WeHo Celebrates Automated Garage Opening on May 24

WeHo's automated garage as viewed from Sweetzer Avenue.
WeHo’s automated garage as viewed from Sweetzer Avenue. (Photo by Jon Viscott, courtesy City of West Hollywood)

The City of West Hollywood will host a grand opening on May 24 to mark the completion of the automated garage and community plaza behind City Hall.

The celebration will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer. It will feature comments from members of the West Hollywood City Council at 6:15 p.m., and representatives from the design and construction firms who worked on the $18 million project will be in attendance. Refreshments, including food from restaurants in the Center City, will be served, and there will be a music mix by DJ Derek Monteiro.

The celebration will include hosted tours of the garage exterior with groups of event attendees entering the parking bays to view artist murals located within them. To ensure a safe environment, event parking will be available at the Kings Road parking structure, located at 8383 Santa Monica Blvd. at Kings, two blocks west of City Hall.

“We’re very excited about the completion of the Automated Garage,” said West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “The garage is located in an area of the city that has been in need of additional parking, and this garage will help to fill that need. The technology is amazing — and kind of fun, too! I drove in facing one way, but my car came out facing the other way … how does it know?!”

The automated garage, often referred to as the “robo garage,” requires a much smaller physical footprint than would a conventional parking structure with a similar capacity. The space savings nets more than 7,000 square feet for a community plaza and an entry service area that will be used for community events.

“I’m excited about the opening of our newest parking structure,” said Councilmember John Heilman. “The innovative technology allows us to provide more parking than we would get with a standard parking structure. I look forward to it being replicated elsewhere.”

The automated garage community plaza
The automated garage community plaza. (Photo by Jon Viscott courtesy of City of West Hollywood)

The city broke ground on the project in March 2014 and construction was finished this Spring. It is the first municipal project of its kind on the West Coast and it includes a 200-space parking garage that matches the height of the city’s three-story City Hall building.

There is less tailpipe pollution than a conventional garage. With no idling or circling or searches for available spots, the predicted reduction in CO2 emissions for the project is equal to taking 92 cars off of the road each year or planting 67,000 trees.

The automated garage contains four bays for entry and exit. Each bay features a hand-painted mural by artists including Art of Chase, MONCHO1929, Bronwyn Lundberg and Kim West. The garage features a large glass pane facing east toward Sweetzer Avenue where people can watch as mechanical shuttles carry vehicles in and out of bays. The window includes a fixed-art installation by renowned public artist Ned Kahn, with a grid of large clear marbles that reflect moving parts inside the garage. The structure also contains roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels, features the use of a sustainable material made from recycled grocery bags, and uses drought-tolerant landscaping.

The community plaza, which is a park-like space with trees, built-in benches and a water feature, contains a stage for community events, concerts and readings. The plaza holds a large-scale triptych art-banner installation, which is a collaboration of artist MONCHO1929 and West Hollywood City Poet Steven Reigns.

A car in the automated parking garage elevator
A car in the automated parking garage elevator. (Photo by Jon Viscott courtesy of City of West Hollywood).

“It’s a clean, green, parking machine,” said Councilmember John D’Amico, “Once again, WeHo brings technology and convenience to our way of life, expanding parking options for our residents, neighborhood businesses, and City Hall visitors.”

“I heard from many residents and businesses that there was no parking in Midcity. But, demolishing existing businesses to build a parking lot wasn’t an option,” said Councilmember John Duran. “So we researched innovative ideas in European cities with limited land and realized a robotic garage without ramping would create 200 parking spaces. This perfectly complements the concept of a theater district in Midcity.”

“Once again, the Creative City takes the lead in innovation on an issue critical to everyone in West Hollywood — parking,” said Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath. “We are thrilled to provide this much-needed resource for the benefit of all.”

The automated garage was designed by LPA, Inc., a sustainable design architecture firm, which has completed numerous award-winning public and private buildings throughout Southern California. The mechanical system that stores and retrieves vehicles was designed by Unitronics, an international leader in automated parking systems. The structure was built by T.B. Penick & Sons Inc., a San Diego-based contractor that has built numerous parking structures, and private and municipal buildings around Southern California.

Specific information about the West Hollywood City Hall automated garage and community plaza project is available online. An album of downloadable photographs is posted on the City of West Hollywood’s Flickr page.

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Shawn Thompson
4 years ago

I have to say to use the word Celebrates is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. There was no celebration by the residents. No huge crowds. No residents start struck by this 18 million dollar use of city resources. In the end as well as you can see in this thread the voices from the community are not celebrating this project.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
4 years ago

The council member comments are sounding rather defensive. If the city had truly “researched innovative ideas in European cities” they surely could not have missed the concept of decreasing infrastructure for cars while increasing the infrastructure for walking, biking and public transportation. One cannot increase urban density while keeping the suburban mindset of everyone going everywhere by car. As someone rightly points out above, the claim that this parking garage reduces carbon emissions is rather absurd when looking at the entire picture. This project was presented to the public at a cost of $12 million and included a feature called… Read more »

Ismybosslooking
Ismybosslooking
4 years ago

It would be really nice if the city would extend permit parking restrictions to those of us without such protection . We’ve tried , but because we have 2 or 3 city owned/sponsored buildings on our street that include HIV housing, low income and seniors they refuse to sign the petitions. Many speak Russian only and do not trust anyone , many are older and do not have cars or my favorite from the HIV housing is, “well, we HAVE guest parking.” It was my understanding that the entire street N and S had to be together ,but amazingly the… Read more »

stvr
stvr
4 years ago

“the predicted reduction in CO2 emissions for the project is equal to taking 92 cars off of the road each year or planting 67,000 trees.”

YOU CANT SAVE CARBON EMISSIONS BY BUILDING PARKING GARAGES BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE TO DRIVE TO THEM.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
4 years ago

The Council should be thrown out of office for this total waste of city funds.

JY
JY
4 years ago

Perhaps this garage is a mistake; time will tell. But for those who can’t put a complete thought together in a sentence: Get some therapy, get off the crack, and take a grammar class.

LOVE NO HATE
4 years ago

THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER. This parking garage, is just one of the “cancer” symptoms we dealing in WEHO. it’s so much more then this, start with PEOPLE PRIDE, and i don’t mean LA PR$DE. Our elected leaders, are all about they title, media, all about “looking good” and be political correct”. just like the country that i love so much, AMERICA. one of the biggest mistake we do in West Hollywood, We give our city manger, our council member too much credit, we make them our “stars”, give me a break. we… Read more »

Shawn Thompson
4 years ago

Whos idea was it that we needed the mega million dollar expense for the citizens?
How was it decided who got to build this?
How was it decided who gets to long term contract to run this?
This is full of so much pork and barrel back room hook-ups for friends of the friends in power in #weho its just such a monument to #weho democracy broken in 2016 into a greed machine

Wehoan
Wehoan
4 years ago

Many cars today have their anti-theft alarms triggered when the car is towed, or otherwise moved when the car is locked and armed. I wonder how the garage gets around this, otherwise it would be a maddening cacophony of sirens and honking alarms. If they recommend that the motorist leave the car unlocked, is the city liable for theft of items because they told the motorist to not lock their vehicle? I’m interested in this most of all.

Linda on Sweetzer
Linda on Sweetzer
4 years ago

Hi, so the construction costs alone are $90,000 per spot? Or if it is really just adding 120 new spots then $150,000 per new spot? I’d like to see some comps on how this compares to other parking construction around LA. And, why the mystery of what it will cost to park there? I live on Sweetzer and I hope that all the staff and patrons of Hamburger Mary’s and Beach Nation will now start parking here instead of in front of my home (just below the cutoff for SP parking) but I don’t see why they will.

luca d
luca d
4 years ago

well it has certainly taken long enough to open. what a waste of 18 million.
how could this garage possibly justify it’s cost, it won’t and is simply an ego driven toy.
i suspect this will become known as the robo-debacle.

Dan Morin
Dan Morin
4 years ago

Will we at least see a demonstration of cars entering and exiting the robo? It would seem appropriate but is there a fear that a snafu could occur? Hmmmm…