Why is there a Buffalo Civic?
- Nonpolitical – avoids problems often associated with municipally run businesses.
- Focus is purely on downtown. BCAR serves only downtown. Board is composed of downtown stakeholders.
- Low cost, efficient operating cost structure.
- Single operator allows for coordinated, consistent downtown parking program.
Who is Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, Inc.?
- A nonprofit entity, independent of the City of Buffalo, formed to manage downtown Buffalo parking facilities. This plan has been in existence since 1954 and became a reality due to the cooperation of the Downtown Merchants, the Board of Parking and the officials of the City of Buffalo through the office of the Mayor, the Common Council and the office of the Comptroller.
- The basic formula of the plan is that the City of Buffalo, by issuance of general city obligation bonds (interest at the going market rate) finances the land acquisition and the construction of the parking garages. The Downtown Stakeholders, through a private not for profit corporation, the Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, Inc., lease the ramps, with ownership remaining to the City of Buffalo. The rent is set at a figure that provides a yearly rental in an amount sufficient to retire the bonds, with interest, over the 30 to 40 year period. All profit over and above rental and operating costs are paid to the City in lieu of property taxes. The operation of the ramps is somewhat unique and its success reflects great credit on both city officials and private businesspersons whose cooperation efforts resulted in the plan. At the outset, it was the viewpoint of the City’s official Parking Board that its’ major effort should be to help downtown merchants solve the downtown parking problem and strengthen assessed valuations in the downtown district by using the City’s credit to acquire sites and construct garages at the lowest possible cost. Then the garages could be turned over to a corporation composed of downtown merchants and bankers to operate them on a non-profit basis.
- A board of 13 private sector members, representing a cross section of people deeply interested in the vitality of downtown Buffalo.
- A partner in a longstanding public/private partnership governed by a management agreement with the City of Buffalo Board of Parking and organized as follows:
- The City (through its Board of Parking) builds and finances facilities throughout the Central Business District.
- The City leases its downtown facilities to BCAR for operation. BCAR collects all revenues and pays all operating expenses.
- Original board primarily composed of retail interests with some representation from banks and others. Today’s board consists of the major Building owners and banks (ie, M&T Bank, HSBC Bank, First Niagara Bank, City View Properties, Iskalo Development, Uniland Development, Ellicott Development, New Era Cap Co., Signature Development, Main Seneca Corp, Hunt Real Estate, Center for Educational Innovation, Hodgson Russ, Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and RBS Citizens Bank