An attempt to give Missouri-based technology consulting firm Perficient reserved spots at a discounted rate for its employees to park at a city-owned parking garage in downtown Lafayette stalled after council members and existing garage tenants expressed concern with giving the company preferential treatment.
After about two hours of discussion between the Lafayette City-Parish Council and Public Works Director Kevin Blanchard, the council agreed to defer the matter.
“I think the message is clear: We want Perficient to be here,” Councilman Don Bertrand said. “Yesterday, we didn’t have a parking problem. Today we do. So it’s a harbinger of what’s to come. We want to give them all consideration as best we can.”
Perficient, which last year announced a 10-year commitment to open a more than 200-employee operation in Lafayette, is eyeing the old Jefferson Street Market, where the Lafayette Public Library operated for the last four years.
Blanchard proposed a resolution to the council that would give him authority to negotiate a 5-year deal, reserving the fourth and fifth floors of the garage for the company’s employees at a discounted rate of about $2,000 a month. The employees would be given access cards for use during business hours, with those fourth and fifth floors open to the public during nights and weekends.
Blanchard and the council wrangled back and forth on how to address the negotiations, which he said would bring use to the generally under-utilized structure and give the company an incentive to move downtown.
“I think they’re looking for some amount of certainty before they sign a lease there,” Blanchard said.
Downtown Lafayette attorney Steve Oats spoke against the proposed deal. His employees have used the parking garage since 1986 and pay $38 a space per month, he said.
As far as reserving certain spaces for businesses, “I’m telling you, it doesn’t work,” Oats told the council.
“It would be great to have that company in downtown Lafayette,” Oats said, but noted it’s implausible to think the reservations can be policed.
He said prior attempts to reserve particular spaces for his employees proved inefficient. Two other downtown property owners spoke against the resolution.
The council deferred the matter until its Aug. 4 meeting.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.