Interview with Auto Parkit CEO about bringing jobs to Valley

Christopher Alan believes his plan could bring up to 1,000 jobs to the Valley

Auto Park It CEO Christopher Alan announces plans for the company's move to Warren, on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Warren native Christopher Alan plans on building his Auto Parkit units on the old Delphi Packard property in Warren.

He believes this could bring up to 1,000 jobs to the Valley.

Auto Parkit makes modular parking garages where traditional parking is not realistic.

You drive it in, you exit, it scans to make sure you didn’t leave any children or anything else, picks the car up, rotates it 180 degrees so when you get it back you pull straight out, never have to back up. Completely secure. Call it from your apartment so by the time you come down the car is in the load bay already. [Alan’s father worked at Delphi and did construction on the side.] To make ends meet he used to remodel people’s houses and build cabinets and all that kind of stuff. So, from the time that I was old enough to hold the vacuum, he used to let me run the Shop-Vac, suck up all the saw dust. Then I got to pound the nail and he taught me how to cut. So I grew up around that and always loved that. I went down to South Florida and ended up working for developers down there, started doing tracks of 5,000 acres. We were doing golf courses, multi-family — meaning apartments or condos — would do the pads for the single family homes and then the retail, and then they’d turn it over to single family home builders. Then I went out to Southern California, my wife was doing a television show for Steven Spielberg … I met her down in South Florida. I went out to California and started working for a developer there and in short order went out and started my own company and started doing my own projects, did a lot of celebrity homes, that kind of stuff. Then that segued into doing some retail apartment buildings, that sort of thing, and then I started developing property and titling it for bigger and better use.”

Although Alan still plans on bringing part of his manufacturing operation to the plant in Warren, if it doesn’t work out he also bought land around the Warren area that could be an alternate site for the plant.

He began his business in Los Angeles.

I had a project directly across from Warner Brothers, best piece of property I’ll ever own, a thousand bucks a foot there for dirt. It’s kind of an odd shape, trapezoidal shape, site. So they gave me a great building, they gave me additional density to build a great building, but I couldn’t park it. In order to get 122 spaces I was going to have to go 12 levels deep with parking. So, you can imagine that would be a 150 foot deep hole and a 12,000 square foot site. That’s basically called a coal mine. So I flew all over trying to find an automated parking company who could sell me a system. So I just took my drawings, I flew all the way down to New Zealand to meet with a company. Met with everybody, the handful of companies that were out there, and nobody knew how to integrate it with my structural column grid, knew ingress and egress for fire life safety, knew shear values and how that was going to work, let alone the interface with your residential user versus your office user versus your retail user. And worse than that no one could tell me how they were going to support it long term. Not being that smart of guy myself, I thought, ‘Well, hell, how hard can it be? I’ll just do it myself.’ Well, of course, it’s ridiculously hard but you navigate that, you figure it out. And so we ended up, because of my political relationships there being a developer, we ended up working with the city of Los Angeles because Mayor Villaraigosa wanted to do an automated parking structure because of the environmental benefits, the planning benefits, you can park twice as many cars on half the amount of space, etc. So, they ended up giving us the dedication of one of my projects for the pilot program for a fully automated parking structures in Los Angeles. So we built the first fully automated parking structure in the history of Los Angeles. Well, everyone from the rest of the world comes to L.A., so it just took the company like this.”