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Parking Lot Shananigans!

My friend, H, works at a yummy burrito place in downtown Houston.  Their location is within site of the Reliant Center, so their parking lot becomes crazy space for events.  Right now, it’s RODEO time in Houston, Texas…let’s just say that any parking close to Reliant has become VERY important for many people.  Here in lies the problem.

Parking Lot Craziness

The people who own the parking lot in front of the burrito place’s shopping center decided to start offering the spaces for cash.  That means that all of the businesses in that strip lost a TON of business last weekend.  The parking lot attendants were harassing every driver to find out if they were parking for the rodeo or not.  Then there weren’t any spaces available at all.  My friend was taken off the clock and sent home 2 hours into a 5 hour shift.  Her manager had words with the parking lot dude and then just called their lawyer.

No Double Dipping

Isn’t this crazy?  How could someone think they wouldn’t be sued/in trouble for making it impossible for businesses to operate?  I assume that the leases for the strip include x amount of parking, so the parking lot owners are insane for trying to profit twice for the same space without offering anything at all to the businesses that they were going to affect.  It’s just nuts!

My Take

I had to write about – do any of you have any idea what would happen in this situation?

I asked my friend to keep me updated with what she hears about it since it does seem amazingly bizarre to me.  The parking lot’s owner is already being paid for the parking by the businesses in some way – either through the leases or directly – or they wouldn’t be there.  So how in the heck did they think that this would work out?  Isn’t it obvious that you shouldn’t rent out spaces that were already rented for other use?  That’s just double dipping…

I also think that if the businesses get reimbursed some way, they shouldn’t forget about their employees.  My friend wasn’t the only one who lost hours and they all need whatever hours they can get.

What do you think?

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7 comments to Parking Lot Shananigans!

  • Interesting subject.

    Really, we don’t know who’s in the right, because you are only assuming that the business leases come with the right to parking. It could be (not likely, but we don’t know) that those businesses are benefiting all year from free parking for their customers to which they are not entitled, so without details of the lease, it’s difficult to speculate.

  • @The Advicist, no open spaces downtown are ever used for free, so I am 99.9% sure that this is just trying to double dip without consulting anyone…

  • Becky

    I have only seen one retail lease in (not-so) recent memory, but that was for a retail strip mall (Target/Micheals anchor) and not in a special event location.

    Based on my recollection of that lease, although the rent included an assessment for various costs of upkeep of the common areas, there was no guaranteed parking space(s) for the unit. I can’t say for certain there wasn’t a general clause defining what the upkeep costs applied to, which could be read to mean that those services were part of the contract, however I also wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t an “out” in a high-demand area allowing the owner to charge for parking during peak times. They might not have been utilizing that out, but in my experience, downtown/urban business locations do not generally come with parking many of us would expect.

  • AmAnda

    So crazy. Our stadium used to be right by the tim hortons I worked at. We had a guy out front harrasing people to make sure they werent just using it for parking.

  • I’ve been the lessee/tenant on 3-4 buildings and office spaces over the years, and none of the leases guaranteed me or any customer of mine parking space(s).

    The last lease I held was for office space in a business “strip mall”, and parking spots were not mentioned anywhere in the lease, other than the lease telling me not to leave abandoned vehicles in any of the spaces, do not leave anything parked overnight, etc.

    I was in the strip mall with a financial planner, insurance agent, chiro, and a few other businesses like that, and the business owners had an unspoken agreement that we shared and shared alike. They didn’t park in front of my business and I didn’t park in front of theirs, and we all tried to park on the edges of the lot and the sides of the buildings in order to leave the main, or front and center parking spots, to the customers and clients.

    Unless the parking spots are specifically mentioned in the lease, I doubt there is any legal recourse – but, selling off the parking and disrupting normal business flow/income may be a leg to stand on. In the last lease I held, I had to carry $1 million in insurance to cover the interruption of business caused by me. In other words, if I left the coffee pot on overnight and burned the place down or caused some type of damage to happen that disrupted the business of any other lessee, I was on the hook to pay not only for the damage I caused, but also for their loss of business.

  • Hmmm, it sounds like a business is not guaranteed spaces usually. That would lead me NOT to have my business in a popular area of town. They will end up losing nearly all of their business for the month of the rodeo…

  • Seems like it is a ridiculous way for the parking lot owner to make some extra money. Does this happen with Texans games as well? I’m a huge San Francisco 49ers fan and they are just getting ready to build a new stadium. One of the hangups is that they didn’t plan for enough parking for potential Monday night games. On the west coast those games have to start around 5:00 pm pacific time (8:00 pm eastern time) well many of the businesses that don’t need their parking for Sunday’s are still open that time on Mondays. Amazing how much our cars determine our lives. Also one of the reasons I would be a fan of public transportation!