BY JON CRONIN
The Parking Spot, a long-term parking conglomerate focusing on frequent flyers will be opening one of their signature lots at 102-05 Ditmars Boulevard on the east side of the Marriott Hotel property next to LaGuardia Airport.
John Lyons, senior vice president of development for The Parking Spot, said they had their eye on that location for almost a decade and when the ownership of the Marriott changed hands three years ago, they began their discussion for the project.
The Parking Spot, based out of Chicago, owns 38 parking facilities and 21 near airports around the country, a number that makes them twice as big as their closest competitor. Their focus, Lyons noted, is to provide the same kind of high end service that hotels like the Marriott and Hyatt provide to travelers.
“Flyers are the most important metric to us,” he said, “LaGuardia has a dramatic lack of parking.”
“Next to the Marriott is a terrific location,” said Lyons. The lot will be located immediately east of the hotel on the property.
He added, five to eight years ago, 60 percent of LaGuardia’s travelers were just flying out on business, now that percentage has flipped and it increases the use of long-term parking. Another factor that adds to parking needs is that fact that 750 people a day use LaGuardia as their point of origin, in other words they are not flying in to catch a connecting flight. He noted that nationally that number is usually around two hundred.
In a survey conducted by Manhattan public relations firm The Parkside Group, which surveyed 600 air-travelers in the metro-area over five days in late August, 43 percent of those rated LaGuardia as a below-average transportation hub and 66 percent would like to see parking capabilities expanded as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s redesign.
The Marriott’s lot will be demolished and the new 420 parking lot will replace it. A new 1,775 public long-term spaces will also be constructed for LaGuardia customers and feature significant landscaping between it and Ditmars Boulevard.
The Parking Spot hopes to curtail the overuse of the airport’s current high utilization of its existing long-term parking lots, which will be reduced once redevelopment begins. Currently, the airport has one parking spot for every 700 passengers.
Lyons noted that because the lot is long-term, it will generate significantly less traffic than a typical parking garage. It their estimations, the lot’s customers will keep their car on premises for an average of four days.
He said civic leaders worried there would be an increase in traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods, but Lyons said there will be a decrease with the additions of this long-term lot because there will be less demand for taxi and car services, which have plagued the LaGuardia neighborhoods.
While working with the community, he said plans were reworked so cars leaving the facility could only make a right turn onto Ditmars Boulevard and not go left toward the residential neighborhood.
Thomas J. Grech, executive director of Queens Chamber of Commerce said of the project, “Traveling to LaGuardia Airport continues to become harder for residents, businesses and entrepreneurs alike. More needs to be done to support Queens’ growth as a destination borough for business and tourism. The Parking Spot’s proposed development will generate millions in economic activity, a stronger tax base, and will create good jobs for Queens residents. The City should approve their proposal.”
This project is beginning the ULURP process, which will bring the project to a vote over the next few months among the local community boards surrounding LaGuardia Airport and East Elmhurst.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin