A $19 million garage in Saint John is sitting almost empty a month after it opened.

The uptown area is bustling with Christmas shoppers, but they’re not parking in the multi-coloured, seven-storey garage.

Snowbanks are blocking many street spaces and bright signs advertise that the new garage is open, but few drivers venture inside.

The CBC recently visited and found 13 cars scattered throughout the structure’s 446 spaces. On most days, it is 97 per cent empty.

Too big, too far from shops

Gerry Lowe is a city councillor and business owner. He says the garage is too isolated to appeal to shoppers or office workers and was always too big and expensive to work.

"I think it was $18 or $19 million for 450 spots. You're talking $40,000 to $50,000 per spot. It’ll take a long time to get that money back,” he said. “It’s definitely not in the right place.”

The city plans a promotion for the garage in the new year and has developed deals for snow days. It expects business to pick up over time.