The Importance of Parking in Downtown

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How can we talk about Downtown Dallas without discussing parking? After being in the area almost daily for the past five years, I have noticed parking in the area become more challenging as redevelopment occurs and there is more activity Downtown. This is a common problem in many major Central Business Districts, however, Dallas has never fully adopted public transit (for many reasons) which makes this a critical component for all office tenants currently located in or considering the area.

There is the age old debate of parking vs. green space which we will save for another post. Today, office tenants in all industries are continuing to get denser which causes a problem for urban buildings in the Dallas CBD that typically offer 1 guaranteed parking space per 1,000 rentable square feet. At the time that most of these buildings were constructed, that parking ratio was very functional. Law offices used to lease ~1,200 SF/attorney, large portions of their space were taken up by law libraries and in other industries, the top executives had large corner offices. Today, the average is closer to ~750 SF/attorney, law libaries and non-existent and many companies are going to an “open concept” or at least structuring private offices in a more egalitarian way.

The way that office tenants view and use their space has changed, which means Landlords in the Dallas CBD must get creative in order to accommodate the additional parking needs of today’s tenant. For tenants, it is critical that your tenant representative carefully negotiate the parking clause in your office lease–today, this cannot be overlooked in the deal. Buildings that have been at ~70% vacancy are starting to increase occupancy which decreases the number of extra parking spaces that a Landlord can provide. Additionally, parking lots are going away and being developed which puts even more of a squeeze on options for the tenant in Downtown.

Redevelopment of Downtown Dallas is a wonderful thing; however, as an office tenant in the area or that is considering the area, be aware that securing ample parking is a very important consideration when signing a new office lease.

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