The Parking Advisors team has provided parking investment advisory services throughout San Francisco and San Mateo County. We’ve consulted on projects in many of the city’s neighborhoods including the Financial District, Downtown, SOMA and Nob Hill.
San Francisco’s Leading Parking Consultants
Parking Advisors is a national parking consulting firm that has done extensive work in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area.
San Francisco has some of the highest parking rates in the United States. Monthly parking rates often exceed $400 and daily parking rates are $30+. There are several factors driving the high parking rates:
- High Taxes – San Francisco’s parking tax adds 25% to all parking rates.
- Expensive Labor – Labor rates in San Francisco are among the highest in the country and most of the hourly parking employees are unionized.
- Real Estate Cost – Real estate in San Francisco is expensive; therefore, owners need to charge high prices to generate meaningful returns.
- Limited Supply – Most of the surface parking lots in San Francisco have been redeveloped and the city limits the amount of parking that can be built as part of new developments.
San Francisco is one of a handful of cities in the United States that has a extensive, widely used public transportation network. The Bay Area’s transportation options includes:
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) – BART is a heavy rail system serving 50 stations along six routes. BART has approximately 118 million riders annually.
- Golden Gate Ferry – Operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, this five line ferry service provides service to and from the Ferry Building as well as Larkspur.
- San Francisco Bay Ferry – Administered by the San Francisco Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), this five line ferry service has approximately 3 million riders annually. A significant expansion is planned, increasing the number of cities the ferry lines service and expanding from 13 to 57 vessels.
- Buses & Street Cars – San Francisco also has Muni buses and street cars operated by SFMTA.
Parking Advisors evaluates the proximity and number of public transportation options to understand the potential impact on a parking facility’s demand and rates.
San Francisco Submarkets and Destinations
Parking Advisors analyzes the supply and demand fundamentals for a property or submarket to understand potential risks and upside opportunities. Below are some of San Francisco’s key submarkets and destinations:
- Financial District – The Financial District is San Francisco’s business center. The Financial District has San Francisco’s highest parking rates.
- Fisherman’s Wharf – Located on the northern waterfront, Fisherman’s Wharf is one of San Francisco’s busiest tourist areas. The waterfront community is home to a number of shops and tourist activities. Parking can be scarce and area visitors often park to the south and walk north to the wharf.
- SoMa – South of Market (SoMa) was once a concentration of industrial buildings and has been significantly redeveloped over the past decade. Now, many of these industrial buildings have been converted to office space for technology companies. In addition, many apartment and condominium buildings have been built in the submarket.
- Convention Center – The Moscone Center, SF’s Convention Center, has over 2 million SF of total space for conventions, meetings and other large gatherings. In addition, many of these conventions happen on an annual basis.
Each submarket has specific supply and demand fundamentals that impact the financial performance of parking facilities. Our team organizes and evaluates the data specific to the subject parking facility to develop sophisticated, detailed projections.
Negative Parking Trends
In general, San Francisco parking market has experienced several negative trends:
- Traffic congestion has had a negative impact on parking demand – Prior to COVID-19, the Financial District had significant traffic congestion. As a result, many people avoided driving downtown including tenant employees. Instead, people took public transportation or arranged to work from home more often with their employers. This negatively impacted parking demand.
- Embarcadero Center’s vacancy increased parking supply – Embarcadero Center’s building vacancy increased prior to COVID-19, resulting in additional parking supply available for non-tenant parking demand. No only did the vacancy increase, this also had a significant impact on the parking market due to the amount of parking Embarcadero Center has relative to the small garages most buildings in the market has.
- High parking rates are difficult to increase – In general, monthly parking rates that are $300 or greater and daily rates that are $30 or greater are difficult to increase because they are already high relative to people’s incomes and alternative transportation options. Most of San Francisco’s parking rates exceed these levels.
- Parking aggregators have decreased – Parking aggregators entered the parking market a number of years ago which has caused a decrease because parking aggregators charge high commissions that are 25%+ of the net parking rate.