The Post-Car Era

Florida a Leader in Automated Vehicle Technology

Most of our fellow Floridians may not know that the Sunshine State is a leader in the study of automated vehicle technology. In fact, from November 14-15, 2017, the 5th Annual Automated Vehicles Conference is being held in Tampa. Closer to home here, the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization is conducting a study on Driver Assisted Truck Platooning or DAPT, another acronym that should be in our new industry jargon. A recent pilot study on DAPT shows Florida’s engagement with the future of transportation in our state. Our local go-to person for the latest information is John Dohm, SIOR, CCIM, of Infinity Commercial and former Chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors (with over 42,000 members, the largest realtor’s association in the world). We’ve had the chance to speak to John on several occasions; particularly, we have speculated with him on the future re-purposing of office parking garages.

What’s Going to Happen to Parking Garages?

Among the most creative uses that have been proposed for existing parking garages in a post-car era has been the creation of residential micro-units as an affordable housing solution for the elderly, small families and students. A 27-year-old architect from California, Brandi Rosso, has proposed a “Garage Society,” in which garage space would be re-purposed for residential units by leveling sloping floors and even creating open pockets on the top floors to allow additional light into the formerly dim parking areas. With close to 105 million parking spaces nationwide, most of them in core urban as well as key suburban locations, the idea of providing affordable housing options in cities like Miami, which suffer from scarce inventory of economical homes, is promising. Take the iconic Miami Tower building—as its former leasing agents, the Fairchild team has the first-hand knowledge of the building to speak to how it is an example of an ideal model for micro-units, with ceiling heights that would not require a substantial reduction in height. Located in the heart of Downtown Miami, it’s top floor would make for a gorgeous roof-top garden with incomparable panoramic views of Miami, lit by the building’s trademark night-time illumination.

Other uses for smaller building garages include fitness centers and recreational venues. All these ideas promote the concept of the live, work, and play community. The topic of many conversations in CRE conferences include how fast we will face the need to re-purpose half-empty garages and what specific recommendations we give landlords. The general consensus is that these transformations will occur sooner than most expect, and that the best ideas will be coming from the industry specialists who are already engaged in the autonomous vehicle conversation. As recognized leaders in adopting the latest technology as part of our CRE services, you can be sure we will keep up-to-date on automated vehicle technology and report back on this watershed subject in future blog entries.

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