Bluestone and Hockley Real Estate Services
Josie is the proud owner of the Springfield Square Shopping Center, a 30,000 square foot retail center located adjacent to the main mall in the city of Springfield, Oregon. She has ten tenants, the largest being a 15,000 square foot drug store tenant. Most of them lease spaces that range from 4000 to 1000 square feet. Josie lives about an hour away from the property and does not visit regularly. All of the tenants have triple net leases, and she bills them back for common area expenses, such as landscaping and roof and parking lot maintenance. The property has been cash flowing pretty well, but her tenants are balking about the rent increases she wants, claiming the property is looking ratty, and the parking lot is very dangerous. During her last visit to the property, Josie almost had a flat when her Range Rover fell into a pothole.
Unsure how to remedy what was an obvious problem, Josie went to the library to learn how parking lots are built. She found a resource from the Property Management Association, a pamphlet called Asphalt /Pavement Maintenance and Repair. She discovered that asphalt is a mixture of rock and sand held together by a liquid petroleum-based cement. It is typically laid over a base of compacted, crushed rock and is then compacted in place. Typical depths of asphalt run from 1 ½ inches for a light overlay to four, six, or ten inches for heavier overlays. Josie found out that many different mixes of asphalt exist, and it helps to consult an asphalt engineer to know which mix is generally used in a particular geographic region; in some areas of the country, concrete is preferred to asphalt due to the temperature conditions.
Newly enlightened, Josie surveyed her property and made a hand sketch of the parking lot, noting where all of the problems were. She then met with several blacktop contractors to have them look at the property. They all told her a different story.
The first said she should dig out the potholes, replace the material, fill all of the cracks, cover the surface with a 1 ½ inch lift of asphalt, and then seal coat and stripe the lot.
The next paver told her that all the asphalt needed to be removed because the base was failing and needed to be recompacted; he suggested a new overlay of six inches on top of the repaired base.
In contrast, the last paver said that in the major wear areas, the existing asphalt should be removed, and using pavement cloth under the asphalt would keep it from happening again. He recommended installing a two-inch overlay of asphalt before seal coating and striping.
Totally confused, Josie decided to consult a civil engineer to make some sense out of the conflicting stories. The engineer visited the site with her and pointed out that the parking lot had not been designed with a slope to the drains, leading to standing water, which in turn had caused the major potholes. He recommended that the areas of the parking lot subjected to the most daily traffic be excavated so that the base could be inspected and sloped to a drain. He also decided that the base needed some additional fill and the whole area should be recompacted. He recommended a four-inch overlay in the new areas and a two-inch overlay in the parking spaces, with a seal coat and striping.
Satisfied with the engineer's recommendation, Josie went out to bid and decided on Handy Jack's Paving Service. She asked the engineer to watch the progress to make sure that the job was done right. During the excavation process, Jack found an underground spring in the parking lot. The engineer told Jack that a French drain needed to be installed and that the spring should be routed underground to the storm water sewers. Then they installed the new asphalt over the new base. In the garbage dumpster areas, they decided to dig out the area and install more rock and six inches of asphalt to help carry the weight of the extra heavy garbage trucks.
When her new parking lot was finished, Josie was proud; it looked great and made the property look new. She had reviewed the lease prior to starting the job and found out that she could bill the tenants for the cost of the job. Because the job was much more expensive than she anticipated, decided to only bill her tenants for half of the work, and to spread it out over 36 months. As expected, the tenants were extremely happy, and they all renewed their leases after she promised to paint the building the next year.