Although Austin does offer a mix of public transportation, ridesharing services, and alternative modes of travel (e.g. scooters), for the most part, employees are driving themselves to work every day. Because of this, having enough parking available for employees is an important consideration to keep in mind as you go through the process of finding space for your business.
Parking availability in Austin can vary greatly depending on a property’s type and location. In this article, we take a look at:
- What is a parking ratio?
- Why are parking ratios important?
- What are typical parking ratios in Austin?
What Is a Parking Ratio?
A parking ratio is a value used to portray how many parking spaces a property offers. This is usually measured by the number of spaces per 1,000 square feet. For example, if a 100,000-square-foot building has 500 parking spaces, the building’s parking ratio would be 5:1000.
It’s important to note that a specific tenant’s parking ratio could be different from the building’s ratio depending on the terms of the lease. A tenant’s ratio is stated as the number of spaces per 1,000 square feet of the tenant’s space. For example, if a 10,000-square-foot tenant in the building mentioned above only needs 30 parking spots, its ratio would be 3:1000. The parking ratio for a specific tenant could be higher or lower than the building’s ratio depending on what is agreed upon in the lease.
However, in Austin, the vast majority of landlords are reluctant to offer parking ratios that differ from the building’s ratio, so you will likely find that the listed parking ratio is non-negotiable.
Why Are Parking Ratios Important?
Parking ratios are an important aspect of leasing space in Austin because parking is something most employees are dealing with every day. There are few things more frustrating than arriving to work and not being able to find a place to park, so it’s vital to find a building with a suitable ratio before you commit to signing a lease.
Additionally, density trends in Austin office buildings also play a role in the importance of parking ratios. Tenants with a high density (more employees per square foot) will usually require more parking than their pro rata share based on the building’s parking ratio, which is one of several reasons landlords in Austin are beginning to limit density in their buildings.
In cases where a building’s parking ratio will not provide a sufficient amount of parking, some companies opt to pursue creative alternatives to their parking needs. From offsite lots and shuttle services to giving employees a stipend if they don’t use a car to get to work, there are several options for companies to pursue.
What Are Common Parking Ratios in Austin?
As mentioned, parking ratios can vary greatly based on the property’s type and location, as well as numerous other variables. While we recommend enlisting the help of an experienced tenant representation broker to ensure you are getting the best ratio possible for your needs, below we have outlined several common ratios to give you an idea of what average ratios are today.
|Type||Parking Ratio (per 1,000 SF)|
|Downtown Class A Office||1.5 – 3|
|Southwest Class A Office||3 – 5|
|Northwest Class A Office||3 – 5|
|East Class A Office||2 – 4.5|
|Industrial||1 – 3|
|Flex||2 – 3|
For the most part, securing a sufficient amount of parking for employees is going to be the hardest in downtown Austin. Due to the high land costs in the area, developers are only able to incorporate a limited amount of parking into their office projects, and the density of downtown means there are only so many parking garages available to accommodate the overflow. In addition, most second-generation buildings were not designed to accommodate the increased employee density we see today, and parking ratios that worked 40 years ago are no longer sufficient in many cases. Luckily, the CBD is easily accessible by most forms of public transportation, so it also presents the best opportunity for employees to find alternative ways to get to work.
Northwest and Southwest Austin office buildings tend to offer higher parking ratios, either at no additional cost or at a significantly lower rate than downtown. However, because these submarkets are not as accessible by public transportation, the importance of having enough parking for employees is compounded.
You may notice that industrial buildings have the lowest parking ratios of all, but this does not mean there is a lack of parking. Because industrial buildings are traditionally very large compared to the number of employees working in them, a low parking ratio is still sufficient. Flex properties have comparably low parking ratios for a similar reason, although slightly higher than pure industrial buildings due to their larger office portions.
We hope this article helped you better understand parking ratios and what to expect in Austin today. While this is an easy number to overlook during lease negotiations, the parking ratio you secure for your space will have a daily, noticeable impact, so it’s worth it to ensure that you are receiving the best parking ratio possible for your needs.
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