The other benefit is that surface lots are by definition empty.
“There’s no pre-existing building conditions, so you don’t have to worry about demolishing something and, say, you find asbestos and all of a sudden you’ve got to encapsulate and do all sorts of crazy stuff,” said William Shanahan, chairman of CBRE’s New York City Capital Markets group.
In fact, the only disadvantage might be the occasional pushback over loss of parking, which the Los Angeles developer Lowe Enterprises encountered when it and a partner, Aecom Capital, won the rights to build on a lot next to a light-rail stop in Culver City, about 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.
The 500,000-square-foot development, called Ivy Station, is expected to open next year with 200 apartments as well as 240,000 square feet of office space that WarnerMedia has leased for HBO, Cinemax and other operations. Despite initial resistance, Tom Wulf, a Lowe executive vice president, said the 5.2-acre site had proved ideal in the long term.
“You are starting with a clean slate, you have the opportunity to build out, you create the context yourself,” he said of surface lots.
Mr. Wulf and other developers are not predicting the death of parking lots. Rather, the nature of parking in relation to development is changing, especially in cities. The Culver City project, for instance, is expected to have 1,500 below-ground spots.
And Harbinger plans to include a 500-spot garage as part of the complex it plans to build on its surface lot in Denver, Mr. O’Marah said.
“Even though Uber and Lyft and ride-sharing is useful and used all day long, when it comes Friday, people want to have their cars,” he said.