In light of recent discussions about parking in downtown Edmonds, we offer this commentary from Edmonds resident Darrol Haug, who is a member of the Edmonds Citizens Economic Development Commission but is sharing his views as a private citizen.
The City of Edmonds approved a nine-unit development in downtown that does not have on-site parking. The original city code was intended to allow for smaller building developments instead of assembling multiple properties to combining into a larger development. Some have complained that such a development is not what Edmonds wants but here are some of the detailed estimates of the impact of nine units with no parking or six units with on-site parking. These estimates were created using Snohomish County tax records and building cost estimates from a recent city study of 5 Corners.
The building cost for a unit will be about $200,000. The land value must be spread across the build units so if the land value is in the $800,000 range then with nine units the land cost for each is about $90,000 making a total unit cost of $290,000. Spreading the $800,000 across six units will make the land cost for each of about $130,000 or a total cost of $330,000. The added $40,000 per unit will add to the rent to make the project pencil out. So, we would get three less units and the cost per unit will be greater. This scenario doesn’t help the affordability issue. If only six units are built, the developer may well charge a renter for parking, further complicating affordability.
Let’s look at parking. We will eventually come to an understanding that we can no longer give away the value of a parking space. It’s free for three hours at a time in downtown Edmonds and we have below-market rates for selected people. Employee permits now number 531 and represent a cost of about 25 cents/day. We have 410 residential parking permits in three zones that represent a cost of about 7 cents a day.
It turns out the area with the nine-unit building has the lowest number of residential parking permits. The blue zone has 178, the yellow zone has 164, and the red zone has 68. Garage parking cost about $40,000 per stall to build. The new apartment project at Westgate is paying $49,000 per stall for their underground stalls. The daily cost of a stall amortized over 20 years is more than $10/day. We give it away for three-hour increments, charge 25 cents for employees, and 7 cents for residents.
When we finally put a price on a parking stall that reflects the cost or the market value, the market will work itself out. A builder would have to charge for parking in some fashion and a Google search showed the range of up to $300/month. That’s about the cost to amortize a parking stall in a garage!
The bottom line is, someday we will have parking fees that reflect the market value or cost, and these rates could be a benefit for city revenues. But in the future when we have set into motion market rate pricing of parking, we would love to have a builder “buy” or “rent” a stall from the city.
— By Darrol Haug