Are Center City home buyers willing to give up their wheels?

The luxury 500 Walnut condos will have the latest generation of automated underground car parking and retrieval.

Center City's walkability and accessible public transit are two major reasons home buyers give for moving there from the suburbs.

But how many of those buyers are truly eager to give up their cars?

Parking is still important to a home sale or apartment rental in Center City and adjacent neighborhoods, real estate agents and developers say. How important is determined by the price of the home or the monthly rent.

"At higher price points - $600,000-plus - that buyer will pay a premium for parking," said Mickey Pascarella, an agent with Keller Williams Real Estate in Center City.

"With first-time home buyers, parking is less of a requirement than it was 10 years ago," Pascarella said, because people walk, take public transit, ride bicycles, share cars, and use such services as Uber.

Tom Scannapieco, developer of the ultra-luxury 500 Walnut condo high-rise across from Independence Hall, agreed that "Uber is reducing the need for city residents to utilize their private cars and is reducing the need for parking."

Scannapieco, whose building will have the latest generation of the underground robotic parking-garage system that was installed in his 1706 Rittenhouse Square Street condo building, said his "ultra-luxury buyer will continue to own a car" and require that it be made available at all hours "at their front door."

Nino Cutrufello, development director of Callahan Ward Cos., which builds in Northern Liberties and Fishtown, said that parking "is not an absolute must" but that it "still has added value for a home."

In a study that Callahan Ward commissioned in 2014 that looked at added value for new construction, specifically in Northern Liberties, the results showed "that having a single off-street parking space added at least $50,000," Cutrufello said.

A second off-street parking spot added just $15,000, he said.

Despite the lower added value of the second space, "two-car parking is salivated over," said Chris Somers, broker/owner of Re/Max Access in Northern Liberties.

"A seller not having parking can shrink the buying pool," said Joanne Davidow, vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors, who has been selling houses in Center City for 36 years.

If, however, "a buyer falls in love with a property, he or she is apt to be content finding parking nearby," Davidow said.

The old Philadelphia Zoning Code had "much more stringent parking requirements for the Center City District," said John Westrum, president of Westrum Development Co.

Westrum, who was a member of the Zoning Code Commission, said he persuaded the other members "to eliminate parking requirements in the highest-density areas."

The rationale was that "it was a market situation, and if parking was needed to sell or rent the units, then the developers would incorporate it into their plans," Westrum said.

Developer Carl Dranoff has been reducing parking facilities in favor of more "green space."

"It is a generational thing," said Marianne Harris, Dranoff Properties' sales and marketing director. "Younger people don't have cars and, instead, walk or use Uber or car-share."

Still, "secured parking and garages are what separate the men from the boys," said Barbara Capozzi, of Capozzi Real Estate in South Philadelphia.

"I even had a prospect last week who doesn't drive but wants a driveway for the convenience of guests," she said.

James Maransky, president of E-Built L.L.C., said that "technological advances have allowed employers and employees more flexibility" and that telecommuting to work "reduces the need for a full-time vehicle."

Yet in the last 10 years, more families have been moving into the city, "so the number of cars has actually increased," said Noah Ostroff, an agent with Keller Williams in Center City.

Cutrufello hosted some potential development partners from Manhattan recently, both of whom believed that Philadelphia had too many cars for too few spaces.

He said he found that observation interesting, from people "who live in the most densely populated city in the country."

aheavens@phillynews.com

215-854-2472@alheavens