[Article published by the The Palm Beach Post, Florida -- By Susan Salisbury - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer]
April 28, 2015--West Palm Beach — Parking makes the world go round — or not. Who hasn’t been frustrated by not being able to find a parking space? Clean, safe, properly designed and well-managed parking garages don’t run themselves, and that’s where West Palm Beach-based One Parking comes in.
From the company’s headquarters at CityPlace, Kirsten Dolan, president and chief operating officer and Greg Susick, CEO, husband and wife, manage or serve as consultants for garages and surface lots with a total of 50,000 spaces in 75 locations in major cities in the United States and in the Middle East.
Kirsten Dolan, President/COO of One Parking, at CityPlace in West Palm Beach.
One Parking, which the couple founded in 2004, has 450 employees and handles more than $90 million in revenues.
“The challenge is making sure it is convenient for people to find a parking space, as convenient as it possibly can be, and that the experience is seamless. No one thinks about parking unless they have had a problem,” Dolan said.
Both had years of experience in parking management when they came to West Palm Beach to evaluate a parking operation. They decided to start their own company, and CityPlace’s owner, The Related Group, became their first client. One Parking operates and manages CityPlace’s 3,200 spaces in its four garages with 125 employees.
The parking experience is the first and last impression every venue makes on its visitors, whether it’s a hospital, hotel, sports event, mixed-use or residential development, Dolan said.
“If it doesn’t go well, even if you have a great experience there, the customer experience is ruined if you leave there and it’s a bad parking situation,” Dolan said.
One Parking’s largest market is Washington, D.C., and it either leases or manages parking facilities in cities including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago and Denver as well as in Colorado and California.
Every city’s parking needs are different. In Abu Dhabi, one level of the garage is air conditioned with concierge service, and the VIP spaces are larger to accommodate such vehicles such as Range Rovers, Susick said.
The business has a lot to do with metrics, such as figuring out how many monthly parkers are on vacation or out of the office on a given day.
One Parking says that at every property it manages, it has increased the owner’s net income by 5 to 40 percent. The top way is through revenue control by making sure the right equipment and technology are in place. This helps prevent employees pocketing cash or waving people thorough for free.
A parking space is commercial real estate, and people think it should be free, well-lighted, convenient and secure, Susick said.
“A garage in West Palm Beach could cost $20,000 a space to build,” Susick said. In New York new parking spaces can cost as much as $280,000 each.
Especially with garages at mixed-use developments with office, retail and residential, it’s challenging to make sure all the needs are met.
“That is what we like to do, solve parking problems,” Dolan said.