I've been curious about something for awhile, and was wondering if any reader knew the answer.
In the Fresno and Clovis area, you come upon many lots which are zoned for commerce (and in one example, a park). The very first thing built in these lots is a parking lot. The whole deal, asphalt, lights, lines, even the handicap signs. And then it sits there.
Sometimes for years. And years. Some locations have parking lots that were built 5+ years ago, with no building to go with it.
And I just don't get it.
Parking lots aren't free. The rule of thumb for a surface lot is $8,000 per space, not including land cost. So why would a developer come in, plop down up to half a million dollars worth of asphalt, so that an empty parking lot can sit?
Now, I understand because of the recession, certain properties were all ready to go, and at the last minute construction was called off, because the market fell. That explains some of the lots, but not all of them. As I said, they're not uncommon.
Further, even that explanation doesn't fully make sense. A parking lot can easily be the last thing built. The construction workers can park on dirt, and in fact, the heavy machinery is probably just going to ruin the asphalt.
And remember, I'm talking about a city where all suburban parking is free, so it's not like the developers are making 5 years worth of sales on parking spots. They just sit there, unused.
So why not start the building first, and THEN do the parking lot, which can be finished relatively quickly.
Why build parking lot years in advance of the building?
Here are some examples:
This is an odd one, each lot is in a separate state of construction, from fully complete, to just dirt.
Why lay down the paint?
This is an unfortunate example. This one was built by the city, for a park and a pet adoption center. Why is that unfortunate? It was built years before the adoption center was approved, inf act, the center is still going through the NIMBY process right now. So why lay down a parking lot for something that may not get approved?
This one will be a Fresh and Easy. Even the little stroller icon and painted in the spaces. That stop bar makes absolutely no sense.
This is another Fresh and Easy. The company hasn't made a single cent in profit, so how can they be so sure of their expansion plans that they create a parking lot years before they might possibly build their store? Won't the lines be faded once the customers arrive?
So much parking, so few people.
And finally, this one is sort of the opposite. It's creepy actually. It was built last year, and the satellite shows it full. But why? There's no building nearby! Look north, that building has an enormous parking lot that is usually empty, and there's a fence blocking access. West, there's a highway, and beyond that a shopping area with too many spaces of their own. East? Empty lot and then some offices with plenty of empty spaces. South? nothing.