public/private parking garage

Public-Private Development

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) entails a partnership between a government entity or parking authority and a private developer to construct a new, privately owned/operated building or complex that incorporates a public parking facility.

PPPs have become particularly favored options in locations where parking construction costs are high, and where urban design standards mitigate against most “stand alone” parking structure options.

While a PPP process is more complicated for both parties, the potential upsides in favorable circumstances can make such arrangements highly valued. Such collaboration can facilitate greater public support for a proposal than a stand-alone parking garage, or a private development with minimal/no parking would garner on its own.

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Key Benefits

  • Expands public parking supply

  • Distributes the risk inherent in large, capital investments like constructing public parking, through cost sharing and efficiencies and by placing the parking on the same site as a significant trip generator

  • Allows the land-use components of the development to thrive with less dedicated on-site parking, while also providing them with shared, on-site parking that can provide overflow capacity during times of high demand

  • Facilitates better design options compared to the inherent limitations of stand-alone parking structures

Case Studies



The Flats at Bethesda Avenue

Montgomery County, MD

The Flats at Bethesda Avenue, located in Bethesda, Maryland, is a mixed-use development on 1.4 acres of land, completed as PPP between a private developer and Montgomery County, through its Parking Lot District program. The project includes 162 residential units, 38 of which are affordable workforce-housing units. It also includes 28,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, primarily occupied by restaurants and food and beverage retailers. The County’s primary goal for the development was to increase the public parking supply without creating stand-alone parking facilities. The County released a Request for Proposal inviting a private developer to propose plans to purchase two PLD lots, which contained 279 public spaces, and build 980+ public parking spaces underground, as part of a mixed-use development. The request stipulated the development of private residences and retail above the parking facility, as well as a requirement for 15% of housing to be offered as affordable units. The four-level underground garage that was part of the winning Bethesda Flats proposal is owned and managed by the County, while everything above it is owned and managed privately. The Bethesda Flats project realized these minimum criteria, and brought benefits beyond these efficiencies, using location, programming, and design to emphasize non-driving mobility and access which allows the project to extract even greater value from each of its 980 parking spaces.

Oaks Properties

Garland, TX

In 2013, the City of Garland was already in the middle of a resurging central business district when it undertook the construction of a new municipal office building. Oaks Properties, which introduced 188 apartments to the Downtown Garland DART Station area in 2008, was signed on to partner with the City for a second phase of development. In addition to 58,800 square feet of offices in what is now the William E. Dollar Municipal Building, Phase II included an additional 153 apartment units through Oaks Properties. Parking for both main uses was jointly developed into one structure to serve all the needs of Phase II, including people accessing city services, residents in the new apartments, and the general public visiting Downtown Garland.

Implementation Considerations


Role of Public Sector

  • Develops/plans for public parking facilities that are incorporated into privately developed TODs

  • Manages and operates/administers these facilities as municipal parking resources

  • Leverages its investment to secure improved design and functionality that developer expertise bring to mixed-use projects


Role of Private Sector

  • Develops the land-use components of these mixed-use facilities

  • Manages and operates/administers these facilities as municipal parking resources

  • Leverages its investment to offload the cost-risk of constructing new parking, while securing a significant public parking resource on-site



  • Viable for future TODs