Cork’s city manager has confirmed his officials are in talks with the operator of one of the city’s largest private car parks about a possible takeover.
However, Tim Lucey declined to discuss the detail of the negotiation about the Q-Park-run City Hall car park because of the “commercial sensitivity” involved.
Q-Park operates dozens of car parks in Dublin, Belfast, Limerick, and five car parks in Cork City — at Carroll’s Quay, Grand Parade, North Main Street, St Finbarr’s near Wandesford Quay, and City Hall at Eglinton Street.
During this week’s city council meeting, Mr Lucey told councillors the city is now in talks with Q-Park about the operation of the 395-space 24-hour, City Hall facility.
Mr Lucey said the original agreement entered into with Q-Park concerning the operation of the car park was put in place for 25 years with a break option after 14 years.
That point has now been reached and the agreement is now up for review, he said.
He said there are two options up for discussion:
nQ-Park can opt out of the operation of the car park and transfer the facility back to the city on receipt of a payment;
nOr continue operating the car park for next 11 years, at which point it must be transferred back to the city for a nominal sum — understood to be as little as €1.
Mr Lucey said the negotiations are ongoing, and he declined to go into detail on the nature of the discussions in public.
But he said he would keep councillors fully briefed on the progress of the talks, before advising the council’s roads and transportation committee.
Q-Park finance director Gerard Callaghan confirmed the talks are ongoing.
Recent figures show the city council’s income from its car parks is down €350,000 in the first quarter of this year. If the trend continues, the shortfall could be €700,000 by the end of the year.
This shortfall, combined with falls in other income areas, have prompted fears that the city is facing a mini-budget within weeks in order to balance its books for 2012.
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