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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City parking spots garner top dollar

Charisse Jones USA Today

Has Dick Delaney got a deal for you. For roughly $25,000, you can purchase a piece of prime Chicago real estate — a parking space in the Field Harbor parking garage.

“We actually sold three stalls to a gentleman from London,” says Delaney, executive vice president of Mark Goodman & Associates, a real estate management and brokerage firm that represents the garage’s owner. “Most people can’t buy a $325,000 condominium, but you sure can buy a $25,000 parking space.”

With parking space at a premium in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and metropolises in between, drivers are paying six-figure sums for a slot in which to slip their cars.

In some instances, the would-be owner can take out a mortgage to buy the spot. There are deeds, condominium charges and taxes for this sliver of real estate, just like any other piece of property. Owners can even will spaces to their children.

In the past year, 120 of the Chicago garage’s 400 spaces have been sold.

A few decades ago, “parking was free, like air and water, and it was everywhere,” Delaney says. “Fast forward thirty years and you see every city is more dense… . Parking has become a big issue for people who want to own a car and still be in the city.”

At the Brimmer Street Garage on Boston’s tony Beacon Hill, a spot went on the market last month for $200,000. And that price may not be over the top considering that last August, a space there sold for $167,500, says Debra Taylor, president of LINK, a Boston real estate tracking service.

For roughly that price, “you can buy a studio apartment” in most Boston neighborhoods, says Michael Albano, managing partner of ERA Boston Real Estate Group .

“The motivation is `I need a space to put my Hummer or my Porsche,’ “Albano says. “Why would you pay that much for a parking space unless you have a really nice car and live in a really nice apartment in a really nice neighborhood? And that’s most people who live in Beacon Hill.”

In Lower Manhattan’s Grabler Building, where lofts sell for $1,295,000 to just less than $3 million, each of the 14 parking spots costs $169,000.

“I have to tell you that the parking places are as sought after as the lofts,” says Barrie Mandel of the Corcoran Group, a real estate firm. “People are enamored with the idea they can own a space in their own building.”

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