New car park stacks to tower over HK

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 February, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 February, 1993, 12:00am

FED up with daily battles with other drivers for parking spaces? Are costs of retrieving your illegally parked vehicle mounting month by month? If so, relief may be close at hand.

Nissei Build Co, a Japanese enterprise who together with their Hongkong joint venture partners, Grove and Shaw Trading Co, have begun to market Tower Park, a fully automated stacking car park.

''Multi-storey car parks are dinosaurs,'' said Mr Darren Shaw, managing director of Nissei Build Hongkong Co.

''Nissei's system allows much more parking on small plots of land.'' Tower Park, usually a 30 metre structure, takes up an area not much larger than three parking spaces and can accommodate more than 50 vehicles. An integrated turn-table allows cars to be driven straight in and out of the tower, within which a high speed elevator moves vehicles through one at a time.

Nissei commissioned Mitsubishi Electric to develop the elevator system which parks and retrieves vehicles in a little over 90 seconds.

The system's additional benefits, said Mr Shaw, include no carbon monoxide build ups, as drivers switch off their engine at the tower's base. Security against theft, as access is restricted to one entrance and exit door. And a safety system which detectsif cars are correctly positioned on a pallet before they are moved.

A variety of control panels to retrieve cars are manufactured by the company from push button systems to key and card operated machines. In Japan, Tower Park is fully automated, but in Hongkong buyers of the system will employ staff, said Mr Shaw.

Since 1987 when Nissei began to sell their product within Japan, Tower Park has captured 33.8 per cent of the Japanese mechanised car parking market, according to Mr Jan Grove, director of Nissei Build Hongkong Co.

Mr Grove was convinced a similar market share can be achieved in Hongkong.

''The Hongkong Government said there would be 565,000 vehicles in the territory by 2001,'' Mr Grove said.

''Land prices and construction costs are increasing, so there is a great need for a mechanised system that stores cars efficiently on a small parcel of land.'' A 50-car Tower Park requires an investment of $8.5 million according to Mr Shaw, who said the initial capital cost was approximately equivalent to a multi-storey car park.

Car rack frames, automatic two-level open storage frames for cars often installed in traditional car parks, are also being marketed by Nissei.

While much of the equipment and technology of the parking systems will be imported from Japan, building material, construction and the manufacture of some parts of Tower Park will be carried out locally.

''Hongkong is the staging point for a push into the Southeast Asian car park market,'' said Mr Shaw.

''We hope to move manufacturing of the facility to the region in the future.''