THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
by Roger Showley
San Diego’s first-ever robotic parking garage is heading downtown in an innovative project given design approval Wednesday by Civic San Diego.
The 150-unit, 28-story apartment project at India and Beech streets, expected to win final board approval Nov. 16, is a development of San Francisco-based Forge Land Co, headed by Richard Hannum, and designed by Kwan-Henmi Architecture Planning.
The 155-parking spaces would be located in what Hannum describes as something like an Erector set built inside the first three floors. Users’ cars would be automatically lifted into cage-like units, thus saving height and circulation space.
“We’re taking a risk but if we succeed, we’re reducing the risk for all others,” Hannum said.
CivicSD directors praised the project for this innovation as well as several others.
“I love the mechanical parking,” said director Ted Shaw. “I really hope that’s successful because we’re heard so many times that it won’t work.”
Unlike most downtown apartment projects, Hannum also is planning to include eight affordable rental units onsite with an additional five covered by inclusionary fees.
Hannum said construction is expected to begin by late next year or early in 2018 and be completed 22 months later. He estimated the construction cost at about $60 million.
An art installation of metal mesh on the lower floors would recall Little Italy’s heritage as a residential zone for fishermen active a century ago.