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Thread: Converting parking garages to other uses

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Converting parking garages to other uses

    This is a topic that's been on my mind for a while now, and something I think would be an interesting discussion, if not practical. What would it take to convert a parking garage into a residential/commercial/mixed use structure? Has this actually been done anywhere? This is all completely hypothetical of course, as I imagine the costs of retrofitting the building would be higher than new construction on the same site.

    First off, I would imagine that a hole would have to be cut in the center for elevator/stairway access, as the exterior elevators would not provide satisfactory access to the building. An HVAC system would also have to be installed, as well as drop ceilings and windows. I would imagine that any other significant structural changes would not need to be made, as the weight of the people, furniture, and walls inside the building would be significantly less than the weight of the cars that it was designed for.

    Your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Most parking garages already have stairwells and elavators. They also have sloping floors which are not conducive for re-use for anything practical. Most also have low cielings and were not built with insulation in mind. Most are made of concrete, making wiring and plumbing difficult.

    My best suggestion is to knock it down and start over.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    . They also have sloping floors which are not conducive for re-use for anything practical.
    My best suggestion is to knock it down and start over.
    1. That is the adaptive reuse problem.
    2. I am guessing to re engineer, selective demolition and rebuilding would just as costly as knocking it down,

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Georgia State University's Sparks Hall was originally a parking deck (or at least that's what I was told by the former head of their historic preservation program):

    http://www.fmsd.gsu.edu/map/buildings/sparkshall.html

    http://www.atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/sparks1.htm

    http://www.atlantatimemachine.com/downtown/sparks2.htm
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I think as long your entire parking deck isn't sloped, you might be able to reuse it. Like that one posted above looks like it just used individual ramps to the other levels instead of being a continuous ramp like most modern parking garages. So if you removed the ramps, you'd probably have a usable structure to work from.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    Georgia State University's Sparks Hall was originally a parking deck (or at least that's what I was told by the former head of their historic preservation program)
    I'm skeptiical of that. I've seen plenty of buildings that have similar size, shapes, and designs and none were parking structures. The stonework alone is high quality. In general most garages from that period were not made very nicely.

    Not saying that it wasn't, just saying that it would be an impressive structure.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I'm skeptiical of that. I've seen plenty of buildings that have similar size, shapes, and designs and none were parking structures. The stonework alone is high quality. In general most garages from that period were not made very nicely.

    Not saying that it wasn't, just saying that it would be an impressive structure.
    As you should be - darn that stupid Bubba and his faulty memory...I had the wrong campus building. The former parking garage turned classroom building is actually Kell Hall, not Sparks. Doh!

    http://www.gsu.edu/magazine/2010wint...ry101kell.html
    Last edited by Bubba; 10 Nov 2011 at 2:19 PM. Reason: getting it right
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    As you should be - darn that stupid Bubba and his faulty memory...I had the wrong campus building. The former parking garage turned classroom building is actually Kell Hall, not Sparks. Doh!

    http://www.gsu.edu/magazine/2010wint...ry101kell.html
    That I believe. At Wayne State (WSU) we had a similar structure that was originally a General Motors Garage. It used an elavator to get gars from one floor too another. There were also a couple of old dealerrships near campus that had the same configuration (but much smaller).

    Seeing the photo jarred my memory of going to an art exhibit in one of those buildings some 15 or so years back. Totally forgot about the real early structures.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  9. #9
    An old Chevy dealership in the Brighton area of Boston is now a supermarket. But it was only two stories and the floors were not sloped.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Not exactly the same thing, but I’ve seen a number of parking garage that have been designed to be reconfigured for other uses in the future, at least on the ground floor. Example:
    http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=...71.19,,0,-7.79

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Howl View post
    Not exactly the same thing, but I’ve seen a number of parking garage that have been designed to be reconfigured for other uses in the future, at least on the ground floor. Example:
    http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=...71.19,,0,-7.79
    Detroit requires this as of late for all structures in the CBD. I am not sure why, as all of the spaces are usually empty. Strangely the casinos can get away without it. It may because the first floor of thier garages are the size of a large Walmart!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
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    There is a nice exemple of a garages'convertion in France.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xfx...logements_news

    It takes place in an "écoquartier" at Roubaix, and the idea is to anticipate the fall of the number of cars.
    However a friend who is architect told me that it will be difficult to do this kind of thing due to the form and size.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    "The Garage" in Harvard Square, Cambridge, was originally a small parking garage. The sloped ramp is now the main walkway up to the second floor.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunge/236510776/

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    As others have said, if it's the kind of parking garage where all the floors are sloped, forget it. If only the center section is sloped, that area could be knocked out as an atrium of sorts, although it might be tough, with the heavy loads the floors was designed to support. If it uses a single-threaded or double-threaded helix ramp for access and flat parking floors, it's almost perfect.

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  15. #15
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    Parks...skate parks.......
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