The parking real estate developer REEF Technology will work with Archer Aviation to transform the rooftops of selected parking garages into air taxi landing sites — REEF’s second such agreement with an eVTOL developer in recent months.
In June, Joby Aviation announced an agreement with REEF and Neighborhood Property Group (NPG) to develop infrastructure for Joby’s aerial ridesharing service. The deal allows Joby to access REEF’s existing network of parking garages in key cities including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco — the first two of which have been publicly named by Archer as launch cities for its own flying taxi service.
Parking garages are attractive sites for eVTOL vertiports because they already occupy prime real estate in the urban centers where air taxi companies expect to find most of their customers. Archer and REEF, which operates over 4,800 parking garages in North America, said their agreement “will allow Archer’s aircraft to access largely dormant rooftop sites across some of the most densely populated and heavily congested urban city locations in the U.S.,” including L.A. and Miami.
“We believe that working with REEF will allow us to accelerate our mission to transition congested urban areas to more sustainable forms of transportation,” stated Archer co-founder and co-CEO Adam Goldstein. “The ability to build out our early vertiports with light retrofitting of existing structures would allow us to scale operations while maintaining our focus on affordability for our customers.”
Goldstein had previously signaled the company’s interest in parking garages at the June unveiling for Archer’s Maker technology demonstrator. Not only are parking garages “perfectly located within the middle of these cities,” he said at that event, but the cost to retrofit them as vertiports is low compared to building ground transportation infrastructure such as subway stops.
Much like Joby, which is leveraging demand modeling software originally developed by Uber Elevate, Archer plans to use its proprietary system simulation technology, called Prime Radiant, to determine optimal landing sites within REEF’s existing network. According to a press release, “the goal is to identify sites that already have the space needed for take-off, landing, and charging, so minimal construction is required for operations to launch.”
However, it’s not clear how REEF will manage any competition between Joby and Archer for especially desirable vertiport locations. In a June press release, Joby stated that it “will enjoy a period of exclusivity during which it can secure long-term rooftop leases on skyport sites within NPG and REEF’s network of parking garages,” but Joby, Archer, and REEF all declined to comment further on the subject.