Home Depot selling off extra parking

Atlanta The Home Depot said it has identified about 25 Georgia stores in which it plans to market surplus parking.

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the move to sell parcels comes as Home Depot grapples with sales declines stemming from the housing bust and consumer spending cutbacks. The chain, once known for adding a store every 48 hours, has nearly stopped expanding its U.S. store base. Last year it closed 15 flagship stores and 34 Expo stores, in addition to taking 50 stores out of its construction pipeline.

However, said the report, Home Depot owns 89% of its 2,274 stores chainwide, comprising 212 million sq. ft. of real estate, which doesn’t including parking lots and garden sales areas.

“A number of stores have barren asphalt, and it’s not in anyone’s best interest to leave it sitting there,” said Mike LaFerle, Home Depot’s VP real estate.

LaFerle said he thinks the chain can attract restaurants or retailers that compliment its morning contractor business, such as fast-food restaurants that sell breakfast or auto maintenance shops.

One potential obstacle, according to the report, is that local government approval may be needed to subdivide the parking lots and add more retail.

LaFerle said he argues that selling the parcels is a “win-win” for municipalities because additional tenants add jobs and produce sales and property tax revenues.

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