The future of parking is in New York – and it costs at least $300,000 per spot

Hidden in the depths of some of New York City’s most luxurious apartment buildings is an exclusive world of futuristic parking spaces where high-end vehicles are parked and retrieved by robotic parking systems.

High-tech spaces are a rare amenity in the Big Apple, and if you want your car to occupy one of these VIP spaces, you have to be prepared to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The spots are only accessible to residents of the buildings as apartments will set you back several million, and if you want your car to live there too, you’ll need an extra $300,000 to $595,000 to get some precious space in your private garage.

CNBC found two Manhattan buildings offering places for sale inside what they call a robot car garage.

The first is located at 121 East 22nd Street near Gramercy Park in New York City as a 140-unit apartment building developed by Toll Brothers It offers 24 automated parking spaces.

Above the 22nd Street Condo’s underground garage is the wrap-around terrace of a recently sold 5-bedroom duplex with parking space valued at $300,000 for $9.45 million.

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Earlier this month, full-time Florida resident Lori Alf bought one of those rare parking spots for $300,000 when she bought the most expensive unit on the block: a five-bedroom duplex that spans nearly 3,800 square feet.

She told CNBC that the package deal, which totaled $9.45 million, was a gift to her children, who are now spending more time in New York.

The sunny living area inside the penthouse unit of Lori Alf at 121 E 22nd St.

Toll Brothers City Living

Now when Alf or her kids want to park the family’s Porsche Cayenne in the apartment’s garage, they pull into a booth where a tiny radio frequency identification tag wave opens access to the car’s underground lair where no humans are allowed.

Pressing a button in the kiosk sends a jolt of life into an empty metal pallet one level below. He glides across a track on a powerful lift that sends the empty pallet up towards ground level to meet the Alfs who can then carefully place their car on top of it.

When the vehicle enters the automated system, the motion pad sends messages to the driver to confirm that the vehicle is positioned correctly to begin the parking process.


Before its wheels can be wheeled away, an array of cameras scans the entrance to the system to make sure the trunk and doors are all closed — and that there are no objects or humans behind them that might hinder the automation.

When the scanners deliver “all clear,” the pallet, with the car on top, disappears into the ground, pausing briefly as it descends to the basement to spin the car 180 degrees before slashing into one of the empty spaces.

The system can lift and mix twenty cars across four rows and two levels.

Car parked in the basement of the automated parking garage at 121 E 22nd St. Prices start at $300,000 per spot.


Redeeming a car is a lot like choosing from a giant vending machine. Residents swipe their RFID tags back in, and the system delivers their cars in about 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

One of the advantages of the Alf: It never has to turn the car to get out of the building.

“The robot turned the car around for you,” she told CNBC. “Who wouldn’t live for a robot that can point you in the right direction in New York City?”

It’s the most automated garage he’s ever installed in Manhattan, Pedro Fernandez, a local sales representative for Klaus Parking, the company that sold the German-made parking system to the building’s developer, told CNBC.

A company’s first-rate system typically costs between $50,000 and $70,000 per spot installed. Fernandez said developers are investing more than $1 million in smart parking infrastructure because it’s super efficient at arranging vehicles and maximizing space.

The view inside the automated parking machine at 121st 22nd Street reveals a system of platforms and hydraulic elevators that maneuver cars around the two-story underground parking building.


“There was no other way to park 24,” Fernandez said of the garage space under 121 East 22nd Street.

He said a self-parking system can unlock more spaces per square foot because it doesn’t require the ramps and driveways you see in most traditional garages.

“As crazy as it may sound, $300,000 for a residential parking lot is reasonable in New York City,” said Senada Adzim, a Douglas Elliman-based Florida realtor, whose team represented Alef in its recent purchase.

Adzem told CNBC that locations in the system that include a charging plug for electric cars will save you $350,000. Electrified or not, each parking space carries a maintenance fee of $150 per month.

“The general lack of parking in the city, which is an ongoing problem with no end in sight, will only escalate such prices,” Adzem said.

She believes a lack of supply can turn a seemingly exorbitant expense into a money-maker for the owners, who can eventually resell their place at a profit.

Car inside automated parking garage at 520 West 28th where parking starts at $450,000.

Martin Mulder and related

Across town, parking spaces are pricier in a building that was once home to pop star Ariana Grande and now houses rock musician Sting and his film-producer wife Trudie Styler.

Parking at 520 West 28th Street starts at $450,000.

The $16.5 million penthouse at 520 W 28th St unfolds over the 15th and 16th floors, featuring a 2,040-square-foot balcony that wraps around the building’s curved glass facade.

Colin Miller / Related

The luxury residence, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid and developed by the related firms, includes a 4,500-square-foot penthouse that is currently on the market for $16.5 million. And according to registrar Julie Pham of Corcoran, a parking space in a building’s garage can cost upwards of $595,000 per vehicle.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Pham said of the unique amenities.

Residents can use an app to connect with a so-called ‘secure parking gate’ and remotely initiate the automated recovery process so the car is ready to go when it is.

The listing for the $16.5 million penthouse includes ten rooms and nearly 4,500 square feet of indoor living space, and the asking price does not include parking.

Colin Miller / Related

Although Pham didn’t reveal the identities of any past or current customers, she told CNBC that the automated parking was a big draw for one of the famous residents, who had a security team check the parking area before moving in.

Pham said representatives of the unnamed celebrity agreed to the deal in part because the star could be in and out of the garage in complete privacy.

“They liked the idea that you didn’t have to deal with a server or a host, or that someone couldn’t come right behind you,” she said.

During the pandemic, the broker said, residents who wanted to reduce their exposure to Covid-19 loved being able to deposit and retrieve their car without handing their keys to a valet.

While the automated sites are pricey, they are nowhere near as expensive as New York City.

In recent years, some condominium developers have pushed their asking prices for a concrete-and-yellow strip primary parking spot to the $1 million mark, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisals and advisory firm. . Still, he said, it’s unlikely that a spot with a 9-figure asking price would ever have attracted a real buyer.

“I never found evidence of actual lockdowns,” he told CNBC.

One of the most expensive parking spaces sold in the city last year was located at 220 Central Park South, where a parking space sold for $750,000, said Miller, who analyzed public records at CNBC’s request. Miller said, based on public records, that it appears connected to an apartment in the building that was trading for $16 million.

“It’s really hard to keep track of because most of the sales are included in the sale of the unit,” Miller told CNBC.

It’s also more difficult to track site sales in newer automated systems, because in many cases sites are actually licensed to buyers, not deeded and sold like most real estate, according to brokers.

Miller said his best estimate of the going rate for a single parking lot in New York City: “I think somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 is the place for a new development.”

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