Wednesday, 25 August 2010

New Manhattan Skyscraper - 15 Penn Plaza and parking requirements

A concern of planners and communities everywhere is: if you build it, where will they park?  The New York City City Council just approved a new skyscraper near the Empire State Building at 15 Penn Plaza.  The new building will be 67 or 68 stories high and 1,190 or 1,216 feet tall.  It is adjacent to Penn Station, and the developer will invest $100 million in the transit hub.  For this, the developer (office REIT Vornado) gets a 20% density bonus, boosting the FAR from 15 to 18.

But where will the people park?  Simply put, they won't.  Looking into the environmental impact documents, I found that there are two potential configurations for the building.  As a single-tenant building, it would have 2.04 million square feet of office space, 11,126 square feet of retail space, and up to 100 parking spots.  As a multi-tenant building, it would have 1.756 million square feet of office, 296,390 square feet of retail, and no parking at all!

I wondered what this building would be like in the Nations second-biggest city, Los Angeles.  How many parking spaces would be required?  Well, according to code the building would need a minimum of:
In single-tenant configuration: 4,125 spaces
In multi-tenant configuration: 4,698 spaces

If the retail included restaurants, even more spaces would be required.

15 Penn Plaza is on a 60,000 square foot lot.  Given this limited footprint, I wondered how many floors of the hypothetical Los Angeles building would need to be devoted to parking.  The single-tenant configuration would require 23 floors, while the multi-tenant building would require 26 floors, or roughly twice as tall as the garage at 1100 Wilshire (pictured below):

Yes, this is an actual building in downtown Los Angeles.  And yes, there is a sign for a surface parking lot in the foreground.