Option 1: Two tickets to Tuesday night, June 30, Mariners at Yanks, cost for just the tickets, $5,000.
Option 2: Two round-trip airline tickets to Seattle, Friday, Aug. 14, return Sunday the 16th, rental car for three days, two-night double occupancy stay in four-star hotel, two top tickets to both the Saturday and Sunday Yanks-Mariners games, two best-restaurant-in-town dinners for two. Total cost, $2,800. Plus-frequent flyer miles.
The thing that scares me most is that even after last year’s Wall Street collapse, there are probably still plenty of New Yorkers (though probably not so many who actually live in the Bronx, where the Yankees call home) who can easily afford these tickets. Personally, I’d take the mini-vacation and use the extra $2,200 I saved to buy a 55-inch flat panel to watch the other 160 games. But I guess the Yankees have to pay those 8-figure player salaries somehow. I just figured the $10 hot dogs and $15 MGDs would do it. (I’m just guessing at those prices — they’re probably more.)
This makes me a bit nervous as I anticipate the 2010 Twins season at Target Field. Sure, there’s no way in hell the Twins will be able to justify those kinds of ticket prices, but I fear the days of my beloved $8 “cheap seats” are numbered.
Yesterday I needed to go downtown. Specifically, I needed to go to the Hennepin County Government Center. We’re still waiting for our new Fit to arrive, but in the meantime I needed to apply for a duplicate title for our old trade-in because for whatever reason I just can’t find the original title.
Anyway, downtown. I normally would have taken the light rail, as I live within walking distance of a station, and the Government Plaza station is about 100 feet from my destination. But there were just enough extenuating factors to make it seem like a good idea to drive instead. The ultimate determining factor was that it probably wouldn’t cost much more to park than to ride. I would’ve spent $4 on a 6-hour pass, and I expected parking to be somewhere between $10 and $13.
So off I went on my merry way. After conducting my business with the county, I decided to stay downtown for a while, to have lunch at one of my most-missed lunch spots since I stopped working downtown last March, and then to do some work at a nearby Caribou. Such is the luxury of being able to carry your entire office in a messenger bag.
In the end I spent a total of 3 hours downtown before heading back to the parking garage. When I put my ticket in the pay machine, I was aghast — aghast, I tell you! — to see the price for 3 hours of parking adjacent to the government center. $23. Let me repeat that in a more suitable fashion:
$23. For 3 hours of parking.
Assuming that these exorbitant rates are only in effect between the hours of, say, 7 AM and 5 PM (and not even considering evening and weekend parking), and assuming that there are approximately 500 spaces in the garage (which seems a reasonable, conservative estimate, having been inside it), then Allied Parking is raking in over $38,333 per weekday, or $9.97 million per year, on this one garage alone. I realize it is a large physical structure and it requires maintenance, but the parking and payment process is fully automated, so they’re not even paying someone minimum wage to sit in a little glass box and collect their ransoms for them.
Contrast this with the apartment building I used to live in downtown. Our rent was something like $1200 per month. There were 24 apartments per floor, and 28 floors of apartments. Even assuming everyone was paying that much (which probably isn’t the case, since ours was a 2-bedroom but 20 of the apartments on each floor were only 1-bedroom), the apartment building’s revenue would work out to only $9.67 million per year (but like I said, in reality it’s probably significantly less than that), and they had a staff of maybe 20 or 30 people, and a lot more maintenance than a 6-story parking garage would require.
Bottom line: if you want to make money in downtown real estate, just build a parking garage. Frankly I’m surprised there’s anything downtown but parking garages.