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First NYC Automated Garage Opens

The nation’s third fully automated garage, and the first in New York City, recently opened in Manhattan. The project, known as 23 Baxter Street, handles 67 cars, and will take both daily and monthly parkers in the congested Nolita area of the city.

Although PT toured the project just before its opening, it was running and operated smoothly, taking cars down to its two parking levels on pallets, immediately turning the cars on the pallet (so they would be pointed in the correct direction for exit), and then moving the pallet to a storage area.

According to Ari Milstein, director of planning for AutoMotion Parking Systems, the company responsible for the project, the garage is topped with retail and 24 condominium units.

“Everything in U.S. commercial real estate is going vertical,” Milstein said. “The goal is to put developments on small foot prints. That’s just not possible without this type of parking. This project is built on a 100-space stack parking lot. A conventional underground garage, taking into consideration ramps and access, would hold less than 30.

“In this project, we have more than twice the number of spaces we need for on-site use. That means we can provide space for daily parkers in the neighborhood. Automated parking is the future for this type of development,” Milstein said.

The AutoMotion parking system represents technology developed by German industrial manufacturer Stolzer Parkhaus, which has successfully built 28 automated facilities operating in 11 countries worldwide.

MJS Garage Management, which operated the lot on the Nolita site, will take charge of the system.

“Since this is a mixed-use operation, we feel that it’s important that we have an attendant on-site,” said Gary Schneeweiss, Vice President of MJS. “I’ve never seen a parking system that works so efficiently. We’ve been to Germany and to Washington to see operational systems, and are convinced this is the future of the parking industry in terms of reliability, safety and convenience to the customer.

“The owner felt that having an attendant on-site was important,” Schneeweiss said. “Although some parkers will be familiar with the operation, many, every day, will be having a new parking experience. Having an attendant on-site will ensure that that experience will be seamless.”

With fully automatic parking of vehicles, car owners will enjoy the retrieval of their vehicle in less than 2.5 minutes with no risk of dents, scratches or dings to the car, the company says. The system also eliminates the chance of damage to the car interior or theft of personal goods left inside the car, since no one ever enters the vehicle.

“This is an automated valet operation, without all the negatives of having your vehicle driven by someone else,” Schneeweiss said. “In a standard valet operation, getting your car back in two and half minutes would be exceptional. Here it will be the norm. Plus, you wait inside, safe, out of the weather, while your car is being retrieved.”

Once a monthly customer drives inside the garage’s entry/exit room and locks their car, they swipe a card to activate the system and leave. Their vehicle is transported on a pallet automatically to its storage bay. When returning, customers swipe their card and their car is brought back to the entry/exit point and the customer starts the car and drives away.

Daily parkers receive a ticket upon activating the system on entry (from a kiosk they approach after dropping off their car). Upon return, they approach a pay-on-foot machine, insert the ticket, pay, and the vehicle is returned to them.

The entire operation is monitored by CCTV, which is on a plasma display in the front of the project. Passersby and those waiting for their cars can see the vehicles being placed and retrieved.

Without the frequent running and idling of auto engines found within traditional car valet parking systems, the environmental nuisances of harmful car exhaust fumes and excessive noise also will be removed. As an added benefit, the German automotive manufacturer, BMW, in partnership with AutoMotion, will pick up, service, and deliver any make or brand of car parked within an AutoMotion garage.

AutoMotion is an affiliated company of the American Development Group, the developer of the project.

“While the first application of this technology in New York is within a luxury condominium development, it is fully adaptable to service business complexes, hospitals, retail centers and other parking-intensive projects,” said Perry Finkelman, Partner and Managing Director of AutoMotion Parking Systems and American Development Group. “It delivers tremendous advantages to both the customer and real estate developer, while maximizing space, cost savings and convenience.”

Two other automated garages are currently operating in the U.S. – one in Washington, DC, and the other in Hoboken, NJ.

Article Abstract from May, 2007




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