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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 21, 2006

Downtown parking pricier

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Strong job growth means wages are rising for much of Hawai'i's working class, but so is the cost of parking for thousands who drive to downtown Honolulu for work.

The median monthly parking rate for a reserved stall in a downtown garage has surged $64 from a year ago to $299 the ninth-highest rate among 49 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to an annual mid-year survey by Colliers International.

The 27 percent increase was steep compared with a 4 percent average rise for all markets surveyed by Colliers, and is primarily being fueled by companies hiring more employees.

"With the increased employment, there's a lot more demand on parking, especially in downtown," said Mike Hamasu, research director of the local Colliers affiliate Colliers Monroe Friedlander.

Hamasu also said vacant Honolulu office space is at a 15-year low, and companies that used to have 200 square feet of space per employee during the mid-'90s now use 125 to 150 square feet per worker.

"We're cramming more employees into the same amount of space, resulting in, of course, increased demand for parking," he said.

Kathleen Orlowski, a mechanical designer in the downtown office of Arcadia Architecture, saw her monthly rent for reserved parking double about a year ago to $200 at Harbor Court.

"That was a big increase," she said. Considering that she pays less than most downtown parkers, Orlowski added: "I guess I should consider myself lucky."

Colliers said monthly rates for a reserved stall ranged from $170 to $340. The $299 median means half the spaces cost more and half cost less. The national median was $181.

For monthly parking in unassigned stalls in Honolulu, the median was $191, up 19 percent from $160 a year earlier. Prices ranged from $100 to $225.

Honolulu's median daily rate has been unchanged for the past three years at $30, which was fourth-highest among markets surveyed by Colliers. Traditionally, few people pay daily rates, which ranged from $21 to $48.

Some of the priciest parking in downtown Honolulu is at Harbor Court, Pacific Guardian Center, the Cades Schutte Building and Bishop Square all of which are Class A buildings with reserved monthly stall prices around $300 or more, according to Hamasu of Colliers.

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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