On any given night all around Miami and Fort Lauderdale, tourists swarm the streets, trying to get a good parking spot by the beaches, the bars, the art galleries and the restaurants. At the same time, locals are heading home from work, circling their neighborhoods, also trying to squeeze into the limited parking spots.
In this hub of tourism, parking is a big deal—it’s hard to find it when you need it, and when you do find it, it’s usually very expensive. Given the hot commodity that parking spaces represent in the city, it’s not surprising that many condo buildings operate their own parking facilities, both as an amenity for residents, and as a source of revenue.
Regardless of whether the facility is under the building or adjacent to it, there’s more to running a parking garage than just painting some stripes on the pavement and watching the cash roll in. Management, allocation of spaces, and facility security and maintenance are just some of the considerations that must be taken into account.
In Miami, unlike many other cities throughout the United States—and unlike many other urban areas in the world—most condominium developments were created with parking lots either in front of the buildings or in attached parking structures, rather than above or below the actual buildings, says Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq., founding partner with Katzman Garfinkel & Berger, a community association law firm based in Margate. “Occasionally, a condominium or cooperative will have adjacent land to handle overflow parking, but this is the exception,” she says. While a large percentage of the buildings have some form of parking, there are no valid statistics on the specific percentage of condo buildings in the city which own or rent affiliated parking facilities.
Access to these garages can be through a number of different means. One way is through automated gates and card readers. Visitors can gain parking privileges by entering a code into a call system or by phoning the tenant who can then provide a code required for entry, says John Dorsett, a senior vice president at Walker Parking Consultants, which provides parking consulting throughout Southern Florida, including the city of Miami Beach.