New North Park apartment complex backtracks on limited parking spots due to demand

"We are finding that about 65% of our clientele have cars," Casa Verde developer George Champion said

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In hopes of achieving a more car-free San Diego, a new apartment complex in North Park was only offering 13 parking spots to its renters. That was the plan until developer George Champion analyzed the statistics.

"A lot of younger Generation X, 25 to 35 — which are primarily the tenants that are renting — don't have cars. They use Uber primarily," Champion told NBC 7. "But we are finding that about 65% of our clientele have cars."

Casa Verde has a total of 94 housing units, with 11 being one-bedroom apartments and 83 being studios. The project also has a 3,000-square-foot restaurant underneath the units.

As the apartments were hitting the market, Champion reserved and paid for 80 additional spots at the nearby North Park Parking Garage due to demand.

This project and other similar ones with limited parking are possible because the city of San Diego eliminated many parking requirements for new developments.

Public transit advocates like Colin Parent are excited about the idea of more apartment buildings with fewer parking spaces.

"It means it's a new opportunity for people to live in a vibrant neighborhood like North Park, where there's a lot of existing amenities for getting around like bike lanes and robust transit services," Parent, the CEO of Circulate San Diego, an organization trying to advance mobility in the region, said.

But some North Park residents are not on board.

"This has been a controversial building to come in the heart of North Park. It is massive. You can see it everywhere, and it is out of place in the neighborhood with its size and lack of parking," Eleni Psyllos, who lives in North Park, said.

Psyllos says the concept needs more time and consideration before being implemented.

"I do think it's counterproductive at this juncture to have the small amount of parking," Psyllos said. "I would love to have a carless society in the future, but we are not there yet."

Advocates for projects like Casa Verde say these developments are needed to help the city's ongoing housing crisis. San Diego is only producing one-third of the city's housing needs per year, according to the San Diego Housing Commission.

Are apartment buildings with a handful of parking spaces the future of urban housing in San Diego? NBC 7's Kelvin Henry explains.
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