Monday, July 18, 2016

Request for More Parking in Richardson

It's not just downtown Dallas towers that are adding parking. The owners of a Telecom Corridor office building plan to construct a four-level parking garage to add more appeal to the project. The three-story Campbell Commons office campus in Richardson was built in 1998 at 1201 E. Campbell Road.
I saw that and scratched my head. Why does that old office building need more parking? Why would today's tenant need more parking than the tenant who occupied the building twenty years ago? I can think of only one reason. Employers today are cramming more workers into less space than employers did in the past. And that can be for one of two reasons.

One, it's a global phenomenon. Workers today are getting squeezed all over. Wages are stagnant. Benefits are getting cut. Opportunities to change jobs are disappearing. Result? Instead of a private office with a door, you get a high walled cubicle. Instead of a cubicle, you get an open-office, multi-purpose workstation. Instead of a workstation, you get a community table. Instead of 225 square feet per person, you get 125 or less. The end result is a tenant who needs not four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of building floor space but six spaces.

Two, it's a Richardson-specific phenomenon. High tech is giving way to paper pushing. Instead of Telecom Corridor, it's more like Insurance Intersection. State Farm. Blue Cross & Blue Shield. Office jobs that used to be considered skilled jobs are being replaced by jobs filled with unskilled labor at lower wages. More workers in less space. Hence, need for more parking.

Maybe it's a combination of the two reasons. I don't know the particulars of this specific building. I don't have the statistics on Richardson's employment history. But if this case indicates a trend, it's a trend that deserves scrutiny. Growth is good, but it should be balanced growth. Richardson needs to fill its existing office buildings with better jobs, not just more jobs.

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