Allright Corporation

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: January 6, 2016

Allright Corporation, originally known as Allright Auto Parks, headquartered in Houston, provides diversified parking services for airports, banks, hospitals, municipalities, hotels, office buildings, and stores, often organized in partnership with government authorities or private developers. The company, which claims to be North America's largest parking company, also designs and engineers computerized parking facilities, conducts site-planning and economic feasibility studies, and develops industry-related innovations such as watchdog systems and ticketing systems.

The parking industry traces its beginnings to Detroit, Michigan, where an all-day parking lot opened in 1917. Allright, among the first companies of its kind in the nation, began in 1926 when Rice University law student Durell M. Carothers began working for his uncle W. W. Towell's Billie's Auto Parks in Houston. By 1930 the firm owned seven Houston locations. Carothers took over the firm in 1932, and Towell died in 1933. By 1962 the company had expanded to major cities across the country, and Carothers was involved in forty-seven corporations and twenty-two partnerships that had come to be known as the "Allright organization." The firm eventually operated through a network of subsidiaries, usually one incorporated subsidiary in each city. In this system, the city manager served as chief operating officer, and a regional manager coordinated local operations with the company as a whole.

Allright Auto Parks, Incorporated, was formed in 1962 and made its first public stock offering in 1963. The company developed a standard parking-lot lease and diversified into demolition, property leasing, and the design and construction of parking facilities. Acquisition of properties, largely through outright fee ownership, enabled the company to invest in rising property values in major urban locations. A system of regional managers was devised in 1974.

In 1982 Hong Kong investors engaged in real estate development acquired the firm through a cash merger valued at about $120 million. In 1993 the chairman of the board was A. J. Layden, a native of Forney, Texas, and the president was Bernard M. Meyer, who had previously headed Allright's Eastern Division. By then Allright operated over 2,000 parking facilities in ninety cities in the United States and Canada and owned eight subsidiaries in Texas; its Allright Planning Division provided garage-design capability to a wide clientele. At one time the company parked forty-three million cars a year and owned prime downtown real estate totalling more than eight million square feet in central business districts or adjacent to major airports. In 1993 the firm employed 3,000 workers.

Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Allright Corporation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
January 6, 2016

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