Parking for a Premium at Charles Street Garage
With a growing residential population and more businesses moving to area, parking rates are at a premium in Boston. Parking spaces are becoming scarcer, but demand continues to rise. That brings excellent potential for developers and real estate companies who realize that the current crowd of parking-space seekers, who have money and the need to park their cars, are willing to pay premium prices for the chance to park their vehicle in any place that is even remotely close to where they live or work. In addition to standard one-car parking places, that includes two-car deep tandem spots, which require one car to park behind another and are sometimes barely large enough to fit both vehicles.
Based in historical roots, the main reason for Boston's lack of parking spaces is its original design. The historic city was formed in the 1800s, long before cars were even invented. Its narrow streets had no room for vehicle parking spots, which made them a problematic and costly addition as time went on.
Parking lot owners and developers are seizing the opportunity to command high prices for otherwise inferior parking spots. Unit 2-34 at 144 Charles Street in Beacon Hill, for instance, is one such example. The value of this parking spot is its location in one of Boston's preferred garages. The unit is not even attached to an apartment or condominium unit (which would increase its value even more). Despite being nothing really special, it is on the market for a sale price of $355,000. Private parking space figures have reached well into the six-figure range in and around Boston in the past; the highest on record was a spot that sold for $650,000 in Back Bay, which is more than the median price of a single-family home. This spot, however, is the most expensive currently on the market within Boston, and quite possibly within the entire region. Its only rival is a parking spot at 334 Beacon Street that is also selling for $350K.
Developers and lot owners are getting creative with selling their parking spots. For big bucks, they are willing to add on premium services that qualify their spots as belonging to a "parking condominium." This title guarantees royal treatment for clients and their vehicles, such as the ability to call or text ahead of time to have their cars ready and waiting for them upon arrival. The garage also offers car services like car detailing, and some have a drivers' lounge.
As with other local garages, the garage at 144 Charles Street factors several considerations into pricing. The time that a client spends parked in the spot (which is highest during peak business hours, Monday through Friday) factors into the asking price. The garage also charges more for valet parking service, even if the tenant never uses it. The garage also offers add-on services like jump starts, tire inflation, and unlocking vehicles. Garages with other amenities, such as heat, cost more for clients.
Proximity to key transportation centers and workplaces is another factor in parking spot price. In Beacon Hill, the increasingly demanding population wants quick and easy access to Boston's Financial District and other work centers. That demand, and convenience, can cost them a pretty penny. To date, the asking price for premium dedicated spots in Boston's top neighborhoods like Back Bay and Beacon Hill averages upwards of $350,000. The highest priced spot, which sold for $650,000, is a higher sale price than the SF pricing for an apartment in the prestigious Millennium Tower penthouse.
In lieu of forking over cash for a reserved parking spot, people who work in Boston can still use street parking and parking garages. They should keep in mind, however, that prices for public parking have increased in the past few years, and will probably continue to rise in the future. Amenities like secured parking, long-term parking, and overnight parking are more in demand than ever. People are also seeking convenient access to the places that they work. For a 3 minute commute, garages may charge as much as $20 per hour.