tp-cgy-parkade01

An automated parkade like this one might eventually grace a stretch of Seventh Avenue S.W. ((CBC))

A high-tech parkade is being proposed for downtown Calgary.

The unmanned, fully automated parkade could offset the costs of restoring a group of rundown historical buildings along Seventh Avenue S.W., says Neil Richardson, president of Calgary's Heritage Property Corporation.

"You pull into a garage door, you get out, the garage door closes. Thirty to 40 seconds later, the garage door opens, and your car is gone," said Richardson, describing the system to CBC News.

The parkade would use computer technology and lifts to spirit away a vehicle into one of up to 360 spots in the glass and steel structure.

It would be the first automated parkade of its kind in Canada, Richardson said, although the model has been used for years in Europe and Asia.

Richardson wants to turn the area along Seventh Avenue and First Street S.W. into an arts and cultural centre.

To do that, he's looking for investors to donate a minimum of $30,000 each toward the overall goal of $40 million.

"When the parkade is open, we expect it to generate seven to eight per cent cash return to the investors ... but there also is the right to participate in whatever future development will occur above the parkade," Richardson said.

The project still needs city approval, and, if given the green light, construction is at least one year away.