Many times when you are searching for a new office, you may overlook the parking situation. I was reminded of this oversight when I visited a tenant in the brand new Wells Fargo building in downtown Miami. This garage is infamous for its entry. Newspapers in Miami gleefully reported on the issues that arose between the developer and governing authorities about the entrance. When the tenant told me to valet park for free at the hotel, I instantly knew I had to park in the garage to see why they wanted me to avoid their garage. Wow – that sums up my exploration. Next time I’ll take them up on their valet offer.
What are the key general issues for your company in the parking component of your lease? Typically I see several:
- The amount of spaces you need.
- Special requests such as specific Visitor parking and/or reserved parking
- Parking costs
- Hours of operation and security of the parking areas
- Reasonable availability of parking spaces
The amount of parking spaces is the most important of those issues. Typically a building has a fixed number of parking spaces that belong to the property. The landlord is going to provide you with whatever ratio it has. However, there is some flexibility and typically this occurs in garage situations. Some landlords will give you extra spaces on a month-to-month basis. Some will refer you to nearby public garages or residential buildings that might be willing to provide you with additional parking. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it works for many companies with high parking ratios in an urban setting.
Suburban buildings have the advantage of ample and FREE parking. However, it’s important that you look at a building in the middle of the work day when everyone should be at their desk. About two years ago, I was touring a client at a new suburban building. The building was approaching completion and didn’t have a single tenant, yet the parking lot had about 50 spaces occupied and it wasn’t by the construction crew. We watched tenants from the adjacent sister building park in the new lot and walk over to their building. The building already had a parking problem before it was even completed.
Parking garages are an interesting study of design. Personally, I have a strong preference for one-way traffic, well-lit and generously sized spaces. I suggest test driving into and out of the parking garage during peak hours to see if it’s acceptable. Are the elevators easy to find? Are the directional signs large and clear? Sometimes the parking can make or break a decision for a tenant.
Parking is just one aspect of a well-rounded lease negotiation strategy. Let me help you customize an approach for your particular situation.