No one on the ground was injured in the collapse, which occurred at about 2:15 p.m. The crane operator, whose name wasn't released, was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
The crane crushed one car parked in a lot nearby and damaged a second, police said. Officials said there was "minimal" structural damage to the parking deck.
The state Department of Labor sent investigators to the scene to determine the cause of the collapse.
Workers on site said that the crane was operating normally, and no operator error was observed, city officials said.
LeChase Construction is the contractor on the $6 million Franklin Street Parking Deck, but the crane operator worked for Buckner, a subcontractor on the project.
“The city is thankful no one was injured,” City Manager Dale Iman said in a statement. “There is a full builders risk (insurance) policy in place, which will cover all damages.”
Franklin Street was closed between Gillespie and Maxwell streets. Donaldson Street was closed between Hay and Russell streets. Workers said the wrecked crane likely won't be removed until Thursday morning, meaning the streets won't reopen before then.