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Website steers drivers to parking spots

But ParkatmyHouse isn’t the only game in town for rental deals

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff/File 2011

Last year, Brookline sharply raised meter rates on game days near Fenway Park to cope with the crowds of drivers searching for parking.

Opening Day at Fenway Park is little more than a week away, and with it comes the perennial parking dilemma for fans: trying to find a space close to the ballpark, let alone one that isn’t priced exorbitantly.

A sympathetic Anthony Eskinazi believes he has come up with a solution, a website that lists parking spaces available for rent, spot parking in the Fenway or long-term rentals in other crowded neighborhoods such as the South End.

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The site, ParkatmyHouse.com, also allows people with parking spaces to rent to list them for free, in exchange for a cut of the rent.

ParkatmyHouse, launched last week and slowing building its inventory, appears to be the first site of its kind in the area.

But already Eskinazi has to anticipate competition.

Parking Panda, started in Baltimore last year, is preparing to expand into Boston this spring, according to its cofounder.

A London native, Eskinazi created ParkatmyHouse.com in 2006 after he visited San Francisco and had trouble finding parking for a Giants game. It quickly became popular in his traffic-choked home city.

It expanded beyond London, and the site currently has approximately 150,000 users throughout the United Kingdom.

And now with funding from the venture capital firm BMWi Ventures, ParkatmyHouse is coming to the states, with Boston as one of its first American cities.

“People are saying parking in downtown Boston has been a nightmare for years, and no one has had any ideas on how to fix it,’’ Eskinazi said.

The idea is simple enough: Essentially, ParkatmyHouse.com serves as a matchmaker between people with spaces to let and those who need to park.

For owners, the site will suggest a price for the space, based on other rentals in the area and how much nearby garages charge, Eskinazi said. It also provides short-term lease agreements.

While there were not any parking spaces listed on Tuesday for rent near Fenway Park, a space close to the Prudential Center was listed for $6.50 per hour, compared with the $19 drivers can pay for one hour at the Prudential Center garage.

ParkatmyHouse can offer a better, more flexible deal than Craigslist, though the spaces may not cost much less than those on the behemoth classifieds website. A space near Boston University was listed on both Craigslist and ParkatmyHouse for $140 per month.

ParkatmyHouse takes 15 percent of the revenue, though that cut could increase if the website determines the value of the space is higher, Eskinazi said.

For renters, using the site is as easy as typing in a location, then requesting to book a preferred space. Some are available for “instant bookings,’’ which allow users to book a spot without waiting for confirmation from the owner.

Payment is handled online with a credit card or through PayPal.

Parking in Boston is expensive - the city ranked third, behind midtown Manhattan and Honolulu, in a study of daily parking fees released in July by Colliers International, a real estate services firm.

A spot near Newbury Street can cost $300 a month, while a space in a garage can fetch upward of $400, said Justin Grammer, a senior sales and leasing agent for A&S Realty in Boston.

Buying a parking spot is also a pricey endeavor: Three years ago, a deeded space in the Back Bay on Commonwealth Avenue sold for $300,000.

Parking Panda, meanwhile, offers similar services to those of ParkatmyHouse.com, but has amenities such as allowing users to book at garages in advance.

“We’re more of a true marketplace for parking,’’ said cofounder Adam Zillerbaum.

But Zillerbaum did not seem worried that Boston would not have room for two online parking services.

“From the research we’ve done,’’ he said, “we’ve seen that the market is big, and parking is a huge issue.’’

Gail Waterhouse can be reached at gail.waterhouse@globe.com.
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