Developers are copping the blame for one of the biggest irritations confronting car drivers: the rising cost of parking.
Cheap parking lots in the CBD, the city fringe and suburbs are being snapped up for apartment projects, and one unexpected impact is the cost of parking.
Research by Savills Australia shows the cost of corporate car parking in the inner eastern and south-eastern suburbs has more than doubled in the past five years.
The latest car park slated for erasure is 2-6 Bowen Crescent, off St Kilda Road, which has been conditionally purchased by an overseas developer for more than $20 million. The transaction, which still requires board approval by the purchaser, was negotiated by agents Dawkins Occhiuto and Lemon Baxter.
The six-level, 463-bay car park is on an 1821-square-metre site and was sold with a scheme designed by Elenberg Fraser for 233 apartments.
The Bowen Crescent transaction is the latest in a slew of deals that will remove even more parking from the city and its surrounds. While new parking spaces can be opened up where projects include office and retail developments, they become more expensive.
Savills’ Victorian head of research Glenn Lampard said a permanent reserved space in the inner-city cost about $90 a month in 2009 but has since blown out to anywhere between $170 and $220.
The cost of city parking has also increased - but only by 27 per cent – to about $700 a month from $550.
St Kilda Road parking rates had not changed, holding steady at between $240 and $300 a month, because there is plenty of parking built into the boulevard’s newer buildings.
The rise in parking costs also reflects the increase in population, which has put more cars on the road, Mr Lampard said.
"Historically, Melburnians have been lucky to have a plentiful supply of cheap parking on vacant allotments, but as the trend of developing infill sites increases, these parcels begin to dry up and the number of cheap parking spaces diminishes. Of course, that means greater demand for the fewer spaces remaining," Mr Lampard said.
The price of existing car parks is consequently rising. A car park at 300 Flinders Street fetched $40 million in January, raising the price per bay to just under $70,000 from about $50,000.
Listed Malaysian conglomerate PJ Development Holdings paid a record $145 million for a two-hectare car park site at 93-119 Kavanagh Street in Southbank in June. A mixed-use project with up to 3000 apartments is believed to be under consideration for the site.
In the inner north-western suburb of Moonee Ponds, a 1.34-hectare development site once earmarked for a multiplex cinema was used as a car park for more than 15 years. British cinema developer and operator Reading Entertainment sold the site to a joint venture between Leighton Properties and Qualitas for $23 million last October. They are planning a $450 million, mixed-use retail and apartment project.