Managing Your Most Valuable Asset: The Parking Garage

 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.”  

 Management Options

 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.  

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