Colliers Report: Columbia employees keep their parking spaces during the pandemic

August 24, 2020


Research & Forecast Report

Key Takeaways

  • Columbia, S.C.’s occupancy rate for parking garages in the Central Business District remains high at 81.62%.
  • Despite not using their parking spaces during the pandemic, many employees are unwilling to give up their spots due to high demand.
  • It may be next year before it is apparent the way Columbia parking options will change in relation to COVID-19.

Downtown Parking Conditions

The Columbia market parking vacancy rate remains relatively stable during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The overall parking garage occupancy rate decreased only slightly year over year from 83.86% during the second quarter of 2019 to 81.62% during the second quarter of 2020. Unlike larger cities, many commuters drive their personal vehicles to work in lieu of public transportation; therefore, the demand for parking in Columbia has remained stable. For this reason, many employees working remotely during the Coronavirus quarantine are not ready to give up their leased and possibly reserved parking spaces in downtown Columbia. Thru the second half of 2020, we may begin to see some companies or their employees reducing control of their parking spaces if their plans are to continue remote working.

There are 19 parking garages available to Columbia tenants and visitors in the downtown market. There are only 2,270 total garage spaces available throughout downtown Columbia. The minimum price for reserved parking spaces remained $75.00 per month during the second quarter of 2020; however, the maximum price increased to $135.00 per month. In addition to garage parking options, there are 15 public surface parking lots in downtown Columbia, with spaces that may be rented hourly, daily or monthly. There are currently a total of 1,113 parking spaces which may be purchased on a monthly basis in downtown Columbia surface parking lots. In addition, there are 279 City of Columbia Passport parking areas which may be purchased on a hourly or daily basis, and 133 two-hour-limit parking lot spaces.

On any given weekday it appears parking is readily available throughout Columbia because many employees have not returned to the office yet and may continue to work remotely for some time. Employees are unwilling to give up their parking spaces despite not being in their offices for several months. As a result, it may be next year before it becomes apparent that parking options are changing in relation to the COVID-19 period.

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