Parking Lots: Increase the Income of your Retail Property

Property Management Blog

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses worldwide are struggling with revenue generation because customers don’t want to make contact. Retail outlets are increasingly incorporating online buying and no-contact delivery solutions. In recent months, parking spaces have become redundant and are sitting empty because consumers don’t wish to step outdoors unnecessarily.

As a landlord and investor, it is crucial to identify opportunities and zero-in for the kill when you see a lucrative income-generation opportunity. How can you generate a substantial and steady income from your parking lots? There are numerous strategies you can explore to put all that empty space to good use.

You can use the parking lot to setup numerous events and collaborations, such as drive-in movies, open-air stores and even an outdoor food court. Keep reading to explore some practical ideas to generate income from your parking lots.

Open-Air Events

How can you collaborate with other businesses or explore ventures to use your parking lot for open-air events? Now, there are many ideas to explore here. You can either collaborate with another business, or set up your own side hustle. Many shopping mall and retail parking lots have been converted into drive-in movies and open-air food courts.

People don’t want to get cooped up and exposed in indoor dining environments. Everyone is steering clear of pubs, bars and indoor dining has witnessed a downward spiral. On the other hand, people are exploring outdoor dining and food courts that allow safe distancing and robust hygiene standards with no-contact transactions.

There’s an opportunity to collaborate with food stalls and trucks to turn your parking lot into a food court where people come to experience multiple cuisine and a variety of specialties. You can put together a mix of talented food stall and truck owners, and charge them a nominal rent for using the space.

You can also collaborate with universities, businesses and community services to hold job fairs. In recent months, many parking lot owners are collaborating with healthcare organizations to create drive-through COVID-19 testing centers.

A Hangout Spot

We’re all tired of sitting indoors and waiting for the pandemic to blow over. While practicing social distance and COVID-19 precautions are a crucial responsibility to bend the curve, it is also important to maintain social interactions. After a year, people want to go out safely and enjoy social interactions without putting themselves in harm’s way.

People prefer open-air and outdoor locations, and here’s an opportunity to repurpose your parking lot and set up a new business. You can create a hangout spot for seniors to play chess in their cars or setup tables at safe distances so families can go out. You can create a drive-in cinema and allow people to enjoy food and watch a movie from the safety of their vehicles.

You can set up a hangout spot where people can come and enjoy standup comedy, or collaborate with local musicians to hold new events night after night. You can even put on a new spin on karaoke nights by allowing each participant to come out of their car and take the stage without coming into contact with other people.

For instance, in Roseville, Minneapolis, parking lots have been repurposed to create drive-through haunted houses. Flip House, the force behind this creative venture, wanted families to have fun while driving through the haunted house without compromising their safety. Bingo events have also soared great popularity as landlords are looking safe activities to entertain crowds and repurpose their space.

Ideas are abundant, and this plan is all about creativity. What is the one thing that people in your community/neighborhood enjoy and miss the most? While some communities are big on food, others prefer art and cultural events. Find what’s missing and provide that service to create a steady income from your vacant parking lot.

Collaborations & Joint-Ventures

Many retail businesses are struggling to attract customers in fear of compromising the social distancing requirements. While these circumstances are troubling and overwhelming, they also open up lucrative opportunities for collaborations. Outdoor space is attractive given the fear of being cooped up in enclosed spaces and getting exposed by someone carrying the virus.

So, people are turning to outdoor locations to shop, eat and entertain themselves. You can collaborate with a multitude of businesses, corporations and small home-based enterprises. For instance, you can launch a crafts event by collaborating with handmade jewelry and crafts businesses. You can rent out the venue to home-based artists and repurpose your parking lot into an open-air art gallery.

Ideas are abundant and you can identify opportunities by researching and communicating with businesses in your area. Find out the businesses and retail enterprises that have struggled, and reach out with a value proposition that is attractive for both parties.


In the wake of the pandemic, landlords are increasingly repurposing their parking lots to increase foot traffic and generate income streams. Brick and mortar retail stores are witnessing a sharp decline in foot traffic and revenues, and there is where a parking lot opens up scores of opportunities. Many restaurants are setting up outdoor dining, and people are getting inventive and creating with repurposing ideas.

There is an abundance of creativity to explore. You can settle down with one idea, or throw something different and exciting to bring out the crowds each week. You can turn the space into a delightful hangout spot where people can relax and unwind with delicious food and drinks. Or you can provide the community a safe entertainment venue where they can enjoy with their children without getting in harm’s way.

The key is to add value and ensure safety with strict COVID-19 regulations.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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