An automated parking garage will be built in West Hollywood, behind City Hall, reported Patch.com. The structure, contracted through Unitronics, will be five stories tall and have room for 200 vehicles, up from the 68 spaces in the current City Hall surface lot. The City Council voted unanimously to build the structure, which will cost $16 million and be paid for using general fund reserves and bonds.

 

The structure will use motorized lifts, conveyors and shuttles to store and retrieve vehicles. Councilmember John Duran said the area needs more parking and some businesses suffer from lack of mid-city parking, like O-Bar, which closed in July 2011.

The automated garage in West Hollywood has been in the works for two years. Some questioned whether the technology would work as promised. Councilmember John D’Amico said the automated parking garage at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center in Santa Monica, which is pieced together from four different systems, has been closed most of the time since opening because of technical problems.

The automated parking garage is not a new concept. In fact, these garages have existed overseas for decades. America finally caught on in the early 2000s with the opening of the first fully automated garage in Hoboken, N.J. But Hoboken's garage was hammered by mechanical mishaps. In addition, strict building codes, wary developers and the recession have stalled automated parking projects in the U.S. in recent years.