abandoned urban parking lots increasingly seen as sites for new development, says report
The number of parking lots across the country being sold for future development use has nearly doubled since 2013, a new report says, particularly in urban environments.
The report, issued by the New York-based National Real Estate Investor, notes that the current average annual volume of urban parking lot sales has equaled around $130 million, a figure substantially up from the less than $100 million during the depths of the Great Recession.
In fact, the low point of urban parking lots transactions was reached in 2010 with a dollar value of $30.7 million.
Providing fuel for the volume growth is two separate, but related trends: the decline in vehicle use, and with it the need for parking space in urban areas; and the demand for new multifamily development.
The report additionally notes: “Along with multifamily properties, vacant parking lots can also be repurposed into office buildings or hotels.”
Despite the trend, the report contends that local zoning laws have not always been flexible enough to respond to parking lot repurposing projects, quoting architect Ben Kasdan, who remarked: “Zoning ordinances need to catch up with this trend, as the cost of constructing code-required parking contributes significantly to the challenge of providing new attainable housing.”
Kasdan is a principal with the KTGY Architecture & Planning firm, which has offices in Denver, among other cities, and is currently working on nearly a dozen parking lot repurposing projects.
One of the most recent parking lot repurposing projects was approved last week by the San Diego City Council. It will see the building of a new pedestrian plaza on the site of the city’s Balboa Park, replacing some nearly 150 parking spaces.
In Denver, one of the largest such projects is seeing the redevelopment of some 60 acres of parking space to the south of the Empower Field football stadium into a mixed-use site with room for housing, retail, and offices.
By Garry Boulard
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