A free to air global property forum

Commercial Property Types: Parking Lots and Structures

Parking lots and structures provide an area where people can leave their cars while working, traveling or visiting nearby businesses. In areas of high demand, charging for parking is common and can prove a very profitable business.

Getting people into your shop, restaurant, office or factory is critical to its success and since in many areas, most people drive, a nearby parking lot or structure is essential. High traffic areas, such as busy city centers, airports and railway stations are usually short of parking, so investing in an existing or new-build parking structure can bring a high rate of return.


Car parking lot

Car parking lot

What is a parking lot?

Parking lots, also known as car parks or car lots, are plots of land that have been designated for car parking. They are typically:

  • Asphalted, with slots marked out
  • Open to the elements
  • May or may not charge for access
  • Cheap and easy to create
  • Low density
  • Popular in areas with low land prices


Parking lots may not be formal or permanent. Large, temporary events like a traveling fair will often rent empty land or fields to use as a temporary parking lot.


What is a parking structure?

Parking structures are buildings that have been built to house cars. They include:

  • Parking garages
  • Multistory car parks
  • Underground car parks


They may be part of another building (for example, parking under an office block) or a separate structure. They usually:

  • Are more secure
  • Are protected from the weather
  • Charge for access or require users to work, shop or live in attached facilities
  • More expensive to build
  • Higher density – fit more cars on the same plot of land
  • Popular in areas with high land prices, including city centers


Parking systems

The best place to park is outside– yet clearly not everyone can do so. A number of parking systems have sprung up to try to alleviate this problem.


A regular shuttle bus service from a large but distant parking lot takes customers to the center of town, sports stadium or airport.

Park-and-ride systems take advantage of lower land prices on the edge of towns to create large parking lots. These are sometimes free, but users may have to pay for the bus that takes them into the center.

Valet parking

Pull up to the door and let someone else park your car, and then bring it back when you need it.

Valet parking is often associated with expensive restaurants and up-market hotels, offered as a luxury service and charged as such. However, the term is spreading to less glamorous services, including the airport-parking market, where parking companies collect your car and store it off-site for you during your trip.

 Long-stay parking

Most parking is only used for a few hours – while someone is at work or shopping – however, many travel hubs will offer long-stay parking with rates calculated by the day or week for those jetting off on vacation or a business trip.


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