Taking Urban Parking to New Heights

With real estate at a premium in increasingly congested downtown Brooklyn, the enterprising owner of a lot located at the corner of Tillary and Gold Streets is employing a 1920s era invention to take public parking to new heights – literally.

Lot owner Michael Zacharias says he had been trying to come up with a way to accommodate more vehicles on his lot for about a decade. The Parkmatic, a forty-three-foot-tall, automated, parking Ferris wheel-like device was the answer he had been looking for.  He says installing the Parkmatic has increased parking capacity at his Tillary Street lot by about 30 percent.

Vertical parking devices are nothing new, but the unlike its competitors, the Parkmatic doesn’t require vehicles on the bottom to be moved out of the way in order to access those on the upper shelves.

Depending on the number of vehicles parked on the Parkmatic’s steel shelves, an attendant can retrieve one from the uppermost shelves in about two minutes, using an electronic keypad located at the front of the carousel.  The device can rotate clockwise or counterclockwise, and a computer selects the direction the carousel rotates in order to minimize the time needed to deliver the desired vehicle to the street level.

Zacharias’s Tillary Street lot is located in a rapidly changing area near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges where a number of high-rise buildings have recently been constructed; increasing the need for parking space.

Max Wassef, principal owner of the New York-based company, says the Parkmatic has piqued the interest of a number of developers in the New York area as land values have skyrocketed.   “In conventional garages,” says Wassef, “the overall development cost of each space is $25,000 to $30,000. This lowers the cost to about $16,000 per space.”

Wassef says parking carousels have been around since the 1920s, and have been in use in Europe and Asia for years.  He says there are approximately 700 Parkmatic vehicle carousels in use worldwide, but the Tillary Street lot is the first location in the U.S. to purchase the system.

The company’s manufacturing facilities are located in South Korea, and double, triple, and quadruple level stackers, as well as an underground “sub-level” system are available.  The carousels can be configured to accommodate seven to 12 vehicles.

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