep ties to the university and its alumni board.
Currently, the lease agreement requires Tech and the alumni association to pay $750,000 a year to lease 1,000 parking spaces and 18 RV spaces, which are used by Tech students during the week and attendees at Red Raider football games on the weekends. Only about one-third of the spaces have been leased.
The university and the alumni association have lost $440,000 since the deal was signed in December of 2009. They will likely lose an additional $760,000 in the next several years.
The lack of demand, the pricing of parking spots and other shortcomings cited by students — such as location — have resulted in two-thirds of the parking garage not being filled.
In the original lease agreement, the alumni association assumed responsibility for selling the 1,000 parking permits to students. However, when fewer than 100 student permits were sold, University Parking Services took over the responsibility.
The prices of the parking permits were lowered, which provided affordable parking for students but, at the same time, restricted the potential revenue for the alumni association and Tech, making it impossible to break even.
Russell Thomasson, special assistant and counsel to the chancellor, said the alumni association was interested in Raider Park parking garage because of its location. They felt the garage was the best alternative to the Commuter North parking lot. However, 1,022 people remain on the waiting list for Commuter North despite roughly 650 parking spots being available at Raider Park parking garage.
The Red Raider Club also became responsible for parking on game day when the alumni association was unable to attract customers. Even if all the parking spaces and RV spaces were sold at current prices, the university would still lose several hundred thousand dollars.