Nature museum ponders P3 underground parking garage

The Canadian Museum of Nature is seeking expressions of interest concerning a new underground parking garage that would be operated through a public-private partnership.

In documents posted on Merx, a procurement site, the museum states it is looking for a qualified company interested in “a position to construct, fund, maintain and operate a new underground parking facility through a ‘long-term lease to own’ private-public partnership.”

The museum seeks to house 200 cars in the facility and says the parking structure can be located on the east or west side of the Victoria Memorial Museum Building, which is the museum’s main site.

After the museum completed a $216 million renovation and fully re-opened to the public in 2010, officials found that the museum’s annual average attendance of 450,000 visitors cannot be accommodated with its 96 permanent parking places. It is currently providing additional parking in a temporary parking lot on the west side of the grounds, which adds 110 spaces.

Annual parking revenues are estimated at $650,000, with operations costs of $50,000.

To grant use of the land, the museum plans to charge $600,000 minimum for an annual lease, indexed at 1.5 per cent a year, for use of the land for no more than 35 years.

The proponent would be responsible for such items such as construction costs, land taxes, maintenance and utilities payments and capital repairs, while the museum will take care of landscaping over the structure as well as lawn care and snow removal.

The winning proponent can pay its costs out of parking revenues after taking care of its lease financial responsibility for the museum, the solicitation documents stated.

There is an optional site visit Thursday. Submissions are due Nov. 15, and there is no firm date yet set for a request for proposals nor construction.