There's no need for security, or RoboCops for that matter, at the city's newest parking garage downtown.
In fact, Daryl Simpson, vice-president of marketing for Bosa Properties, says owners don't need to lock their vehicles once they've entered the robotic parking garage at Jameson House, a modernist, luxury condo building located at 838 West Hastings St.
"They don't even roll their windows up," said Simpson. "That's how secure it is."
The Jameson House parking garage, the largest in North America using this particular robotic delivery system, is the only one of its kind in Canada but has been in use in Europe for more than 40 years. Jameson House is a residential property designed by world-renowned, London-based architectural firm Foster and Partners.
To use the robotic parking system, drivers drive their vehicle into one of two space-like transfer stations and turn off the ignition before their car or SUV is automatically weighed and measured. The driver then steps out of the station and swipes a card to close the door and activate the automatic retrieval system, which places four fork-lift prongs on the back tires of the vehicles, transporting it to one of five lower levels of parking storage. Drivers can later retrieve their vehicle with a simple swipe of their card. Simpson said once a vehicle is parked, it's impossible for anyone to break into it. "Another plus is no one can swing their door open and scratch your car," said Simpson.
He noted the system is efficient in that it allows 240 vehicles to be parked on only five levels of parking. Traditionally, parking that many vehicles would take at least 12 levels. That also means less exhaust and congestion when vehicles are dropped off and retrieved robotically, compared to driving in circles up a ramp. Simpson added a smaller parking garage also meant less excavation prior to building and a smaller ventilation system, which cut down on costs.
The cost for security and less exhaust doesn't come cheap. Simpson said the system is roughly twice the price of a typical parking garage where on average one stall costs about $30,000. A parking space at Jameson House costs $56,000 for a total of about $14 million. But the price was no deterrent to real estate sales at the Jameson, Simpson said.
"If you love cars, it does add a cool factor," said Simpson. "And the building is sold out. But this system wouldn't work for every building because the cost is so high. This is a luxury project and not for the first-time buyer."