Durham's Mixed Use Parking Garage

I will be honest. When I've driven the downtown loop and seen the construction at the corner of Morgan and Mangum, I didn't pay much attention. My thought process went something like this:

"Hmm, a new parking garage - what a waste of potential. It will be a dead zone that won't attract foot traffic or vibrancy"

"Oh well, at least it is replacing a parking lot, so we are just creating additional parking without changing much."

I was COMPLETELY wrong not to look into this further. The plan that Durham has for this parking garage is much more exciting.

A Mixed-Use Parking Garage




Neighborhood:
Downtowm

Size:
667 parking spaces, 15,687 sq ft of retail, 4,750 sq ft of office space

Estimated Cost:
$23 million

Parking Cost:
$1.25/hour (same as other downtown garages, cheaper than $1.50/hour street parking)

Expected Completion Date:
January 2019

Details:
Office space will be used by the Durham Transportation Parking Administrator and retail space will be leased/managed by Trademark Properties

Developer:
City of Durham

As you can see from the mockups and floor plan, the ground level will be wrapped with retail. According to Lead Project Manager, Henri Prosperi, "the intent is for the street level retail to be consistent in height and material as the adjacent buildings on Mangum and Rigsbee for a unified and contiguous block face."

That's great news for walkability and creating new spaces for businesses. There are retail spaces for both large and small businesses and according to Prosperi, the larger spaces can be subdivided if necessary. I am a fan of maintaining an inventory of small spaces that scrappy, local businesses can afford (and eventually grow and move into larger spaces).

It also provides a real economic incentive for Durham to move forward with converting the downtown loop into a two-way street. The businesses that lease space here will want to increase foot traffic and discoverability, doing away with the negative economic impact that the artificial border of the downtown loop creates. (side note: the city completed a feasibility report in 2010 and found that conversion of the loop to a two-way street is possible, but they haven't been able to secure funding for the project).

Meanwhile, Durham gains parking spaces. Many "urbanists" might not view this as a positive step, but the reality is that the area is still very car-dependent. People who live outside of a walkable/bikeable radius don't always have great access to public transportation. They should be able to enjoy downtown as well.

Finally, while Trademark Properties will be handling leases and management of the retail space, Prosperi notes that "City Administrators would weigh-in on the tenant mix to ensure fit."



Comments

  1. Interesting! I was thinking about this pretty much the same way you were: "oh well, it's just a parking deck, but at least it's not just surface-level parking". I had no idea they were planning for this to be mixed-use. Cities are all about the street-level experience, and having this retail here will be a great addition.

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  2. Parking decks are necessary, even in Manhattan. Parking lots are wasteful. I agree that this one (and the other two at 300 and 500 E Main) will be good additions. Would have liked to see some residential or commercial here as well, but this is a good enough design.

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