Can you reuse a parking structure?

May 18, 2008 at 1:09 pm 3 comments

One of the best features of a typical urban stone or brick building is that it’s adaptable. A former clothing store can become a bank, or apartments, or offices.

But what about parking garages? Can an underused parking garage be adapted to other uses in the future, or are we stuck with having to tear them down if we want something else? Can we even convert one or two floors into something else?

Although it’s been successful in some instances, David Sucher thinks you’re stuck with it.

Here are three necessities that he says are missing from most parking structures:

  • “Adequate” headroom for a range of typical uses.
  • Minimum ramps and maximum level floor plates as you don’t want to have to contend with a Guggenheim Museum ramp.
  • “Adequate” floor loads as believe it or not cars are not that heavy.

Read David’s entry here.

photo by Fetchy


Entry filed under: Architecture, Jon Swerens, Urbanism. Tags: , .

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  • 1. MichaelK  |  May 18, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    I remember (vaguely) at some point going to some sort of flea market in a parking structure. I’m pretty sure it was her in Fort Wayne, but I was a little kid.

    Otherwise, it’s racin’ bikes down them when they’re empty… or practicing your climbing attack pace when going up on the bike.

  • 2. Eric Fetcho  |  May 19, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for the photo credit!

  • 3. Scott Bryson  |  May 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I think one of the main problems is, when we build parking structures we dedicate the entire building to parking. Fort Wayne has entire blocks that can only be used for parking. When we build parking structures we should at least dedicate the bottom floor to retail space, so as not to create large areas devoid of commercial space.

    Along Wayne St. starting at the corner of Calhoun there is a parking garage. Across the street is the Wells Fargo Building with a parking structure next to it. This is a total of almost an entire block which can be used for nothing because of the parking garages. Unfortunately you also find this directly across the street from the Hilton Hotel. It makes it quite difficult to bring development downtown when some of the best real estate is taken up by huge parking structures.

    I also think it would be far cheaper to just tear down the structures and build something else there.


But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

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