The Future of New Construction in Downtown San Diego Might Be Changing Drastically
There have been talks for some time about changing the parking requirements for new residential projects in Downtown San Diego. With the need for affordable housing growing, lawmakers and developers are looking for a way to cut costs with the hopes that the savings passes to buyers. It is estimated that about 30% of the cost of building a highrise community is the subterranean parking garage. The current standards are 1 parking space per residence minimum, with exceptions if the project includes affordable housing units. There are also currently no maximums in place.
Decision makers in downtown are looking at implementing new standards that would not only eliminate parking space requirements for projects in Downtown, but they would also set a maximum number of parking spaces a community can have based on the number of residences. They also proposed that parking spaces are no longer included with the residence and developers would be required to sell the parking spaces separately. The proposal calls for a maximum of 1 parking space per residence and is not reliant on the size or number of bedrooms.
My Opinion of the Proposal
I do not have an issue with removing the requirements for parking. I believe if a developer wants to take the risk of not including parking, they should be allowed to do so. Demand will dictate what buyers are willing to pay for options without parking. That being said, I am extremely against putting a maximum number of parking spaces and I also disagreeing with requiring the parking to be sold separately.
First off, if a developer is willing to invest the money into more parking, they obviously see a need for it. As someone who specializes in the downtown condo market, when clients look at property, it is expected that two bedroom units come with 2 parking. This expectation is across all price ranges and is not just limited to the luxury market. San Diego does not have access to the same public transportation as other big cities. This concept of no parking may work in cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, but their residents have the ability to rely on public transportation. Also, a large percentage of the population that lives downtown also works downtown in those cities. Studies show that this is not the case in Downtown San Diego. In our downtown, majority of people have and need a car.
Second, selling the parking spaces separately does not help affordability. Again, many San Diegans require a car, which then adds the expense of a parking space to the equation. Until the public transportation improves, this concept will only hurt the people it is meant to help.
This plan may hinder the feasibility of developers, like Bosa, from investing in Downtown San Diego. With the cap on the maximum number of parking spots, he may not be able to attract buyers that gravitate towards the luxury homes he is known for. If buyers aren’t able to find what they are looking for in downtown, they will go somewhere else. Whether that is a different city or choosing to stay in the suburbs, this diminishes the growth of Downtown. I understand the need for more affordable housing, which is why I agree with removing the requirement for parking, but enforcing a maximum is a mistake.