Park Science

Parking Industry at a Crossroad

The parking industry in Australia is at a crossroads.

Where to from here?
The Australian market is somewhat unique, with A REITS owning the majority of the commercial carparks in capital cities and their secondary markets, including North Sydney, Parramatta and Chatswood. They usually require a lease from an independent entity to conform to tax laws relating to trading trusts.

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Following the last newsletter on history never repeating, WeWork’s IPO has been cancelled and SoftBank have had to inject further funds into the business as investors shied away from the top line growth strategy.

It has been an interesting rollercoaster for We Work since its commencement in 2012 with the valuation moving to $10 billion in 2016, then to $42billion in January 2019 and now down to $8 billion – which still looks very optimistic for a company that lost $900 million in the first half of 2019.

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Warrick Lane Carpark

Lighting and signage

One of the most interesting carparks we have worked on recently is the redevelopment of the existing Warrick Lane, Blacktown open air carpark into a mixed use commercial and public open space transformational project with Blacktown Council taking on the role as Master Developer.

Development will be staged with Council providing the initial infrastructure, including a 473 bay 4 level underground car park, a 4-storey flanking building on the eastern edge and a 1 level building on the western edge – with scope to increase to 4 levels.

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Westpac Technology Trial

Car Park Entry

Westpac are in negotiations with BaseUp for the implementation of their cloud-based technology for Westpac staff parking.

The updated BaseUp system utilises a geo fenced area immediately adjacent to the entry or exit reader that allows a smart device to communicate to the reader to activate the gate, without a customer having to press a button on their app to open the gate. Essentially a hands-free operation.

The geo fence around the gate prevents the signal from the app being detected from an adjacent gate – for example where an exit and entry gate are side by side.  From a user experience, this is a significant improvement on what is being offered in the market at present.

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Prop Tech

Prop Tech

This is a new term describing the transformation of the property industry – not just parking. Proptech is the convergence of property and technology. It is about leveraging new technology into the property ecosystem.

Click on the link below (subscription required) if you have not read the recent article by Folkestone's Adrian Harrington in The Australian on prop tech and how it is changing the way landlords and tenants interact – being driven by demands of tenants for flexibility and increased efficiencies in their use of space. 

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Eureka moment for ParkScience

Melbourne CBD

The majority of my work centres around carparks, their design and access systems.In recent times a new string has been added to the bow, with ParkScience engaged by Wilson Parking to obtain development approval for a two level 4,000m2 office to be built on top of the successful 602 bay Eureka car park adjacent to SouthGate in Melbourne. 

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History never repeats

Wynyard exit tunnel

I tell myself before I go to sleep...

Neil Finn wrote these words in 1981 on that great album Waiata, which I have recently rediscovered. Aptly the B side was “Holy Smoke”.

So, what has this got to do with ParkScience and the weird and wonderful world of parking you ask. It had me thinking about my early days in parking, moving to Sydney in the heady days of 1988 before FBT, Parking Levies and mobile phones. 

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Changing of the Guard

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. – Edmund Burke, 1790

It was a little like a John le Carre novel – George Smiley meeting his old nemesis Karla after the end of the Cold War. As to who is who, I will leave it up to you to decide.

I met David Knight (Group General Manager Secure) recently in Brisbane to catch up after learning he was leaving Secure Parking, having started some 33 years ago. He was employed by Garth Matthews and expertly trained in all the dark arts of parking – with a flair for development and negotiations.

He rose from a sales role to be Group General Manager and was instrumental in the Secure brand maintaining its pre-eminence in the Queensland market.

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No snorkel required

Canal conversion

Warehouse conversions are commonplace around the globe for residential and commercial property – but this must be a first.

Around the corner from my hotel in Amsterdam was a canal conversion – that’s right – a canal that is being converted into a carpark!

The De Pijp district was built in the late nineteenth century with narrow streets and no cars. Whilst the Dutch love their bikes (and no carbon fibre or lycra here) they also want their cars. So ZJA Zwarts & Jansma architects have come up with a great solution that provides parking for 600 cars and 60 bicycles under a canal. 

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AI Park

AI Park

Artificial Intelligence and parking?

This was not even a blip on the radar five years ago. AI are in a similar field to ParkNow with a variety of white labelled products for smart devices and in car displays. They have a substantial presence in Germany with a proven product. However, the product that caught my eye was for on street parking or open-air parking lots. A single sensor can cover up to 30 spaces and is mounted on a lamp post and can be solar powered. It has a cloud-based engine that can provide extensive predictive and useage data to a central location or to users through smart devices.

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