Rules & repairs for Southbridge garage
Southbridge Towers residents who park their car in the complex’s garage noticed some changes this month when a new garage operator took over, and more changes are coming.
Before Icon Parking Systems started managing the garage at the beginning of February, Southbridge residents were able to park as many cars as they wanted at the preferential rate of $68 a month. Now, only the first car per apartment will get that rate, while the second car will pay a doubled rate and any additional cars will pay market value for the spot, or hundreds of dollars.
One reason the Southbridge board of directors picked Icon to manage the garage over former operator Chelnik Parking Co. is that the garage, with about 650 spaces, has been deteriorating over the past few decades. Wally Dimson, president of the board, said the board recently made $60,000 of temporary repairs just to ensure the garage would stay standing through the winter.
Soon, Icon will begin more comprehensive repairs, which will cost $3 million and will force large sections of the Pearl St. and Gold St. garages to close. Residents will still be able to park there during the work but may have to use valet service to get their cars and may not be able to go from the garages directly into Southbridge, as they do now, Dimson said. He expects the work to start very soon.
Some residents have noticed more parking staff in the garages over the past month, partly because Icon is trying to ensure that everyone receiving the preferential resident rate is actually a resident. Dimson said he is glad Icon appears more hands-on than Chelnik, although a few residents have complained.
Chelnik was supposed to leave Southbridge at the beginning of 2009 after losing the contract to Icon, but Chelnik stalled with legal action, saying the bidding process was unfair, Dimson said. The board ultimately settled the case with Chelnik, which finally allowed Icon to take over. Icon, which signed a 20-year lease, is covering the full cost of the garage repairs.
— Julie Shapiro