Parking Showdown at the Office Corral

The office trend to do more with less space can be a rent blessing and a parking lot curse. Traditionally building lots accommodate 4 spots per 1000 square feet, but just like the office cubicle, that ratio is outdated. The new ratio is 6 to 1000 square feet and rapidly changing. Parking space is becoming a point of lease contention, but there are some ways to ease the frustration.

Negotiate First, Sign Second

Landlords often point out that typically only 60% of staff is present on any given day, so why do you need a parking space for every employee? There are plenty of scenarios where that kind of reasoning could become a parking headache. Before you sign the lease, know that there are aspects of the parking standoff that are negotiable. You can strengthen and protect your position by negotiating designated parking areas, parking space allocations, or reserve parking spaces. A good tenant representation broker will make the solution part of the deal.

Growing Pains

What happens when you’re in a lease, you’ve added more employees, and exceed your allocation for parking? I got a call from a client who told me his landlord was ticketing and, in some cases, towing employee cars from the parking lot. The landlord said the company was occupying too many spaces, in violation of the lease. In the most extreme cases the landlord could threaten to terminate the lease. We needed a creative solution, so I found an empty, nearby parking lot and the client bussed employees back and forth. When the lease was up, we relocated the client to a new space with ample parking and better tenant amenities. This may be an extreme example, but the point is that sometimes the solution starts with reaching out to a person who is familiar with handling these very delicate situations. An experienced tenant representative can negotiate with a landlord and work out solutions like resizing parking spots to accommodate more cars.

Tractor Trailer vs. Sedan

The problem extends to industrial real estate as well. Distribution centers are huge right now, literally and figuratively. Industrial standards say the parking to square feet ratio is 1 to 1000. The bigger the building, the less parking available.  Unlike warehouses, distribution centers have a greater number of employees, who can quickly max out the parking capacity. As landlords start to modify existing spaces to accommodate growing ecommerce demands, tenant representatives will be able also work with a landlord to convert trailer space to parking spaces.

Evolving to Meet Trends

Electric cars, bikes racks, wider turning radius to accommodate large personal vehicles are already altering some parking lots. As these trends continue, landlords and tenant representatives will need to develop creative, yet cost effective solutions to the parking showdown, as well as other client demands.