By Jorge Casuso
March 28 -- Hoping to make history, Monica City
officials unveiled what is likely the nation’s first
sustainable solar-powered parking structure Tuesday.
The six-story, 882-space structure at the Civic Center features
photovoltaic roof panels, a storm drain water treatment system,
recycled construction materials and energy efficient mechanical
The $29 million structure -- which sits near the entrance
and exit ramps at the end of the 10 Freeway -- also features
ground-floor retail, art works on every floor and sweeping
city and ocean views.
“From the Santa Monica Mountains to Catalina Island,
these parking spaces have the best view in town,” Council
memebr Kevin McKeown told the crowd gathered on the top floor,
as a cold wind swept in from the white-capped ocean a few
|New solar-powered parking
garage. (Photos by Wendi Marafino)
City officials hope the 290,000-square-foot-garage will become
the nation’s first parking structure certified by the
U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental
The structure’s photovoltaic panels -- which cost $1.5
million -- will pay for themselves in 17 years by generating
$90,000 a year in electricity,” said Craig Perkins,
director of Environmental and Public Works Management for
“The energy savings will continue for years to come,”
“The amount of power it will generate is truly significant,”
said McKeown, who with Council member Bob Holbrook hit the
ceremonial switch that turned the power on.
The structure will add to the City’s reputation as
a leader in sustainable architecture, City officials said.
“There seems to be a great deal of pride,” Holbrook
said. “We lead the world in LEED certified buildings
“In my 32 years in the business, I’ve never seen
a parking structure quite like this,” said Mark Thurman,
vice president of ARB Inc., the construction company that
built the project designed by International Parking Design,
Inc with Moore, Ruble, Yudell.
The parking garage will provide much-need spaces when the
City embarks on an ambitious project to retrofit and replace
the six aging public parking structures Downtown, part of
an $180 million plan to add 1,712 parking spaces over the
next ten years, City officials said.
It also paves the way for the development of the Civic Center,
which is mostly covered with surface parking lots, officials
A plan approved by the City Council in June 2005 calls for
some 325 new housing units, approximately 13 acres of new
parks and an extension of Olympic Drive to Ocean Avenue. It
also includes an early childhood development center, an annex
to the Civic Auditorium and 100,000 square feet of additional
space for City services.
“This construction is the beginning of a much larger
process,” McKeown said. “The parking structure
is a magnificent start.”