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"One less thing to worry about on the weekend."

 

Parking and a Whole Lot More
One satellite lot is providing monumental services.


The new services grew out of Larry Cohen's vision and the real estate mantra, Location, Location, Location.
Larry Cohen holds up a large photograph from almost two years ago. To the untrained eye, it looks like a cluster of tired metal buildings under a gray Baltimore sky. But when he first visited the lot and took the photo, Cohen saw something more. "We got really lucky coming up with the old Tower Ford, only a mile and a half out Monument street," says Cohen, Hopkins' director of Parking and Transportation Services

Today, the Monument Street lot is home to 900 parking spaces, offices for transportation and security, and a comfortable indoor waiting area for shuttle riders. It's also the first Hopkins parking facility to offer services including a vehicle wash and wax and the new Monument Street Auto Center.

With well over 8,000 employees, it's clear the Hospital and Health System faces a daunting challenge finding space for every vehicle. When you factor in redevelopment moving north from Fells Point and east from downtown, the job gets even tougher. "Almost as soon as we would lease a property for parking, the owners would give us notice that instead they were making way for a new hotel or restaurant," says Cohen.

While battling developers and working to improve his "core business" of parking and transportation for Hopkins employees, Cohen has been eyeing ways to add value to the parking service since he came to Hopkins five years ago. He began visiting large parking facilities and assembling a list of possibilities. At the top was a car wash and wax service that Cohen and George Economas, assistant director of parking, had seen during a tour of the parking facilities at the University of Virginia. UVA's service was only for fleet vehicles, but Cohen and Economas knew a similar service would be a hit with Hopkins' busy employees. After a brainstorming session with his boss, Joseph Coppola, vice president of Corporate Security for Johns Hopkins Medicine, they decided the time, and the old Tower Ford location, were right.

Hopkins purchased the lot, demolished the showroom and used-car trailer, and cut down the large service center to about 20 percent of its original size. With the help of Johns Hopkins University's Dome Corp., half of the remaining structure was developed. "Half of the building we left as a vacant shell, for what we called future use," Cohen says. "The vision of having this vehicle service center is coming to fruition now."

Staffing the wash and wax service with the men and women of Operation PULSE-a crime prevention partnership started eight years ago by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Broadway Services and Clergy United for Renewal in East Baltimore-was the perfect final piece in the puzzle.

"One of our ways of working to prevent crime is finding jobs for people," says Sam Redd, director of Operation PULSE. "We do a lot more-training and mentoring and helping people finish school-but finding employment is a very important part." Hopkins leases the space to Operation PULSE, but, Cohen says, "We feel like partners. We want them to hit a home run." The goal is to build a self-sufficient business that provides jobs, job training and funding for the organization.

And last month, the new Monument Street Auto Center, owned and operated by the Majchrzak family of G & M Automotive Sales and Service in Kingsville, was launched, adding a wide range of automotive services to Monument Street's offerings. Staffed by factory-trained technicians, the center currently services all of Hopkins' fleet vehicles and also is open to employees.

The new services are getting rave reviews. "To avoid any downtime, the car wash service is available while you are working, so there is virtually no wait," says Ronald R. Peterson, president of Hopkins Health System and Hospital. "It's a high-quality service, the price is right and the staff is very customer friendly. One less thing to worry about on the weekend."

-Seth Hurwitz

Even if you don't park at the 3700 East Monument Street facility, it's easy to get your vehicle washed, waxed, checked or repaired. Just schedule an appointment, drop off your car and ride the shuttle to work. On the day of service, parking at Monument Street is free.

For the wash and wax service, call 410-889-4496 for an appointment. Costs range from $6 for an exterior hand wash to $100 for a complete auto detailing, and gift certificates and coupon books are available.

Monument Street Auto Center services all makes and models, from replacing light bulbs to complete overhauls. All work is guaranteed. A 3,000-mile service including oil, lube, oil filter and 21-point safety inspection, is $21.95. For an appointment, call 410-522-3737.

 

 

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