February 17, 2020

What to do with underground parking – 2

Another example from Ian Robertson.  From Commercial Real Estate:

As public transport usage among Sydney’s CBD workforce surges, and the number of cars entering the city each day falls, developers and landlords may soon face the challenge of figuring out what to do with basement spaces that don’t meet modern building codes. …

At the same time public transit patronage among the CBD workforce has been undergoing a significant increase.  Transport for NSW estimates that between 7000 and 8000 fewer cars entered the city each day over the three years to 2018 …

Developers and building landlords nowadays are less concerned with onsite parking provisions, opting to use more of the building’s floor plan for office space or building infrastructure like end-of-trip facilities or gyms in an attempt to future-proof buildings against declining demand for parking spaces. …The City of Sydney has planning controls which encourage the reduction of parking spaces as part of redevelopment plans for existing sites, allowing developers to pursue additional height levels in exchange for adaptive reuse of basement spaces.

The owners of one CBD office tower at 160-166 Sussex Street are hoping to add extra levels to the building. While the existing car parking and servicing arrangements will be retained under the current proposal, the development application outlines the potential for the future removal of the building’s 26-car stacker system in favour of “two basement levels of activity”.

… most basements were not suitable for habitation, primarily due to ceiling heights, and that retrofitting them to comply with current standards was difficult.  This meant that landlords may need to get creative in future, turning to solutions such as Mirvac’s underground urban farm as inspiration.

Despite the uptick in public transport use and move away from new spaces being constructed, parking is still in hot demand in some parts of the CBD. …These commuters are opting to take up parking space offered by commercial landlords but also residential owners and tenants in fringe suburbs of the city – such as Glebe, Pyrmont, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst – who don’t use their parking spaces. …a lot of people who live within walking distance of the city, they’re happy to rent out to people.

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  1. I want parking levels that are still being built to be designed with flat floors and short ramps between them, instead of continuously sloping floors that are harder to adapt to other uses.

  2. Looks like removing underground parking isn’t all it was cracked up to be, even in the most progressive cities:

    A tower of luxury condos with almost no parking? This experiment seems to be failing

    Seattleites want to live more like Manhattanites.

    Or at least, that was the gamble made by developers of The Emerald, a 40-story luxury condominium near Pike Place Market, when they decided to include fewer parking stalls than any comparable new residential tower in the city.

    But it looks like even Teslas on demand and the thrill of sharing an address with the priciest listing on the waterfront aren’t enough to prompt potential buyers of Seattle’s luxury condominiums to give up their cars.

    The relative dearth of parking at The Emerald has been jeopardizing sales there, local condo brokers say…

    1. I think you’re overstating the claim based on a read of the article. They compare this building to 15 others on the market – but how many are in the luxury category and how is the market responding to the difference? This could well be cherry picking to make a story. Also, Seattle may be more progressive than most but it has a very deeply ingrained car culture. Also, the point is made that there are unused spaces in the immediate area. For so many reasons, from economics to climate change, it only makes sense to make use of them and not add more.

      Finally, the developer has saved at least $10m in construction costs so has a little more leeway in the timing of sales.

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