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Sustainable Parking Structure Will Have Santa Monica Motorists Seeing Green

By Jorge Casuso

March 28 -- Hoping to make history, Monica City officials unveiled what is likely the nation’s first sustainable solar-powered parking structure Tuesday.

The six-story, 882-space structure at the Civic Center features photovoltaic roof panels, a storm drain water treatment system, recycled construction materials and energy efficient mechanical systems.

The $29 million structure -- which sits near the entrance and exit ramps at the end of the 10 Freeway -- also features ground-floor retail, art works on every floor and sweeping city and ocean views.

“From the Santa Monica Mountains to Catalina Island, these parking spaces have the best view in town,” Council memebr Kevin McKeown told the crowd gathered on the top floor, as a cold wind swept in from the white-capped ocean a few blocks away.

New solar-powered parking garage. (Photos by Wendi Marafino)

City officials hope the 290,000-square-foot-garage will become the nation’s first parking structure certified by the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The structure’s photovoltaic panels -- which cost $1.5 million -- will pay for themselves in 17 years by generating $90,000 a year in electricity,” said Craig Perkins, director of Environmental and Public Works Management for the City.

“The energy savings will continue for years to come,” Perkins said.

“The amount of power it will generate is truly significant,” said McKeown, who with Council member Bob Holbrook hit the ceremonial switch that turned the power on.

The structure will add to the City’s reputation as a leader in sustainable architecture, City officials said.

“There seems to be a great deal of pride,” Holbrook said. “We lead the world in LEED certified buildings per capita.”

“In my 32 years in the business, I’ve never seen a parking structure quite like this,” said Mark Thurman, vice president of ARB Inc., the construction company that built the project designed by International Parking Design, Inc with Moore, Ruble, Yudell.

The parking garage will provide much-need spaces when the City embarks on an ambitious project to retrofit and replace the six aging public parking structures Downtown, part of an $180 million plan to add 1,712 parking spaces over the next ten years, City officials said.

It also paves the way for the development of the Civic Center, which is mostly covered with surface parking lots, officials said.

A plan approved by the City Council in June 2005 calls for some 325 new housing units, approximately 13 acres of new parks and an extension of Olympic Drive to Ocean Avenue. It also includes an early childhood development center, an annex to the Civic Auditorium and 100,000 square feet of additional space for City services.

“This construction is the beginning of a much larger process,” McKeown said. “The parking structure is a magnificent start.”


"The energy savings will continue for years to come.” Craig Perkins



“In my 32 years in the business, I’ve never seen a parking structure quite like this.” Mark Thurman


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