Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald stressed that the city wanted a "responsible buyer" who would seek to update the aging garage in conjunction with planned renovations of LOVE Park, located at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard.
McDonald said the city was exploring the sale because the administration had decided that the garage was "not a part of core city functions." He said a likely sale price had not been determined. The city makes $1.2 million annually from the garage.
McDonald said the proceeds would go to one-time expenses like paying off debt, shoring up the underfunded pension fund or investing in aging infrastructure. And this may not be the last sale for the city. McDonald said the mayor is awaiting a report from a task force headed by former mayoral candidate Tom Knox, that's looking at what other city assets it might make sense to sell.
Earlier this month, the city hired a team of advisors to assist with the potential sale of municipal gas utility PGW.
Council President Darrell Clarke said he was an advocate of selling city holdings when appropriate. He said he had recommended selling the garage in the past and noted that there were operators interested in the facility under Mayor Street.
"I think if there's a significant level of interest, hopefully the administration and council can work together at getting aggressive on this," said Clarke, who noted that under Street there was speculation that the garage could sell for $35 million to $40 million. Proposals are due by Sept. 21 and the city is looking for the broker to start Nov. 1.
Contact Catherine Lucey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-4172. Follow her on Twitter @PhillyClout. Read her blog at phillyclout.com.