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Imagine Tacoma: A City Garage?
With the recent news of the City of Tacoma taking back ownership of the Municipal Parking Lot site across Market Street from the Municipal Building due to the stalled (dead?) Catapult Development, Imagine Tacoma takes a look at what might be a good use for the property.
I’m not usually a big fan of parking garages; except when there is a piece of property whose topography and location is ideal for such a use. The tremendous slope from Market Street to the Court ‘D’ alley allows for a 5 story parking garage to be slipped into the hill whose top level of parking could be accessed from said alley (and allow the 4th level to be accessed from the same alley further to the South). This would allow for secure parking of City of Tacoma vehicles within a City Garage (rather than taking up space in Park Plaza North). This arrangement would still allow 3 floors of parking off a Market Street entrance– with some of these interstitial floors used for City of Tacoma Employee parking (rather than taking up all the ‘free’ parking in the St Helen’s Neighborhood to the North, eh?).
The garage structure would have retail along Market Street (it is in the Zoning Code) and the whole structure could be designed with a contextual reference to the Art Deco Municipal Building – as part of a downtown campus of buildings. As a post-tensioned concrete structure, additional load capacity could be design to allow future housing or office space above the garage – or maybe the garage is designed to be totally sustainable? A roof canopy of solar panels and rainwater collection system, – maybe commuter bicycle storage on Market Street? A LEED certified Parking Garage – is that an oxymoron?
And with substantial parking with direct access to the Municipal Building, doesn’t that make the Municipal Building that more financially sound? At the height of the Tacoma Condo Construction Craze, the City of Tacoma looked at possibly selling the Municipal Building – but alas, one big sticking point – no parking for a prospective buyer. The garage could even be designed for a future skybridge ‘Vasari Corridor’ connection (we just need to make sure it is never used by elected officials).
With such a City Garage, the City of Tacoma could get its own city vehicle parking, and employee parking under control, increase the real estate value of the Municipal Building, create additional public parking (for Broadway Center events), add retail to the street, and maybe create the LEED Platinum Parking for Urban Waters at the same time – while incorporating some of Dan Burton’s walkablity concepts to connect the two projects.
For an example of a LEED parking project check out Santa Monica.
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