Owners of condominiums and cooperatives in urban areas of New Jersey like Hoboken or Jersey City with parking garages in or adjacent to their building are blessed in so many ways. The ability to drive right up to your front door provides a level of satisfaction almost beyond words.
And when the garage is open to the public, according to Kristen Sokich, executive vice president of ProPark America, a nationwide garage management company, “typically, the garage is the biggest revenue generator in the condominium. And the more efficiently it’s run, the better it generates. The more money they can squeeze out of it, the more benefit it brings to the overall building.”
There are two ways to run a parking garage. The building can keep tight control of the facility by simply contracting a management company to run the operation while they hold on to the business. The building carries all the expenses and collects all the revenue.
This approach allows the board of directors and management to dictate every aspect of the garage on an ongoing basis—to determine, say, how much preference to give residents in terms of guaranteed allotted parking spaces and discounts for parking in the facility. And it lets them choose the types of services it will offer, like valet parking, jump-starting cars, inflating tires and car washing. But it also leaves them in charge of a very complicated business for which none of them, most likely, is equipped.
The vastly more popular choice is to lease the garage outright—to rent the garage to a private management company, collecting a fixed monthly fee and leaving day-to-day operations and bookkeeping up to them. “You find the right guy at the right price and let him figure out how to make money,” advises Abe Liebb, owner of Prompt Parking, which manages some 70 facilities in New Jersey.