Malls · Office Properties · Shopping Center · Uncategorized

Red light, green light, 1, 2, 3 …


This weekend, I was in South Bend and Chicago. On the way back to O’Hare, my wife and I had some free time, so we stopped at Macerich’s Fashion Outlets of Chicago.

Besides having a beautiful, well thought out tenant mix, they have an outstanding parking garage. An outstanding garage, you say? Absolutely.

I am disappointed in myself for not having taken a picture (the one above is an example that I found online) of the lights they have over every parking space. Theirs was part of the original design, so they seem more a part of the ceiling than the example.  But, as you drive in, there is a sign reflecting number of spots available on each floor, similar to what you might see at an airport. However, unlike the loop systems that have been used for years (described as kind of a metal detector system) that have 90% accuracy, their system is over 99% accurate, as it monitors the specific space. As you pick the floor, you can scan the ceiling for a green light. I have to say, I geeked out a bit (and found my own green light). My wife, who usually humors me in situations like this, really loved it as well.

The online data related to the system states that it runs $300-$500 per space to install and I was able to confirm those numbers with Macerich. (Yes – I had to tell them how much I loved the system and find out how it was operationally).  Ongoing maintenance has been more than reasonable, at less than $10 per space.

It definitely makes for a more pleasant parking experience as a customer. Apparently, as an owner, it provides for much better parking lot circulation and the added benefit of parking usage data. And, recently, there has been a fair amount of discussion for a reduction in parking requirements for transit-oriented/transit-rich developments. I can really see this type of data being used to support those reductions.

We’ll get back to our normal lease admin topics next week.

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