For every condo high-rise that goes up, a parking garage does down. Several levels usually. But in many of the downtown towers, especially along Queen’s Quay, not all the young and eligibles who live there have cars. Some simply don’t need them, others have made a conscious decision, whether financially or ecologically based, not to have one, says a resident who wishes to remain anonymous because she’s in breach of her condo agreement.
“When I bought my apartment, I signed up for the optional parking space, too,” she says. “Just in case I ever needed it. Now I rent it out by the month to a commuter from the ‘burbs. Lots of people I know are doing the same thing. It’s all done by word of mouth. Sort of a real underground economy! It helps with the mortgage, and the car owners love it because we don’t charge as much as a regular parking garage. But we’re not supposed to do it.”
Parking has always been a profitable sideline for those who have it, even if it’s a single space. Walk along any residential street close to downtown and you’re likely to see hand-lettered signs offering parking or garage space for one or two cars. In the grand scheme of things, the money that changes hands is negligible.
All the same, there are signs that organized entrepreneurship is moving in. To wit, this particular sign at Bellwoods Avenue and Robinson Street, just off Queen West. Note the “905” phone number. “Yorkwestdevelopments.ca,” it also says. “By appointment only. Please do not disturb the tenants.” Vaughan-based York/West Developments, according to the company’s website, “currently represent over 120 personally inspected and managed apartment rental properties throughout the GTA.” That’s not restricted to condos; it includes duplex and triplex housing. And, it would seem, their parking.
Photo by Bill Taylor/Torontoist