The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday authorizing the city to sell off the Pacific Place shopping center’s parking garage for $87 million.

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The Seattle City Council on Monday approved an ordinance authorizing the city to sell the parking garage below the Pacific Place shopping center for $87 million.

The 1,200-stall garage, built for about $50 million in 1998 during a push to revitalize the heart of downtown, became a headache as the years wore on.

The city paid $73 million to support the revitalization effort, which included building Pacific Place and moving Nordstrom’s flagship store to the vacant Frederick & Nelson building.

But the garage’s operating revenue didn’t keep up with the city’s debt payments on the project. The recession didn’t help. By 2013, Seattle was losing $1.5 million a year.

There was a plan then to sell the garage for $55 million to the mall’s owners. But the City Council at the time opted to hold off, and the market has since improved.

Last year, the city hired a real-estate broker and launched a competitive process that resulted in multiple bids, with mall owner Madison Marquette winning out.

The sale is expected to close next month, Councilmember Tim Burgess said. It will prohibit the company from raising the garage’s rates before the end of the year.

The deal will net the city at least $15 million after it pays its debts on the project, money that Mayor Ed Murray has proposed using to help build a new North Seattle police precinct.

But the $160 million precinct plan has recently come under fire from Councilmember Mike O’Brien and others who say the precinct’s price tag may be unnecessarily large.

During a public-comment period at a council committee meeting last week, some people spoke against using the garage proceeds for a fancy new police station.

“City land and public resources should be for community and housing,” said Eliana Horn, suggesting the money be used to help end the state of emergency over homelessness that Murray proclaimed last year.

Monday’s ordinance doesn’t assign the money, so any debate over what to do with it will play out later this year, when the mayor and council write a new budget.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant said Monday she won’t support using the money for the precinct, arguing it should instead be spent on “more socially beneficial things.”