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  • Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Abu Dhabi and the case of the Chicago Parking Meters

    When I heard about this, some months back, I was slightly bemused. What exactly was the investment? Was it a joke? Was it an urban myth? Well, it's took me more than 6 months to follow up and I can confirm that it was reported as true. It doesn't necessarily mean that it is true, but it looks like a sturdy investment.

    It was December 1, 2008. That morning would be the first time that the Chicago City Council would be formally notified that Mayor Richard Daley had struck a deal with Morgan Stanley to lease all of Chicago's parking meters for seventy-five years. The final amount of the bid was $1,156,500,000, a lump sum to be paid to the city of Chicago for seventy-five years' worth of parking meter revenue....He then gave them the details: he had arranged a lease deal with Morgan Stanley, which put together a consortium of investors which in turn put a newly created company called Chicago Parking Meters LLC in charge of the city's meters. There was no mention of who the investors were or who the other bidders might have been. ... The council at this time has no idea who's actually behind the deal. "We were never informed," says Hairston. "Not even later."

    Assuming that cars remain part of every day life and that people will continue to drive and that flying cars won't be able to "hover park" in the sky, then assuming the numbers add up, this is a solid investment. Who knows the number of parking meters. There probably are quite a few - Chicago is a big city - and so the calculation of days of the year and usage is a simple calculation - somewhat similar to RevPar with hotels.

    And no doubt, the revenue that was brought in probably developed an idea to enforce MAWAQIF in Abu Dhabi - the bane of the Abu Dhabi driver.

    The selling off of a bread and butter operation of parking revenue is short termist, but no doubt filled the short terms needs - but the Chicago driver must be feeling the pain of price rises and no free parking on holidays. There's no give without take!

    Why Does Abu Dhabi Own All of Chicago's Parking Meters?

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