Parking a Decade Ago
September, 2006Parking Today has been around 10 years. These items are taken from the files of the first issues of PT published in 1996. Editor
The Blizzard of '96
The blizzard wreaked havoc on the parking industry in the Northeast. Operations and owners reported revenues and activity in January 2006 down 25% over the same period last year. February was off 10%. Surface facilities had real dig-out problems, with some cars remaining for the duration. Above-ground decks didn't fare much better. Blowing snow found its way into all the nooks and crannies, making parking difficult and tempers short. A major issue was where to put the snow. Surface lots found 20% of their spaces taken up for months with piles of snow.
Boston Parking Head Quits After Eight Days
William Luster, recently hired as head of traffic safety and parking for the city of Boston, resigned under pressure last month after only eight days in office. It turned out he had two parking tickets that he failed to mention in his interview - one of which he received when in town for his job interview.
The Summer Olympic Games being held next month in Atlanta have created some major parking problems for the Olympic Committee, but they may have presented some real opportunities for operations in the Atlanta area.
The committee has leased between 70,000 and 80,000 parking spaces for the two-week event. Half the available parking in the downtown area has been consumed by the "Olympic
It is rumored that some groups are holding their spaces off the market, waiting for prices to go up before they commit to leasing. Is $100 too much? How about $150?
Note: Operations in Atlanta should remember that all the traffic and congestion predicted in L.A. for the 1984 Olympics never materialized.
Ascom Zeag, the Swiss manufacturer of parking control equipment, and Trindel America Corp. are sister companies under the Ascom umbrella. Atlanta-based Trindel is a subsidiary of Ascom Elsydel of France, which was purchased last year by Ascom. Zeag Systems of Spreitenbach, Switzerland, was purchased by Ascom in 1986.
Parking Today Right About Olympic Parking
Once again, events have proved PT correct. In a story that ran before the Olympics, we suggested that perhaps the gold that was going to be mined by operations at the Olympics (up to $50 per day) might not be in "them thar hills." It turns out parking was a "non-event event." The only parking-facility owners that did well were those who leased their lots out for dedicated parking before the Games. Those who held out for the big bucks didn't make them. Parking averaged $5 to $15 per day.
Change Is Coming to This Sleepy Business
The parking business has come of age, at least according to Forbes magazine. Its measure is based on public sources - four publicly traded companies in North America (Ampco/System, Central, Square and Canada's Imperial) - and on research into Allright and Apcoa.
Forbes, the chronicle of things financial, suddenly discovered the parking industry in its July 1996 issue. The article tossed around numbers such as $230 million (a Northeast investment group's offer for Allright); $126 million (Central's revenues last year); and $1 billion (Ampco's parent ABM's gross revenues).
PT has learned that land-rich Allright is for sale by its Hong Kong owners. Sam Zell's Chicago-based Equity Holdings is buying parking facilities as fast as it can find them. Both Ampco and Central have been growing by acquisition - Ampco with a number of regional purchases over the past few years and Central with its operational arrangement with Meyers in New York.
Some tidbits from 1996 Industry Notes:
Elliot Nemerson is the new Vice President and General Manager of Socal Parking Equipment; he formerly was with Federal APD ... Herb Anderson has been named Corporate Vice President for Urban Properties at Apcoa ... Kerry Turner has been named Vice President, Business Development for Executive Parking in Los Angeles ... Valet Parking Service of Culver City, CA, and its Chairman, Herb Citrin, began celebrating their 50th year in the parking business on May 1 ... Joel Aronson has been named President of Allright NJ; he formerly was with Kinney Parking ... Kay Beechum has retired as head of Parking Enforcement for the city of Los Angeles and opened a consulting firm ... Square Industries has assumed operation of Rockefeller Center in New York ... Greg Sylvester has left Johns Hopkins University to become Corporate Director of Parking Operations with HBE Corp. ... Donald Monahan has been promoted to Principal at Walker Parking Consultants and Engineers Inc.