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PHILADELPHIA-”Parkominium,” a six-story, 280-space parking garage with individual spaces set to sell for a minimum of $35,000, is under development at 231 North 2nd St. A joint venture between locally based Realty Capital Advisors and local developers Michael Rigolizzo and Robert Levitt, it is seen not only as a solution to increasing demand for parking space in Old City, but also as a growing urban trend nationwide.

The partners acquired a parcel next to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge for $1.9 million. “It’s an assemblage of many pieces from DPRA (Delaware River Port Authority), the city and individual owners,” Elio Colavita, a principal of Realty Capital, tells GlobeSt.com. Construction, he says, “will be about $4 million, and the total cost, including architecture and engineering, will be roughly $7.8 million.”

“The already tight parking situation has grown much worse in the past few years as Old City continues to enjoy a high-end residential building boom,” says Christopher DiGeorge, also a Realty Capital partner. “Many of the surface lots that have served the area are currently being developed or will be shortly, and all of the area garages have waiting lists for monthly parking.”

The building will be professionally managed and staffed 24/7. At a price that is less than monthly parking costs, Colavita contends, people can own their own space and recoup the cost when they sell it. Chief among the target market is buyers of Old City’s new upscale condos. Spaces will be sold on a fee-simple basis, allowing owners to rent or sell the space or use it as collateral. An association of Parkominium owners will operate the facility and could establish valet service to provide pick-up and drop-off service, Colavita also points out.

“The bridge, and especially its train traffic, makes this parcel unsuitable for residential development,” Colavita says, “but it’s ideal for parking. Architecturally, Parkominium is designed to blend in with the neighborhood,” he adds. Completion is scheduled for this November, and marketing begins next week. Noting that much of Center City is in the midst of a residential building boom, he also says, “We will look at other locations where there’s a desperate need for parking.”

Parkominium reflects a growing trend in other major cities. According to published reports about parking spaces for sale, Chicago’s Field Harbor parking garage is selling spaces for $25,000; a buyer paid $167,500 for a space in Boston’s Brimmer St. Garage; spaces in the Grabler Building in Lower Manhattan are going for $169,000, and parking spaces in the garage beneath San Francisco’s Four Seasons are selling for $35,000 for a single, and $50,000 for a double. Like Parkominium, these spaces have all the characteristics of regular condominiums, including deeds, condo charges and mortgages. Parking-space ownership is even finding its way into people’s wills.

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