Culver City Edition

Helms complex opens new parking structure

CULVER CITY — Helms Bakery and AutoParkIt unveiled the region’s largest fully automated parking structure March 10.

The grand opening ceremony was attended by civic leaders from Los Angeles, Culver City, Beverly Hills, the state of California, and as far away as Ohio.

Together, Helms Bakery and AutoParkIt are working to alleviate the stress of parking by building an automated parking facility for tenants and employees of the Helms Bakery campus that is cost-effective, versatile, safe, secure, space efficient, user- and maintenance-friendly and environmentally sound. Additionally, the parking structure allows patrons of the campus to have ample, free ground level parking in various parking lots.

“The construction of the fully automated parking garage exemplifies Helms Bakery as a leader in civic mindedness with an eye to technological advances and innovations,” said Wally Marks, president of Walter N. Marks Inc. and owner of the Helms Bakery property. “Someone had to step forward, take a chance and create the first large-scale automated parking system, prove that it can be done, done well and effective, and still be architecturally important. We are thrilled to be working with AutoParkIt to debut our shared vision with the community.”

“What we have behind us today  not only is it special but it is a work of art,” said Herb Wesson, president of the Los Angeles City Council. “I believe that this is going to be the wave of the future in the city of Los Angeles where we have to be smart on how we use space. I can’t think of a better city to partner with than Culver City.”

Located on the southeast corner of the Helms campus, the five-level structure has space for 247 vehicles, 100 percent more capacity than a traditional parking garage of the same size, and frees up additional parking for visitors.

Drivers call for their vehicle utilizing a “Key Fob” system and wait in a well-lit, clean, dry and highly visible lobby. The cars are delivered to their owners between 40 and 120 seconds by the orchestration of API equipment to a load bay, which is a secure single stall garage at grade.

“We are excited to unveil our newest parking structure at Helms Bakery where tenants and employees can enjoy the benefits of a fully automated parking structure,” said Christopher Alan, founder and CEO of AutoParkIt. “Henry Ford introduced the assembly line back in 1913. So why has it taken us over 100 years to automate our parking structures? AutoParkit’s inaugural commercial system was introduced in Los Angeles in 2013. Helms Bakery, the largest fully automated parking structure in LA, has now opened and we remain dedicated to usher in the future of parking in Los Angeles and worldwide.”

Now a mecca of modern furniture and design, Helms Bakery District boasts a rich and flavorful past. First opening its doors in 1931, family-owned and operated Helms Bakery supplied local residents with fresh-baked bread delivered daily at their door for more than four decades.

While no longer in the business of baked goods, the Helms Bakery building remains a cherished local landmark, recognized for its architectural significance and its adaptive reuse.

Since purchasing the building in 1972, Walter N. Marks, Inc. — another family venture — has restored the historic structures and its famous Helms Bakery rooftop sign, making it a center for home furnishings and the arts.

AutoParkit is designed, manufactured, and constructed by Dasher Lawless Automation, a Los Angeles-based firm. The fully automated parking structures are for new and existing sites that have double parking capacity as compared to the same volume as a traditional ramped concrete parking structure.