There’s a hot new trend in apartments, and it’s all about what buyers and tenants don’t get – car parking.
More and more high and medium density apartments are acting on the transit-oriented development ethos and actively promoting the use of nearby public transport by not providing car parks for many or, in some rare cases, any of the apartments. In exchange, some are offering scooter or motorbike parking, in addition to bicycle spaces, and others are even throwing in a free Vespa for buyers or providing a car-sharing service.
- See our article Parking could be optional for some apartments near rail
In Melbourne, it is not mandatory for all apartments in a development to be provided with car spaces. According to City of Melbourne, planning scheme amendment C133, which came into effect in 2010 and applies to Carlton, Southbank and parts of North Melbourne, West Melbourne and East Melbourne, allows the provision of zero on-site car parking spaces and places a discretionary limit of one car parking space per dwelling for developments over four storeys.
The council’s website states: “Through a demographic and accessibility analysis undertaken by Ratio Consultants for the City of Melbourne, it was determined that the areas affected by Amendment C133 are equally suitable for such a maximum car parking rate. The affected areas have excellent accessibility to public transport and other facilities.
“Car parking spaces add considerably to the cost of new dwellings. This amendment responds to the market demand for dwellings with no or minimal parking.
“This amendment to the Melbourne Planning Scheme aims to enable lower levels of on-site parking for new developments that have excellent access to public transport and goods and services. In some cases this could mean some new developments do not allocate any on-site car spaces for dwellings.”
Developers of some of Melbourne’s massive new tower projects have taken the minimal parking mantra onboard, with a number of mega-tall apartments offering no car parking for one-bedroom and sometimes also a proportion of the two-bedroom apartments.
The numbers speak for themselves:
- Mammoth Empire’s MY 80 Silver Skies on Elizabeth Street – 486 apartments, only 150 car spaces
- Mammoth Empire’s Empire Melbourne on Elizabeth St – 465 apartments, 96 car spaces and 76 bike spaces
- PDG and Schiavello’s Abode 318 on Russel St – 433 apartments, 150 bike racks, car share system
- ICD Property’s Eq. Tower on A’Beckett St – 632 apartments, 212 car spaces, 212 bike spaces
- Apex Vic’s 256-260 City Road Southbank – 439 apartments, 99 car spaces, 160 bike spaces
Outside the CBD itself, the 168-unit Ella in South Yarra by Spec Property Group offered about 20 one-bedroom apartments with scooter parking instead of car parking, and sweetened the deal by giving buyers a free Vespa.
The free Vespa was also a tactic used by Serra Property Group for its 38 High Street Toowong project, which had about 10 one-bedroom apartments sold without regular carparking but with a scooter park, the scooter, plus 12 months scooter registration and the helmet as well.
The project is located in a public transport hub, and that means residents don’t need a car, according to Bruce Goddard, a spokesman for Place Projects, who marketed the development.
“It epitomises the concept of inner-city living which council is advocating, and more and more people are gravitating towards,” Mr Goddard said.
“There are a multitude of public transport options, with a bus stop just 10 metres away, the Toowong train station 50 metres away and the CityCat located 500 metres away, and being an inner city suburb, situated only a few kilometres from the CBD, it’s very easy to get around.”
The City of Port Phillip in Melbourne also has its own sustainable parking policy.
The sustainable parking demand rate ranges for residential and office land uses:
- Residential land uses: 0-0.8 car parking spaces per one bedroom dwelling and one space per three or more bedroom dwelling
- Office land uses: 2-3 spaces per 100 square metres for unshared parking, and 2-2.8 spaces per 100 sq m for shared parking
The policy takes into account proximity to public transport and activity centres, participation in car share programs, and contributions to sustainable transport infrastructure when considering reduced rates of parking.
A medium-density Adelaide project named after the scooters and completed in 2011, Vespa Apartments in Storr Street, was an early adopter of the no car park trend. Located 100m away from a bus station and 500m from the CBD, the seven apartments of the complex were provided only with motorbike parking.
Vespa was one of two no-car projects showcased in the Council of SEQ Mayors Portfolio of Leading Practice Medium Density Housing Design. The other, Brisbane Housing Corporation’s Oxenham Apartments in Nundah, Brisbane, comprises 67 apartments, and no private car parking whatsoever. The apartments are an affordable housing development and located 400m to both train and bus stops.
Australand is also adding the concept to its sustainability suite at Discovery Point on the southern fringe of inner-city Sydney. Many of the apartments have no parking, and Domain reported that all of those apartments sold out quickly, as more buyers look to utilise public transport, cycling, and car share arrangements instead of paying the additional premium car parking adds to the price of an apartment.
Australand has also announced that car sharing company GoGet will have several vehicles based at the development.
This is part of the approach Frasers Property and Sekisui House have taken at One Central Park, with more than half of more than 1000 apartments sold at the development without car parking, and Sydney’s largest car share pod established on site.