Matt Farah's new car storage facility is the coolest parking lot you'll ever see
More like 007's above-ground garage, Matt Farah's West Side Collector Car Storage is the answer to ever urban car enthusiast's nightmare
A wise man once said that owning a supercar in a city was about as good an idea as owning a pet tiger. But what that man never envisioned was West Side Collector Car Storage, seemingly the answer to every urban car enthusiast's prayers.
If you have ever tried driving any loud, low, or wide car through a large city such as Los Angeles, you will curse the day curbs, and the very car that you are driving were invented; but try parking that same car, and you might just start cursing the day you were born.
Most rational people would be terrified of owning any kind of performance car in a city, and for good reason. You'd forever fear that the finely-sculpted carbon fiber nose on your Lamborghini would scrape against a low driveway, or that the 19-year-old valet attendant who just took your car would return 3 hours later with the receipt from a strip club in the passenger seat.
This leads people in LA to flaunt their 'wealth' not with a Ferrari or a Lamborghini but with overpriced performance crossovers, with 'look at me!' styling, and AMG badges on every painted surface.
But there are a select few in Los Angeles who couldn't care less about what the badge on the back of their car says about them, and that's for whom West Side Collector Car Storage exists.
Marketed as a premium service for car enthusiasts and collectors, Matt Farah's new parking facility is designed from the ground up to minimize the pain of owning a fun car in LA.
Matt Farah, The Smoking Tire
Gone are the steep driveway angles, the impassible high curbs, and gone is the strip-club-going valet attendant. In its place stands a building which can house 40 cars in its bellow-ground level, and 90 in its 'cathedral room,' which Matt tells me contains the world's first instillation of indoor quad-stackers.
So to talk us through his latest venture, I sat down with Matt Farah and asked him a few questions about what might just be the coolest 'parking lot' in the world.
DB: "Most people know you from YouTube. Why did you decide to get into this game?"
MF: "I am a car collector myself," "and I've always got a couple of interesting cars, and in the town where I live, Venice Beach, there's a lot of car culture." "So there's plenty of homes and very nice condos and apartments and stuff like that. But even a very nice home in this part of town will probably only have a two-car garage and maybe not even a driveway or anything. So any family that wants to own more than a couple of daily drivers is gonna really have a hard time."
MF: "And so, you know, I was looking for a way sort of out of the gig economy. You know, YouTube is great for what it is, it's not great in terms of necessarily having a long term plan. And so I wanted to find a way where I could have, you know, real estate investments and also a viable business model that serves my local community and serves like-minded individuals like myself and possibly have that be the supplement for YouTube."
MF: "And YouTube is like a casino, anybody can walk in the door, and with a couple of bucks anybody can play. And you can be up, or you can be down. But if you're up, you still haven't won because your whole income stream is dependent on YouTube, and that could be taken away in an instant."
DB: "It sort of sounds like you're trying to be your own customer here, but how did you know that there was a market for this?"
MF: "I didn't invent this business model, collector car storage; it's not a new thing." " I made a map of everywhere in LA county that has operated one of these businesses." "For me, it made sense to put it here [Playa Vista] because the beach cities where I live are really some of the densest parts of LA, and also some of the most enthusiastic about cars."
DB: "How long did this project take from start to finish?"
MF: "I started looking for property in April 2015. Bought it in August 2016, and we finished it a couple of weeks ago."
DB: "Was that more city issues or just logistics?"
MF: "I mean, it was a bit of both. There were definitely delays that came from things we did not expect, you know, and the regulations are certainly very difficult. You know, no one has ever installed a three or four car stackers in LA County ever. And so we had to, you know, literally, hire the fire department to write the fire code, in order to do this, it just didn't exist. And so, you know, there was probably a year or a year and a half of paperwork and planning. You know, the architects went through a lot of drawings. Because the property's not very big, it's only a 12,800 square foot property. And we've had to build basically edge to edge." "In LA, if you have a commercial property you have to provide two 'street accessible parking spaces' for every thousand square feet of commercial real estate, so I had to build street accessible parking, which meant I had to dig a basement that was about 50% of the cost of the entire building."
DB: "So I live in New York where parking is easily $600 a month for just anything, yours is obviously a more premium service. What justifies the higher price?"
MF: "It's a premium service in LA. There are two types of customers. People who have parked in New York City before and people who have never parked in New York City before. Anyone who has parked in New York City before thinks that my facility is very cheap. Anyone who has never parked in New York City before, thinks that my facility is a more premium price. The average cost in New York City of just a basic parking spot is about four times as much as the average in any other city in America. So me charging New York prices in LA is at the low end of what I can charge. It's very aggressive. But some people, you know, still find it to be high, you know, we charge around about $600 a month per car."
DB: "What kind of customers do you attract? Do you get more people that just want to park their cars or enthusiasts that are coming in and out?"
MF: "I would say that we attract a mixture of people who are local and just have too many cars. And so those people show up every couple of weeks to swap out one car for another. And then also we've got a healthy mix of people who actually don't live in Los Angeles at all. So we take advantage of our proximity to LAX airport. And so maybe they don't live here, but they come into town, you know, every month or two for businesses to see family and whatnot. And so they keep their cars here, because we deal with any of the headaches."