Matthew Fields, who manages parking at Trammell Crow Center in the Dallas Arts District, is suddenly a very popular guy. “My phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Fields says, adding that his email’s been blowing up, too–all from people who want to park in his underground garage. The reason: the nearby Hall Arts Parking facility is jacking up its monthly rates a whopping 100 percent, effectively doubling monthly rents as of June 1, from $75 to $150 or $65 to $140 for unreserved parking spots.
The big boost at Hall Arts, which has 2,200 parking places in seven levels under Ross Avenue and Leonard Street, has sent many (your correspondent included) scrambling to find cheaper spots nearby. But the search is tough. Fields, for example, says Trammell Crow Center has 1,186 spots costing $141 for unreserved spots—but they’re only for the building’s tenants. Across the street, at the 2100 Ross building, parking manager James Crader says he’s full up with tenants-only, and his unreserved spots go for $155. The problem for the Hall Arts parkers seeking cheaper space, Crader says, is that “there’s no spaces available in this area, within four or five blocks. They may have to walk to surface lots” near Interstate 45.
Hall Arts Parking has been owned for years by developer Craig Hall, chairman and founder of Hall Financial Group, who’s putting up the 3-building Hall Arts Complex at Ross and Leonard, adjacent to the Cathedral Guadalupe Church. His underground garage—one valet-company official calls it “The Twilight Zone of parking garages”—has long been somewhat bedraggled, with water leaks, narrow passageways, and dilapidated elevators. Parts of the garage are being repainted now, and Hall Financial promises more improvements—including redesigned entrances—to come. The company says it’s kept parking rates low in part because of construction work on KPMG Plaza, the first of the Complex’s three buildings.
But, what about those who will want to exit Hall Arts Parking because their rates are skyrocketing next month? There may be some hope for them at the Plaza of the Americas garage across Ross, which Fields also manages. There are 987 spaces there, he says, including spaces for non-tenants of the building. “We try to keep a balance available” between tenants and non-tenants, Fields says. And unreserved spots at Plaza of the Americas are going for $130 monthly—which beats $150 by a Jackson, at least.
UPDATE: Craig Hall has now weighed in on the situation and says, “I want to apologize for the amount of the parking increase and our timing in doing it the way it was done. … Originally we planned for the increase to be in stages with one raise nine or 10 months ago and then a second one to get us where we are now. We waited because of all the construction we’ve been doing in the garage. Unfortunately, doing both increases at one time meant ’sticker shock.’ I am sorry for that. I know it’s a lot all at once and I certainly understand how that can be frustrating for anyone.”