Millennium Park Garage Revenues on the Rise

Garage Use Has Doubled Since August, Final Parking Spaces Will Open in Two Weeks.

Budget Office, Lisa Schrader, (312) 744-1835

The City of Chicago today released the Millennium Park garage 2001 fourth-quarter revenues, which have seen steady growth since the garage opened in February 2001.

The fourth-quarter revenues show an 89% growth from the third quarter and a 338% growth since the second quarter. Fourth-quarter revenues totaled nearly $980,000, while third and second quarters were $519,000 and $223,000 respectively.

December revenue for the garage was $349,576, which represents a more than $184,000 increase since the $165,537 August revenue.

“Garage use has increased each month and has more than doubled since August,” said City of Chicago Revenue Director Bea Reyna-Hickey. “We have every reason to anticipate continued growth and even larger revenues in the first quarter of 2002.”

Later this month, the final phase of garage construction will be complete, and the City will open the 303 remaining parking spaces. Those additional spaces will bring the Millennium Park garage to full capacity with 2,181 spaces.

The garage was anticipated to have 2,400 spaces when the bonds for garage construction were issued, but some spaces were eliminated to facilitate the creation of a Millennium Park Music and Dance Theatre.

“With the opening of the McCormick-Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park and the final parking spaces, we believe that more and more people will use the garage,” said Hickey.

Millennium Park garage revenues are used to pay debt service on the bonds the City sold to obtain a large portion of funding for the Millennium Park project. Central Loop Tax Increment District funds were also used to pay a portion of the debt service for the downtown public works project that is contiguous to the central loop.

The Central Loop Tax Increment District, which was created in 1983, obtains funds from tax increments gained from rising downtown property values that are above the base level set at the time the District is established. Those tax increments come from downtown, predominantly commercial properties, and are used for economic development and public works. Ideally, those projects continue to increase property value levels in the surrounding areas. No neighborhood property tax revenue has been or will be spent on the project.

Since the garage opened in February 2001 with 250 spaces, the City has steadily opened more spaces throughout the year and undertook publicity efforts to draw customers to the garage. The introductory parking rate has continued to be $10.

When completed, Millennium Park will be Chicago’s newest world class destination for families, tourists and convention goers, alongside the lakefront museums and Navy Pier. Moreover, it will guarantee new jobs and revenues for the City for decades to come.

According to Arthur Andersen, Millennium Park should generate between two and three million tourist visits to Chicago per year. Conservative estimates say this would translate into between $100 million to $150 million of new tourist revenues each year in Chicago.