Car elevator gives condo ‘cool’ factor
Parking spaces come at a premium in Victoria
What does little ol’ Victoria have in common with much bigger, more densely populated cities like New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and even Vancouver?
Not much right now, perhaps, but by the fall of 2012, Victoria will have a residential building with a car elevator, just like you’d find in cities where space is at a premium and real estate is priced accordingly.
Space — or the lack of it — is what’s behind Victoria’s entry into the carelevator world, as well.
The Sovereign, which will have 36 homes, is being built on a former parking lot that’s just 92 feet by 104 feet.
“One hundred and 20 feet is kind of a magic dimension for parking and we don’t have that,” says architect Bill Reid, of Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership. “So right off the bat, we’re too small and therefore inefficient.”
But Reid says the project’s developer — Chard Development — was able to “take a negative and turn it into a positive.”
Instead of building a ramp that would have taken up so much of the available space they “might get six cars on a floor,” Chard opted to install two car elevators. “So this was really a way of getting our parking into a tight floor area.”
Even though car elevators are not cheap — “they get up into the six figures, 100 grand, quite easily,” says Reid — they’re cheaper than blasting and drilling in a city like Victoria, which sits on lots of rock.
“It’s an expensive place to build an underground parking garage, so anything we can do to minimize the extent of the garage is a payback.”
Without the need for a ramp, parking spaces for the building can be contained on four floors; two below ground level, one above, and the ground floor itself.
But aside from the practicalities for the developer, a car elevator is a “cool” factor for buyers, admits Reid. “It’s kind of exclusive. That’s not why we’re doing it, but it’s kind of neat, it has a certain appeal.”
Roy and Gladys Abrams think so. The Victoria couple were among the first to purchase a condo in The Sovereign when pre-sales opened in midMay.
Gladys Abrams says the car elevator “is a bragging right for us,” noting it’s innovative and also very “green”, since less space is wasted on parking.
The living area in one of the suites.