The Parking Wars Are Over In Charlottesville, Virginia! … For Now.

by Jerry Miller, Publisher

Well, guys, the Charlottesville Parking Wars are now over. Thank God. Mark Brown is getting paid and the City of Charlottesville has control of the Water Street Parking Garage again. All of that is coming up on Miller’s Minute by Greenberry’s Coffee Co.

Miller’s Minute is brought to you by Greenberry’s Coffee Co., Charlottesville’s longest running coffee roasters.

Mark Brown weaseled a fat paycheck from the City of Charlottesville. He is getting $413,000+ for giving up control of the Water Street Parking Garage. That’s upfront money.

Brown sued the City of Charlottesville two years ago because of issues with his joint venture with the City. This very public lawsuit has since been settled. That’s where the $413K comes into play.

The City of Charlottesville has control of the Water Street Parking Garage for the next 16 years. To gain control, the City of CVille had to buy 73 parking spaces ($413K+) from Brown AND also had to lease an additional 317 parking spaces from Brown over the next 16 years. Those leased parking spaces will pay Mark Brown at least $600,000 per year for the next 16 years. The $600,000 will escalate by 2.5% EVERY YEAR for the next 16 years.

Brown purchased the company for $13.8 million in 2014, so his return on investment in this deal is off the charts. The City of Charlottesville will cover all the operational expenses to run the Water Street Garage. That means all Brown has to do for the next 16 years is deposit a yearly check of $600,000+ (2.5% yearly escalator) at his bank: BB&T Court Square.

Brown has taken the guaranteed money. The City of Charlottesville wants control of its garage again. Finally, the fight is over.

Here’s my assessment of The Charlottesville Parking Wars truce:

(1). As taxpayers, we are certainly going to subsidize this $413,000+ of upfront money. So, think about that, CVille.

(2). Mark Brown is making a killing here. He backed the City of CVille into a corner by leveraging the Water Street Parking Garage along with the threat of long-term legal action. While Brown certainly has done tremendous damage to his personal and professional reputations in Charlottesville, he, nevertheless, made out like a bandit on this deal.

(3). I think Charlottesville City Council made a strategic and forward-thinking move here. Downtown Charlottesville and its business owners demanded that the City get control of the Water Street Parking Garage again. City Council had to do well by the businesses downtown that rely on affordable and accessible parking for their customers and employees.

(4). So, yes, City Council may have paid a little more upfront, but, in the end, they made a smart decision getting control of the garage and doing what was best for the Charlottesville Downtown Mall and its merchants, who certainly represent the heartbeat of Charlottesville, Virginia.

(5). Now, I’m curious: What happens after 16 years?? I’m betting that Brown is going to renegotiate the leases on the 317 parking spaces. Time will tell…

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Jerry Miller, CEO & Publisher

Jerry Miller is the founder & CEO of I Love CVille, VMV Brands and I Love CVille Real Estate, which are all head-quartered on The Historic Charlottesville Downtown Mall. Jerry is passionate about the #ShopLocal movement and supporting local merchants, restaurants, breweries and wineries. Get to know Jerry at JerryMillerNow.com.