How Much Does It Cost to Build the Average Parking Garage?

Average Cost
(150,000 sq.ft. multi-level parking garage above ground)

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How Much Does It Cost to Build the Average Parking Garage?

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(150,000 sq.ft. multi-level parking garage above ground)

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Parking is a serious issue for businesses, cities, and downtown areas. The more visitors you have to an area, the greater the need becomes for adequate and accessible parking. A parking garage makes a good choice for meeting parking demands because by building in levels, you can fit more cars in a set amount of square footage than you could in the same square feet in a surface lot.

The cost to build a parking garage varies by location, size, and whether you build up or have some parking below ground. For that reason, the national average ranges from $7,500,000 to $12,000,000, with most people paying around $9,750,000 for a 150,000 sq.ft. multi-level parking garage above ground. The lowest costs associated with this project are $210,000 for a 30,000 sq.ft. surface lot, while the highest costs are $13,500,000 for a multi-level parking garage with two levels underground.

Costs to Build an Average Parking Garage

Average Garage Building Costs
National average cost$9,750,000
Average range$7,500,000-$12,000,000
Minimum cost$210,000
Maximum cost$13,500,000

Updated: What's new?

Build a Parking Garage Cost by Project Range

30,000 sq.ft. surface lot for 100 cars with no major excavation
Average Cost
150,000 sq.ft. multi-level parking garage above ground
150,000 sq.ft. multi-level parking garage with two levels below ground

Parking Garage Cost per Space

Parking garages can be priced out in a few ways, with the cost per space being one of the most common. The cost per space varies by area, but the average cost is between $24,000 and $25,000 per space for a parking garage. If you intend to create a surface lot rather than a garage, costs can be considerably lower. Space costs in urban areas are higher than those in suburban areas. At the same time, parking garages that have levels below ground cost 20% to 100% higher for those spaces than the ones that are above ground, due to the higher costs of excavation.

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Parking Lot Costs per Square Foot

Parking lot costs per square foot also range, depending on the area where you live, with cities typically having higher overall costs. However, the national average cost per square foot is around $65 for building most parking structures. Costs per square foot for a surface lot are considerably lower at $3 - $7 a square foot. Below are some of the average costs of parking structures based on their total square footage.

Parking Lot Costs Chart

Parking Lot Costs Chart

SizeAverage Cost to Build
50,000 sq.ft.$3,250,000
100,000 sq.ft.$6,500,000
150,000 sq.ft.$9,750,000
200,000 sq.ft.$13,000,000
250,000 sq.ft.$16,250,000

Parking Garage Cost by Type

Parking garages are most commonly multi-level, above-ground structures. This makes sense because by building up, you can fit more cars in a smaller footprint than in a single level. However, it is possible to build some small, single-level garages. While you are limited in the number of cars in that area, construction costs can be lower because the foundation does not need to support the weight of the higher levels.

Newer technologies are also making parking costs lower for construction and people using the lot. This includes automated garages or robotic garages, which fit many more cars into a smaller space, lowering the overall cost per car.

Parking Garage Cost Chart

Parking Garage TypeAverage Cost to Build per Space

Single-Level Parking Garage

Single-level parking garages are less common than either surface lots or multi-level lots. This is because they are significantly more costly to build than a simple surface lot, while at the same time, you cannot fit nearly as many cars into the area as you could by giving it more levels. That said, they are possible to build, and because they do not need to have a foundation designed to support the weight of additional levels, they have an average cost of $16,000 a space to build.

Automated Parking Garage Cost

On the surface, it appears an automated parking garage using robotic technology to park cars is costlier than traditional garages, but this is false. Automated parking garages need less space per car. They also do not require ramps and driving spaces, so you can fit more cars into the same space. This lowers the cost per car to around $20,000 a space. You have more spaces per garage, so overall costs can be higher, depending on the garage size.

Multi-Level Parking Garage

Multi-level parking garages are probably the most common type and the most frequently seen and used. They average 5 levels but can be several levels higher or lower, depending on your needs. They require strengthening the foundation to support the upper levels and have a per-space cost of $24,500.

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Parking Garage Prices by Location

Building your parking lot or garage have varying costs depending on where it is located. This can include both the type of city or area, urban areas being more expensive to build, and the location on, above, or underground. Each has different costs:

Parking Garage Prices

LocationAverage Cost to Build per Space
Surface lot$1,500 - $10,000
Underground lot$32,000 - $50,000

Surface Parking Lot

Surface parking lots can be very economical to build, providing you start with a mostly flat or cleared lot. The cost per space for a surface lot that does not require significant tree removal, soil compacting, or leveling is around $1,500 per space. However, if you need to cut and clear trees, rip up old pavement, or have significant clearing or leveling 1 to do, your costs can climb to $10,000 per space. Many people find that $5,000 per space is the average cost.

Underground Parking Garage Cost

Every level below the ground you go down increases your total costs more. Going down one level raises costs by 20% while going down two levels can double the cost. Going down farther increases costs even more. Most people rarely build garages below ground, but if space is an issue, one to two levels below ground is recommended because, after that, costs rise to prohibitive levels. The average cost per space for an underground lot is $32,000 to $50,000.

Parking Lot Costs by Material

Surface parking lots are most commonly paved in asphalt 2. This material is a good combination of inexpensive and long-wearing, making it a popular choice. However, it is possible to pave parking lots with other materials, which can influence their costs.

Parking Lot Costs

MaterialAverage Cost per Sq.Ft.
Gravel$1 - $3/sq.ft.
Asphalt 2$3 - $4/sq.ft.
Concrete$5 - $7/sq.ft.

Gravel Parking Lot Costs

Gravel parking lots are relatively inexpensive to build. They consist of three to four layers of gravel for drainage, with a top layer for aesthetics and to hold the cars. Gravel lots are very high maintenance and need to have fresh gravel replenished every few years. They cost roughly $1 to $3 a square foot on average.

Asphalt Parking Lot Costs

Asphalt is the most common material for parking lots. It is lower in maintenance than gravel but less expensive than concrete. Asphalt can be tinted or colored for private parking lots, and it is possible to get higher quality that wears longer in busy lots. Asphalt lots have an average cost of $3 to $4/sq.ft.

Concrete Parking Lot Costs

Concrete parking lots are less common but can be found in some southern areas. Concrete is longer wearing in warm climates than asphalt but can be high maintenance in cold areas. It can be colored and shaped, so it makes a nice choice for private lots. It costs $5 to $7 a square foot.

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Precast Parking Garage Cost

The vast majority of parking garages built today use precast materials. Most garages use precast concrete pillars and forms, but some luxury garages and urban garages can also use precast brick and other decorative forms. Precast pillars and forms are less expensive and easier to build with, although they require transportation to the site, cranes, and heavy equipment to lift into place. Using precast forms means the garage can be built more quickly than if the concrete was poured, set, and cured on-site, which could stretch out the project’s length by days, weeks, or even months.

The average costs to build a precast parking garage range from $50 to $65 a square foot on average, with high-end precast materials costing closer to $80 a square foot. In contrast, costs to work with traditional building materials can be much higher, closer to $125 to $150 a square foot.

Precast Parking Garage Cost per Space

Precast parking garage spaces cost $24,000 to $25,000 a space for the average multi-level garage. Costs can be higher for underground garages and lower when using automated garages that require less space per car.

New Garage Parking Design

Cost to Build a Parking Garage

Parking garages have a wide range of associated costs, depending on the land and site, whether excavation or leveling 1 is required, materials used, levels constructed, layout, and building design. You need to work with an architect and a structural engineer to design and build the garage and a general contractor to oversee the work.

A general breakdown of costs include:

  • Architect fees - 6% to 9% of the total cost (added)
  • Structural engineer fees - $500 - $20,000 as needed
  • General contractor fees - 25% of the total cost (added)
  • Equipment costs - 14%
  • Labor costs - 40%
  • Material costs - 36%
  • Finishing costs - 5%
  • Soft costs (insurance, permits, drawings, etc.) 5%

Keep in mind that the structural costs, including equipment, labor, and material, make up between 60% and 70% of your total costs. The type of structural system used and materials have the greatest impact on your project’s cost. This includes choosing precast forms, cast on-site concrete forms, or steel forms. It also includes choosing between a short-span structure, which costs less but fits fewer cars, or a long-span structure, which has higher costs but fits more cars.

In addition, the design and aesthetic of your garage can impact total costs by 15%, including the labor and materials involved. Therefore, choosing more highly decorative or attractive features can significantly increase total costs over choosing a more utilitarian design.

Cost to Build an Underground Garage

If you choose to build underground, the costs of your garage climb significantly. Your cost breakdown does not change dramatically, but for every level you go down, your costs climb starting at 20% higher for a single level down. It can climb to 100% higher or double the cost per space for two levels down. Going farther than this is cost-prohibitive. This is because excavation needs to take place, which dramatically increases costs, and the foundation and structural supports need to change to support any structure above it. This is why underground garages can be rare because they are often too expensive to build.

How Much Do Parking Lots Make?

Parking garages generate a great deal of revenue for the owners. However, the exact amount depends on the number of cars, overhead costs for the garage, amount of use the garage gets, and the parking rate in that area. Congested areas without much parking can charge more per space than areas that have a lot of parking. Depending on these factors, rental revenues per garage can range from $15,000 to $2,000,000 per year.

How Many Cars Can a Parking Garage Hold?

Parking garages come in many sizes and layouts, which impacts how many cars they hold. A good rule of thumb is every car needs between 300 and 400 square feet, depending on the layout and traffic flow. So a 150,000 sq.ft. parking garage could reasonably hold between 375 and 500 cars.

Parking Garage Maintenance Costs

Like any building, a parking garage has regular maintenance costs. This can include regular inspections, patching cracks and potholes, fixing or addressing structural cracks, waterproofing, and regular maintenance for electricity and other utilities. A budget for total operating and maintenance costs for a parking garage is around $500 per space per year.

Cost to Repave a Parking Lot

Any asphalt surface needs to be periodically repaved. This is a normal part of its expected maintenance over a lifetime. Expect costs between $1 to $3 a square foot to repave a parking lot. Some larger lots may get a prorated cost per square foot, while some smaller lots may pay a higher per square foot cost.

Parking Lot Repair Costs

Parking lots need some repair over their lifetimes. Like any road, driveway, or asphalt surface, they develop cracks over time, which leads to potholes and other damage. They can also experience regular wear and tear, which results in sealing, resurfacing, or repainting the lines on a semi-regular basis to keep the lot in good condition. Average costs range from $1 - $3 a linear foot for crack repair and $2 to $4 a square foot for pothole repair. For total lot resurfacing expect $1 to $3 a square foot. Repainting the lines costs $500 to $700 per visit.

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Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Elevator Installation

Any multi-level parking garage needs at least one elevator to facilitate guests getting to and from their cars. The cost per elevator is around $20,000 to $50,000 for a chain-driven elevator with an engine room.

Photovoltaic Systems

Parking garages often have high overhead with indoor electrical lights, an elevator, and other operating costs. Installing a photovoltaic energy system helps offset these costs. These systems can also be used in parking lots to offer shade and charging for electric cars. These systems have starting costs of $100,000 for canopy systems and can get more expensive for larger garages. Your exact costs are mostly driven by configuration because these are individualized projects.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • You need a permit to build a parking garage, and in most areas, you also need to submit plans to the city for approval and work within city ordinances for building.
  • If you choose to build a parking lot or garage as a revenue source, many investors start with one lot and expand with others to grow their business and profits. There are many opportunities for this with office buildings, retail centers, malls, mixed-use facilities, concert venues, stadiums, and other highly populated areas.
  • You also need to consider the land’s cost. If you own the land, you need to develop it first. Otherwise, you may need to purchase or lease enough land for the project.
  • Location can have a big impact on parking costs and the cost of constructing a garage or parking lot. Urban areas have higher costs to build, but higher revenues, while areas prone to natural disasters need to worry about structural integrity costs.


  • How long does it take to build a parking garage?

This depends on the building style, material, size, and location and can take months to a year to complete.

  • How much money does a parking garage make?

This depends on the garage size and location. Revenues range from $15,000 to $2,000,000 per year.

  • Is owning a parking garage profitable?

In general, yes, but it depends on the area and how much demand there is for parking.

  • How many parking spaces per 1,000 square feet?

You need to factor between 300 and 400 square feet per car, so 1,000 sq.ft. would be enough room for roughly 3 parking spaces.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Leveling: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
glossary term picture Bitumen 2 Asphalt: A viscous, black mixture of hydrocarbons often used for roofing and waterproofing. It is also used in asphalt for paving roads

Cost to build the average parking garage varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to build the average parking garage varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources