In a statement sent to media Wednesday afternoon, Boston Properties responded to recent developments in the ongoing saga regarding paid parking at Reston Town Center.
The statement comes after a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s restaurant, an announcement by Reston Merchants Association of continued declining sales, and a statement from the Reston Citizens Association denouncing BXP’s apparent unwillingness to compromise. Released through public relations firm Fallston Group, Boston Properties’ statement claims:
- There is “variability” in month-to-month performance of RTC merchants. Some have reported increases in sales in the past 90 days, some have reported flat or decreasing sales.
- Boston Properties continues to work with retailers to provide customer support, parking validations and other assistance regarding the paid parking implementation.
- Planned enhancements of the system include the addition of change machines to better accommodate cash customers, as well as improvements to payment kiosks.
- Car counts represent “high adoption rates” of the paid-parking policies. More than 112,000 downloads of the ParkRTC app have been made, including 22,000 in the past week.
- The $8 million of annual paid-parking revenue estimated by groups including the Reston Citizens Association is “outdated and inaccurate,” and true expectations are “significantly less.”
- Boston Properties is committed to reinvesting a comparable value to its profit from paid parking back into the Town Center and the Reston community through ongoing maintenance, capital improvements, community events and charitable donations.
- BXP is “very confident” it will prevail against all legal challenges related to paid parking.
The full text of the statement is below:
Boston Properties is prohibited by the terms of most of its leases from commenting on the specific sales results of its individual tenants. In any given year, Reston Town Center’s retail tenants see fluctuations in sales for a variety of reasons, from weather to seasonality to marketplace conditions. Additionally, monthly sales trends can vary widely among those tenants, depending on their business model, marketplace adaptation and sales tactics. Based on the information provided to date under the terms of our leases, we have seen variability in the month to month performance of the merchants at Reston Town Center prior to the introduction of paid parking. That trend has continued over the past 90 days, with some tenants reporting sales are up and others reporting flat or decreased sales.
Boston Properties has always been committed to working with its tenants for mutual success. Since paid parking was implemented, we have worked with our retailers to provide customer support, parking validations and other assistance as the Reston Town Center complex adjusts to paid parking. (As a reminder, parking in the garages is free on weekends and select holidays, and parking remains free at all times for retail employees.) Boston Properties continues to monitor paid parking adoption and will consider all appropriate policy and technology amendments as needed to ensure the long-term success of the Town Center. For instance, upcoming planned enhancements include the addition of change machines to better accommodate cash customers and improvements to the payment kiosks.
Additionally, Boston Properties’ car count continues to reflect high adoption rates of the new parking policies by the community. The ParkRTC app has been downloaded more than 112,000 times — with 22,000+ people signing up in the last week alone — and to date, nearly 85,000 individuals have utilized the app to pay for parking. Since paid parking was rolled out in January, garage usage by non-office tenants have steadily increased, week over week.
Regarding the $8 million annual revenue number that has been repeatedly referenced, the estimated figure was from 2011 and was based on very different operating assumptions. It is both outdated and inaccurate. While Boston Properties does not report property-specific performance, revenue expectations are significantly less, as the vast majority of visitors and tenants are either validated or do not pay for parking. Further, Boston Properties is committed to reinvesting a comparable value to its profit from paid parking back into the Town Center and the Reston community through ongoing maintenance, capital improvements, community events and charitable donations.
Finally, regarding recent legal action, Boston Properties is very confident it will prevail against any and all legal challenges related to paid parking.
Much of the information provided in the statement echoes previous statements from Boston Properties regarding the paid-parking initiative.