Main | Monday, July 23, 2007

Flip This Space

Everybody knows parking is a nightmare in Manhattan. And yet that nightmare can provide a sublime sense of superiority to the vast majority of residents who don't own cars -myself included - although I'm occasionally inconvenienced due to friends having to circle my block for an hour searching for a space. An interesting recent NY Times story mentions that new residential buildings south of 60th Street are restricted to providing only one parking space for every five units. (The rules are slightly less restrictive above 60th street, where in some areas developers are required to provide more spaces due to higher car ownership.) I presume the intent is to discourage downtowners from adding to the gridlock, but I have to also wonder if the city's super-expensive parking garages didn't have a hand in that ruling.

According to the article, Manhattan parking spaces are selling for around $1100/sq. foot, just slightly lower than the average cost per square foot of an apartment. With the average parking space now costing $165,000, with some locations going for more than $225,000, some real estate speculators are buying just the parking space, with the mindset that being a parking space landlord is much easier than renting out an apartment. In the last year, 40 Manhattan parking garages have closed and only 23 have opened. At that rate, a parking space seems like a good investment.

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