Tag Archives: mixed-use

Innovation and Collaboration at the University of Kentucky

Cover of Parking & Mobility magazine showing mixed-use building at the University of KentuckyThe University of Kentucky understood the need to continue to provide parking assets to support its growing campus, but also the essential component of effectively utilizing limited space for the highest and best uses possible. They also recognized the essential role of incorporating successful economic development master planning strategies to support the financial requirements of such a build, while contributing to the economic vitality of the campus.

The result was a unique P3 (public-private partnership) involving a land swap, lease-lease back, shared property management, and both parking and community space–inside and out–that collectively benefit the university and the surrounding community in Lexington, Ky.–unique all around and, as it turned out, very good for everyone involved.

This month’s Parking & Mobility magazine showcases the Cornerstone, UK’s new mixed-use gem that offers parking, 23,000 square feet of mixed-use including a state-of-the-art gaming and esports facility, and serves as a gateway to an innovation district bringing new features, ideas, and collaborations to the whole community. It feels like a glimpse into the future–read it here.

Parking Under the Store

By David Feehan

Yesterday, my wife and I stopped at a Safeway supermarket in Wheaton, Md. The supermarket is part of a mixed-use project with a high-rise apartment building on top, a Safeway on the ground floor, and a parking garage underneath. The apartment is within walking distance of the Metro station–a very good thing. Overall, we found the project quite appealing in terms of location, quality of construction, and amenities.

The idea of having a supermarket on the ground floor has real appeal. Although Wheaton is not a cold-weather city like Minneapolis or Des Moines, it does experience some occasional snow and cold and being able to shop indoors on a rainy day has real appeal.

But who designed the parking garage? The entrance is on the back of the building and signage directing customers to the garage could have been much better. Thankfully, there were large graphics indicating the entrance to the store once inside the garage. But the spaces were so narrowly marked that we watched several shoppers–all women–struggle to open car doors without banging against the adjoining vehicles.

I am particularly sensitive to this issue, because I have a classic 1984 Olds Toronado and I do not appreciate parking lot dings. There was no obvious place to return shopping carts either, so carts were floating around between cars. We witnessed several collisions between loose carts and parked cars.

I’ve written a book recently about designing downtowns for women. The chapter on parking, written by Barbara Chance,  PhD., president and CEO of CHANCE Management Advisors, Inc., raises many important questions. But the one that came to mind as I was parking in this facility was, “Did the designers ask women, particularly women with children, what they liked and disliked about parking garages?” We found in our research that parking garages were the most hated aspect of downtowns among the women we surveyed.

Lesson for parking professionals: Make sure you have a woman on your team when you design a parking facility. They will see things men won’t see. I guarantee it. If you don’t believe me, just ask Barbara at the 2020 IPMI Conference.

David Feehan is president of Civitas Consulting, LLC.

Adaptive Reuse: A Case Study

Adaptive reuse of parking garages has been an industry conversation topic for a few years, but now consumer-facing publications are getting in on the topic. Forbes features a story about the Motor Mart Garage in Boston, which was built more than 90 years ago. While its occupancy numbers are relatively healthy, they largely come from big bumps during shows at a nearby theater.

The garage’s architecture and facade are beautiful and beloved and its parking spots are valuable, so the structure is being saved. Atop it will grow a 20-story, mixed-use tower, which will make the most of the garage’s spot on a city block while preserving both its beautiful features and its availability to theater-goers, and making better use of its spaces the rest of the time.

Read the Forbes story here. For more on adaptive reuse, read this story from The Parking Professional.

The Next Mixed-use

Soccer fields are popping up all over Atlanta, all at transit stations. And it makes perfect sense.

The city’s MARTA stations need a lot of space and the land directly adjacent to–and sometimes underneath–platforms largely went unused. They tried building an amphitheater at one in the 1970s but it never attracted performances or people. So a local nonprofit that combines soccer with mentoring and employment programs floated the idea of a slightly smaller-than-regulation soccer field, which would let families use mass transportation to get to practices and games and use that land in a way that benefits the community. The first was built in 2016, another opened earlier this year, one’s under construction now, and seven more are planned for the next three years. The land is being used, families love the new fields, and the hope that people would use the trains to get there has come to fruition.

Read about the project here.  To learn more about Soccer in the Streets, the nonprofit behind the effort, click here.