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Urban Dwelling for Suburban Folk 3

A co-worker brought a new concept to my attention today. It’s a luxury condo that is planned to be built in Charlotte, North Carolina that includes an elevator where residents can drive their car literally right into their unit. The web site boasts that residents can park 2 to 4 cars in their unit so that they can “unload groceries right into your kitchen. Load up for a trip without any hassle. Avoid carts and dollies and the long walk from a typical parking garage”.

The units range from 3,000 square feet to 6,300 square feet with the 6300 square foot units taking up the entire floor. The 6300 square feet is the living space, and doesn’t include the 700 square foot, 4-car garage. The prices range from 1.7 million for the 3,000 square foot unit to $5 million for the 6300 square feet units. When designing the elevator capacity, they used a fully loaded H2 Hummer, so the elevator will support a 8,600lbs Hummer H2.

Here are some quotes about the car elevator system:

  • “The car elevator system provides the ultimate in privacy. If you so desire, you can live at Encore and never come across your neighbors. Just right drive into your home.”
  • A BMW dealer on the 95th floor of the world’s tallest building in Shanghai, China, uses this same elevator system”
  • “Travel time via elevator from the 1st to the 20th floor is less than one minute”

To me, this project symbolizes everything that is wrong with America. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. There are projects happening all over the world that encourage people to make more out of less and not live beyond their means and to reduce their ecological footprint. You see this happening in New York City, Germany, Japan, China, the UK, etc. But down in Carolina they’re encouraging people to a) be anti-social b) be lazy c) Own 4 SUVs d) Have more space then you’ll ever know what to do with.

Only in America would you ever see a condo floor plan that includes parking for 4 cars; it’s actually quite hysterical to me. The next idea will be a mobile bed where people won’t even have to get out of the bed. The bed will whisk them away to their work, then it will make a stop at Wal Mart, then to McDonalds before returning home. You wouldn’t even have to stand up!

Now that’s what I call the American dream!


3 thoughts on “Urban Dwelling for Suburban Folk

  1. Kam Jul 10,2008 6:08 pm

    Jim, I think you are contradicting yourself. Last week you were upset about urban sprawl. Today you discover a new condo development that seeks to curtail urban sprawl and at the same time address some of the biggest practical drawbacks with living in a hi-rise: space and loading and unloading the car. Yet you attack this as well.

    I look forward to the day I can re-visit your posts with you after you’ve raised a couple of kids in an 800sq.ft. shoe box with no car 🙂

  2. Jim Jul 10,2008 8:50 pm

    Kam, it may sound contradicting, but I don’t think it is. To me, the problems I’m concerned about are things like overconsumption, excessive waste, owning 4 cars, pollution, carbon output, etc. Forget about urban vs. suburban for a moment.

    The lifestyle that this “urban” building encourages just reflects the types of lifestyles that have gotten us into this problem in the first place.

    I don’t have kids. I do in fact own a car; I just drive it as little as possible. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t own a car, I’m just saying people should put a little more effort into reducing the things they do that are destroying the earth. I think people should walk more, bike more, take public transit.

    A parking garage for 4 SUVs and a 6,300 square foot unit is not something that is going to help. It’s just an excessive waste of resources.

    People can in fact live in the suburbs and still do things to reduce their footprint. Similarly, people can live in the city and still be more destructive to the earth than someone living in the burbs. The argument about urban sprawl is a different argument that relates to people wanting more space, not because they need it, but because they want it. Some people do in fact need more space. But those aren’t the people who have 4 bedrooms that are empty with 4 cars sitting in their driveway.

  3. Johnny Aug 11,2008 7:06 pm

    You’ve got to go see Wall-E, if you haven’t yet.

    It’s pretty much everything you said here, including and up to the mobile bed and gelatinous Americans.

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