The Department of Justice has ordered Standard Parking and Central Parking, which are in the process of merging in a $345 million deal, to sell or relinquish their contracts to manage more than 100 properties in Nashville and 28 other downtown business districts around the country.
Justice officials said in a statement Wednesday that the combined heft of Standard and Central — the U.S. parking industry's top two players — would hurt competition in Nashville and the other cities, which include Atlanta and Charlotte. The 107 sites that need to be divested generate revenues of about $85 million annually, which amounts to almost 6 percent of the soon-to-be-combined company.
“Consumers have benefited from lower parking prices because of competition between Standard and Central in many urban central business districts,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland, whose antitrust team on Wednesday simultaneously filed suit to block the merger and proposed the diverstiture settlement. “These divestitures will ensure that consumers in the affected cities and states will receive better services.”
Central Parking runs about 40 garages and lots inside downtown's interstate loop, while Standard has a single location. It's the latter, which sits next to the One Nashville Place tower on Fourth Avenue North, that needs to be sold. Media outlets in Chicago and Denver said 10 and 16 properties, respectively, need to change hands in those cities.