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Surface Parking Lots Making Way for Higher Uses

Are the urban revival and the future of mobility already rendering parking lots obsolete? Chicago provides a case study of a new generation of skyscrapers rising were cars once parked.
March 26, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Years into a residential construction boom downtown, and amid broader adoption of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft, real estate developers are gobbling up surface lots they can cover with high-rises," reports Ryan Ori from Chicago.

Ori shares a list of anecdotal evidence that the practice of developing new uses on former surface parking lots is expanding along with Chicago downtown's urban revival. In Chicago, some of the splashiest development projects in the city will break ground on former surface parking lots. "The lowly surface lot will play a role in reshaping Chicago’s skyline, with plans for two of the city’s tallest buildings in the works on parcels now used for parking," adds Ori.

Ori speaks with developers who say that the rising cost of land in downtown is applying pressure on surface parking lots from one side. Another factor is decreasing revenue at parking lots—as much as 30 percent at some lots. According to a report by Green Street Advisors cited in the article, "U.S. parking needs will be cut in half during the next three decades…"

If one were looking for other signs that perhaps recent changes in mobility were reducing demand for parking in urban areas, see also the list of cities reducing curbside parking to make room for other purposes, such as pick-up and drop-off for ride-hailing companies, and an emerging industry of technology meant to take advantage of the evolution in mobility.

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Published on Friday, March 23, 2018 in Chicago Tribune
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