Thursday, November 02, 2006

Condo Parking: Spaces vs. Private Garages

In a discussion over on Portland Transport, the topic of parking in condos came up. Specifically, Portland is apparently on the cusp of passing an ordinance requiring condo builders to un-bundle parking from condos. So, rather than purchasing a $300k condo with an included parking space, buyers would get a $270k condo and then have the option of forking over an additional $30k for the parking space. It is argued that this will give people pause, as to whether they really want that additional space, or even want to own a car at all, for that much additional cash.

I thought that this would be a good opprtunity to bring up an additional point, which is this:

Parking spaces in condo buildings don't have to just be for cars. If they're made wide enough so that you can open your doors entirely within them... then walls can be constructed between them, rather than painted white lines (doesn't need to be anything fancy, just some sheetrock over a mesh fence for security) and garage doors installed. Presto -- for, say, $30k, a condo buyer can add the option of a private garage, which they can use for either storing their single car -- or for storing ten bicycles, their skis, their camping equipment, a bike trailer, some snowboards, and their old vinyl record collection.

Catch my drift?

I'm not sure that this belongs in a City Council ordinance, except that it would be cool if it made it in as an option to encourage developers to absorb the up-front costs of building the walls, installing the doors and making the spaces wide enough to drive a car in and open the door wide enough to get groceries in and out on one side and a person out on the other.

I, for one, would much prefer a private garage to a plain private parking space. Sure, it's nice to have a place to tuck away the ole' car, but it's much preferable to have room for all the other stuff (bicycles, etc.) Plus, in a garage, somebody could perhaps have the best of both world -- a Mini Cooper in one half, and the bikes, etc. in the other.

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