To open, Gwinn analyzed trends related to parking and millennials and said, “Parking is often a dull topic, but it’s one of the most important factors when we’re looking at a site for development,” which also factors into the recent decline in home ownership. “There is a rise in apartment living in dense urban areas. Commuter automotive traffic is suddenly declining and there is a rise of technology enabled transportation services, i.e. car-sharing, ride sharing, Uber, taxi, etc,” he said. Gwinn pointed out that in 2014 millennials surpassed the baby boomers in terms of the dominant population group within the country and are less included to own property but instead rent. “That’s a major shift!” he said.
Silliman Group’s work for the property management company of Mac Properties, LLC includes historic renovation and brand identity work, management of new construction, as well as general contracting of their designs in Chicago, St Louis and Kansas City.
The Shoreland, originally built in 1926, is an historic building on Hyde Park’s Promontory Point into Lake Michigan. The 1000-unit room hotel was a flagship property known for being a top hangout and temporary home for many of Chicago’s baseball players and Al Capone. Silliman Group suggested adding parking by creating an underground parking garage underneath the courtyard, saving several floors inside the building that a previous owner had planned to decimate to create parking.
The Silliman Group recently completed the City Hyde Park project at 51st Street, also known as Hyde Park Boulevard and Southlake Park with a unique parking problem given the building’s mixed use status including big box retail, smaller shops, 180 residential units, and only 350 parking space. Gwinn explained, “We focused on parking, how best to deal with parking, how best to right size the market demand and also the use of groups.” He added, “By working through the Planning Development process, the parking spaces were approved and we now have a shared parking structure in which there are unassigned areas that can be utilized by both residential dwellers and office users or daytime users.”
Silliman Group’s current project is in Kansas City and is a prefabricated project, which according to Gwinn is a new approach to building construction. The components are built in Nebraska, and shipped to Kansas City, and will take approximately two weeks to build 80 units.
Regarding the project’s parking, Gwinn said there will be 80 dwelling units with 28 parking stalls. There will also be off-site parking options across the street should the demand require it. Gwinn discussed how he and the rest of the team, “Worked with local authorities to get them comfortable with parking levels and also thinking about how we can give ourselves flexibility in case demands change and not overbuilding parking to the detriment of the project.”
Gwinn explained how technology and innovation is revolutionizing parking with applications such as Passport App, Spot Hero App all playing a role in supply and demand for parking. Gwinn also mentioned the Driverless car, commenting, "The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that over the next 35 years there will be a 65% increase in vehicle miles traveled due to self-driving cars. The question is, ‘Does that mean there will be a decline in car ownership or will people still put down $3000 deposit on a new model 3 tesla?’" Gwinn continued, “There’s clearly interest in this technology--clearly it will change how one’s commute could be. The commute will be functional- like riding the train. This is a real thing and it’s going to happen sooner than you think.”
In reference to the new Chicago Transit Oriented Development Reform Ordinance Gwinn said it is changing the environment of the city’s transit hubs. As proof he displayed a map from the Metropolitan Planning Commission displaying future development and noted how many of them are nearby transit options.
In response to a question about shared parking, Gwinn said that the city’s zoning department is starting to think different. He explained, “There’s a shift in the cooperative clauses…office users during the day and residential users at night…there’s more enthusiasm to do that on a case by case basis.” Gwinn concluded, “We always talk about how best to utilize the space. Valet parking increases the functional numbers of parking dramatically, from a self-park scenario. This works because there’s no mover ability requirements that are stipulated by zoning.