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Bay Area Multifamily's Hottest Trend: No Parking

A growing number of Bay Area multifamily developments are cutting back on parking spaces. It's already being done in some Bay Area cities and elsewhere, such as Washington DC, as transit-oriented development, car-sharing and more walkable communities gain in popularity. We caught up with Panormic Interests' Patrick Kennedy to talk about the hot trend.


Patrick (here in the lobby of The Panoramic) tells us all his Cityspaces projects replace parking with bike storage and City CarShare. The Panoramic boasts the largest private bike garage in San Francisco, with parking for more than 200 bikes (shown below).

The removal of parking is a boon for developers, since parking spaces mean additional cost and often a smaller footprint for residential or retail space in mixed-use developments.

Though challenges remain, more cities are looking at their parking requirements, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law last month reducing parking requirements for affordable, senior and special needs housing near public transit.

Some properties in the Bay Area serve as an example of successful parking-free projects, such as The Panoramic at 1321 Mission St. and Cityspaces 38 at 38 Harriet St.

Cityspaces 38 was completed in 2012 and has 23 units. The Panoramic, finished this year, is mixed-use with 160 residential units and 2k SF of commercial space, leased by a coffee house and a wine bar.


Going parking-free works in locations with access to BART, CarShare and walkable neighborhoods, Patrick tells us. In those cities, he likens cars to dinosaurs--"unnecessary and outmoded for city dwellers whose life exists in the city."

And Patrick isn't the only one to mention car-sharing. At Bisnow's San Francisco Multifamily event this month, Solomon Cordwell Buenz' managing principal Chris Pemberton brought up Uber and how many Millennials just don't drive. With those shifts, it's becoming easier to finance properties without as much parking attached.


In July, Uber found nearly 80,000 Bay Area trips started or ended within 100 meters of a Caltrain station. Uber says the most popular time for uberPOOL requests is around 6 pm on weekdays, with nearly a third of all uberPOOL trips during commuter hours of 7-10 am and 5-8 pm. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Apple are shuttling employees to work.

TransForm, an organization based in Oakland, has been working to support developments that rely on these alternatives. The GreenTRIP program certifies projects that work to incorporate free transit passes or car-sharing. These projects are building for the next generation of lifestyle preferences.

GreenTRIP Program director (and former mayor of El Cerrito) Ann Cheng tells us providing a selection of transportation services is less expensive than providing a free parking space.


The program has certified a couple projects by Oakland's Nautilus Group, including Garden Village in Berkeley (above).

Garden Village does away with parking in favor of free car-share memberships, discounted transit passes and a digital travel concierge in the lobby. The property also will have bike storage hooks in each unit and a bike fixing station with tools. A proposed 49-space underground parking garage would have cost $2.3M to build, TransForm reports.

Another Nautilus project, 4700 Telegraph in Oakland, reduces parking to one spot for every two units. Centrally located near transit, the site will offer discount transit passes, free car-share membership and 48 secure bike parking spaces.

The trend continues. Just this month, Equity Residential made a $28M purchase in SoMa, and the REIT is planning to build a 13-story, 250-unit building. Those plans for the $71M project don't include any parking spaces.