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Allright purchases site for airport parking lot

A $2 million deal to buy the former hotel closed this week, said Nicholas Litton, Allright vice president. The parking company plans to start demolishing the hotel next month and to have the new lot operational by April.
Meanwhile, Monroe County officials and the private operator of the county-owned airport garage said they do not know what impact the new lot will have on their business.
The county’s share of airport parking revenues totaled $3.4 million last year. It ranks as the airport’s single largest non-airline revenue source, said Sherry Hostetter, chairwoman of the county’s Airport Authority.
The airport garage generally is filled to near-capacity, she said, despite competition from several cheaper, off-site private lots.
However, the addition of 800 new spaces–nearly half as many as the county-owned garage’s existing long-term spaces–could shake up the market, she conceded.
A loss in parking revenues would have no financial impact on the county, but would raise airlines’ airport-maintenance fees. Such increases could make the facility less attractive to airlines.
“I don’t know how the county feels about us, but if we take business from them, I’m sure it will drive them crazy,” Litton said.
To start, the new lot will charge $3 to $4 a day–$3.50 to $4.50 less than the county’s daily rate for long-term parking, he said.
Allright plans to ferry passengers to the airport door with 14-passenger shuttle buses. The operation–similar to ones Houston-based Allright runs in five other U.S. cities–will be the first of its kind in Rochester, he said.
The Allright venture will have at most a temporary effect on the county-owned operation, Hostetter predicted.
“It will have some impact at first, but over the long run I think things will level out,” she said. “People like the convenience of being right at the airport.”
Lesley Goldstein, managing director of AM Parking Co., concurred.
AM Parking is under contract to run the parking garage until 1997.
“I imagine the real competition will be with the other surface-lot operators off the airport,” Goldstein said.
Yet he conceded: “I really don’t know how this will play out.”
The Allright move indeed could spark a price war among surface-lot operators around the airport, said Thomas Slattery, president of Public Parking Co.
Slattery’s firm runs two Park Save Fly valet lots near the airport.
Valet lots run air travelers to and from airports in the customers’ own vehicles.
Park Save Fly charges $5 a day or $28 a week.
“I’d be surprised if I didn’t respond to what Allright is doing,” Slattery said, referring to Allright’s plan for a lower-rate structure.
He also took a dimmer view than Goldstein or Hostetter of the newcomer’s impact on the market.
Passenger traffic at the airport is below amounts projected when the facility was renovated in 1989, he said, and such numbers “make things tighter for everybody.”
Added Slattery: “I think Allright has to cut into the county’s business just like Wal-Mart cuts into Kmart.”
“I really don’t know how this will play out.”

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