Birth of the Parking Stall
In 1898, Delegates from across the globe gathered in New York City for the world’s ﬁrst international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by...horse manure.
The situation seemed dire. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure.
All efforts to mitigate the problem were proving woefully inadequate. Stumped by the crisis, the urban planning conference declared its work fruitless and broke up in three days instead of the scheduled ten.*
During the late 1800‘s Americans depended on the horse for all aspects of their lives. In fact, as human population in some cities rose an astonishing 108 percent, horse populations increased over 300 percent during the same time period. This meant that horses had to be fed, maintained and most importantly...parked.
In booming areas such as New York City, a very lucrative business was born. By the turn of the nineteenth century 4,600 boarding stables had been developed to park 74,000 horses. In prime areas such as “Stable Row” in the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Ave, boarding rates soared and the value of the land began to increase.
As the automobile began to replace the horse just decades later, many of the parking stables were converted into parking garages and the value of the properties skyrocketed. By 1907 there were just 681 stables left, and 71 parking garages had been constructed. Twenty years later, all of the stables were gone, and 394 parking garages had given birth to the Parking Stall.
Death, Taxes, and Increased Parking Rates
In an annual ritual that has become as predictable if not as joyous as a New Year’s Eve countdown to midnight, Chicago drivers again will have to dig a little deeper to pay to park at meters in 2013.
- Chicago Tribune, 12/27/2012
It’s been said that there has been a parking shortage since the day that vehicles were invented. Today there are 254.4 million vehicles registered in the United States and vehicle sales have enjoyed double digit growth in the last few years. In fact, most of these vehicles operate in heavily populated cities where there is scarce amount of parking. Combine this with the fact that it took our country 237 years to reach the current population of 315 million people, but will only take 37 years to nearly double that figure, and you have a formula for unsustainable parking demand.
Supply and demand would dictate that more land would simply be converted to parking to help fill the gap, but beware of the invisible hand. The free market intervention of government agencies disrupts supply and demand and helps create artificial imbalances. In most cities, government agencies block the construction of new parking facilities while overwhelmingly supporting the conversion of existing lots and garages.
Salt Lake City Council bans demolishing buildings to create parking lots.
-Salt Lake Tribune, 11/27/2012
There are very few expansion options available in crowded cities, and as parking lots and garages are taken off-line for construction of high rises, availability of spaces dwindles. This is bad news for consumers, but as parking investors this represents the shining moment of opportunity.
An application has been filed to raze the eight-story parking garage at 75 Howard Street and build a 284-foot building with 160 condos in its place.
-San Francisco Business Times, 12/14/2012
To put it into a simple formula:
Exponential Population Growth + More Vehicles = More Parking Demand - Available Parking Spaces = Increase in Rates + Increase in Value of Parking Business
It’s What We Do
At JNL Parking we will help you find a profitable parking business, help you get top dollar for your existing parking business, or offer consultation services for your existing operations. We help hedge funds, REITS, and private capital groups acquire strategic parking assets to help their businesses expand.
Unconventional Parking Investing
We can also help investors with as little as $10,000 or investors who wish to diversify their parking portfolio by introducing them to a Parking Investment Fund that invests in parking lots and garages. Parking assets can be expensive and require experience to operate; this option gives investors the opportunity to get invested without the operational risk and capital limitations. If you are interested, click here to be contacted directly.
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