The Greensboro City Council approved $37 million in bond financing for the February 1–Westin Hotel Parking deck at the virtual meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

The vote to approve was 6-2 with Councilmembers Sharon Hightower and Michelle Kennedy voting no and Councilmember Justin Outling recused because one of his partners at Brooks Pierce had been involved earlier in the process.

The current total cost estimate of $36 million is considerably higher than the original estimate of $30 million. The $37 million in bonds is the maximum amount of bonds that can be sold.

According to City Manager David Parrish, the 946 space Eugene Street parking deck that is very close to opening will cost the city a total of about $29 million.

The February One Place–Westin Hotel parking deck will have 720 parking spaces and cost $36 million according to the current estimate. That is a cost per parking space of $50,000 each. The Eugene Street parking deck by comparison is $29 million for 946 parking spaces is a cost per space of about $30,600.

So building the February 1–Westin Hotel parking deck is costing nearly $20,000 more per space than a parking deck started at the same time a few blocks away.

Parrish said that the February 1 deck “was always contemplated to be more complex and take a little longer.”

Parrish also predicted that the February 1 deck, following the approval of the financing, would be coming out of the ground in February. Parrish made the same prediction for the February 1 parking deck over a year ago when the construction contract for $25.8 million was approved in September 2019. At that time Parrish said that the construction would likely be coming out of the ground early in 2020. It is worth noting, considering what a year 2020 has been, that would have been in the pre-coronavirus portion of the year.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that the city already had considerable investment in the February 1 parking deck project.

Vaughan said that those investments include $2 million for design, $3.3 million for land and easement costs and $7.5 million in construction costs.

Since the February 1 parking deck is to have a 180 room Westin Hotel built on top of the southern portion, the deck itself will have to be constructed to carry that additional weight. One of the fears expressed by opponents to the project early on was that the City of Greensboro would end up paying those additional construction costs, which will benefit the owners of the hotel, not the city.

It is certainly one explanation for high cost of the February 1 parking deck.