To Build or Not to Build?

By Josh Naramore

There are many news stories that purport the end to parking and that our autonomous future will drastically reduce cities’ needs to provide parking. However, we don’t know when or if that future may come to pass and still need to provide parking services to the customers of today. So how can we look to build new parking facilities that accommodate current needs and adapt for future uses?

The City of Grand Rapids, Mich., partnered with WGI to apply adaptive reuse principles to a new parking structure on a small parcel known as The Wedge. The Wedge site is adjacent to an existing parking structure, allowing the new building to be connected and built with no internal ramping and flat floors. Using short-span construction allows for adequate floor loads and maximization of floor-to-floor heights to accommodate future office or residential uses. The ground floor is reserved for street-level retail. Additionally, the structure can support up to eight stories of development atop its roof for future non-parking uses.

The cost of building this new facility does come at a premium of 50 percent more when compared to costs of a comparable traditional parking structure, but it also provides greater future flexibility for the city.

Josh Naramore is mobile GR and parking manager with the City of Grand Rapids, Mich.