The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today voted 6-0-1, with City Council Member Dianna Puccetti abstaining, to take two actions related to the Shearn Moody Plaza Parking Garage, which is across 25th Street from the Port of Galveston offices in Shearn Moody Plaza.
The first action authorized Executive Director Steve Cernak to enter into an option to acquire the lease of the garage from the Shearn Moody Plaza Corporation.
“This would be a lease of the entire facility,” explained Wharves Board Chair Roland Bassett. “Right now the port and other tenants of this building are leasing parking places. This would be a lease of the entire building.” Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
The second motion was to authorize Cernak to submit a bid to purchase the garage from the city. Mitchell Historic Properties hopes to purchase the building as part of its plans for the Downtown Transportation Terminal which will be constructed at 25th and The Strand under the Livable Communities Initiative. Bids were to have been opened last Friday, but the opening was delayed until this Friday.
The wharves board voted 6-0-1, with Benny Holland abstaining to retain the law firm of Greer Herz & Adams, specifically attorneys Andy Mytelka and Joe Russo, to represent the port in the collection of insurance proceeds payable for Hurricane Ike claims.
The wharves board voted unanimously to approve an engagement letter from Null-Lairson P.C. Certified Public Accountants to audit the financial statements of the wharves board and the Galveston Port Facilities Corporation, extending the agreement with the firm for another year.
The wharves board voted unanimously to award a contract to Callan Marine, Ltd. to dredge the turning basin to accommodate large vessels, including cruise ships, at a cost not to exceed $950,000.
The wharves board unanimously approved a $1,031,600 contract with NBG Constructors for Pier 16 and 18 rehabilitation; and voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the design services and construction management agreement with A/W Mechanical Services, LP for additional Phase V improvements to the Del Monte Refrigerated Warehouse at Piers 16 and 18 at a total cost not to exceed $48,980 for the additional work.
An item dealing with the status of proposed lease/concession transactions for port properties being pursued by the board’s financial advisor, BMO Capital Markets GKST, was withdrawn from the agenda.
The wharves board deferred action on a review of the “ethical obligations of public officers and employees” because the board’s attorney Hulse Wagner had to leave the meeting early.
All other action items on the agenda were approved with unanimous votes.
During Cernak’s report to the board, there was a spirited discussion of the parking lot issue brought to the attention of the board by ILA Local 20 President Teddy O’Rourke that was the subject of a special executive session last week. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Trustee Benny Holland was concerned that an adjacent lot, which is owned by the port, has not been full, while a lot in question, apparently owned in part by former wharves board member Don Suderman, is doing good business. Cernak said he is working on a report to the board on the issue.
“The person who owns the other parking lot, behind it, as we know, was a former board member, so that doesn’t look good,” Holland said. “It doesn’t pass the smell test. I don’t care what anybody says, it doesn’t pass the smell test. So I want a damn good explanation why we are not putting cars in that parking area that we paid $4 million for when a past board member of this board owns the parking lot 30 feet away and it’s full every week.”
Questions related to the parking lot issue have been referred to the district attorney.