Centerpark’s CEO, Gregg Reuben, featured article in NPA’s May 2021 “Parking” Publication
Maximize Opportunites with Locally Tailored Solutions
Take a site-specific management approach to maximize the utilization and profitability of parking facilities.
After three decades in the parking business, I’ve discovered the importance of managing properties on a site-specific basis and being a local market expert.
The strategies that work to improve one property may not work for another. It’s important to define each facility’s addressable market and then develop an operating plan. The plan should incorporate pricing, staffing, and consumer mix into a value proposition consistent with the area’s demographics. The performance of the property to date, and its potential, are other important factors to weigh when developing property improvement strategies.
This requires looking at every granular piece of data to understand the area’s demand generators, their stability, and how they may change over time.
Adjust Focus by Location
Our focus at Centerpark is to take traditional parking facilities and convert them into mixed-use transportation and logistics centers. Successfully executing that kind of pivot also requires local knowledge.
Whether a portion of a property can be repurposed into a higher and better use depends on the needs and demands of a site’s specific market. It also depends on the physical requirements and legalities associated with any change in use. Explore whether it may be possible to convert a portion of the property to a car rental facility, retail space, or even a fitness center. Another site may have a greater need for self-storage.
In other cases, parking is simply the highest and best use. The goal is to find ways to better utilize space.
Analyze Site-Specific Data
Aggregation and analysis of location-specific data helps to understand evolving customer demands. Strategy must then be aligned to those demands.
This approach requires examining multiple factors, such as how much time parkers spend in a facility and what they pay for that time. This supports a higher level of congruency between demand, rates, and the allocation of space. For example, we’ve seen monthly parker demand increase in several areas throughout New York City. Yet many of them use their vehicles much less due to changing commuting patterns.
Previously, we could rely on residential parkers to use their vehicles to commute, which freed up space for transient parkers in the daytime. This shift has caused us to re-examine what each monthly customer pays relative to their commuting patterns.
We now price parking on a more individualized basis that’s more consistent with a customer’s value to us.
All Politics is Local
There is also an opportunity for better communication and alignment of interests among all participants in the transportation ecosystem. Our industry can be a solution to the transportation challenges local governments face, such as congestion.
In New York City, taxis and ride-hailing service vehicles are driving around without passengers more than 40% of the time. Drivers seeking parking spaces are cruising approximately the same amount of time. Each contributes significantly to congestion. As parking providers and owners of urban spaces, we can provide short-term space to those vehicles in our facilities at a price commensurate with their usage.
Without pragmatic solutions like these, we risk lawmakers enacting misguided solutions that could have a detrimental impact on our industry and our communities.
Engage & Reward Your Team
As someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, I’ve experimented with various programs to motivate our staff. I’ve found that engagement at the location level is most effective. Each team member must feel relevant to the company and have a sense of purpose.
They also need to understand how a facility’s success is measured, and their contribution to these metrics and key performance indicators. Much of that involves ensuring supervisors spend a considerable amount of their time in the locations they oversee, interacting with employees, customers, and the property itself.
Supervisors gain a better understanding of what decisions need to be made when they’re on site. And the location-level staff develops a better vision of their role and contribution to the firm’s overall objectives