One of the hot topics at the moment is the future-proofing of car parks. The idea that future demand for parking is going to decrease in the face of technology advancements is leading the property sector to consider what to do with all the parking built in the past and how to prepare new developments for the years to come.
As we discussed previously in the article The future-proof car park, not all parking structures can be easily repurposed to other uses as aspects such as location of columns and services as well as ramps (just to name some examples) cannot be changed. Therefore, repurposing existing car parks often demands innovative solutions to overcome structural challenges.
On the other hand, car parks being planned today can be designed to accommodate a conversion in the years to come. Future-proofing car parks implies a higher cost in comparison to developing a traditional parking facility, which in some estimates can be up to one third of the total construction cost. This can be seen as an obstacle by investors and developers considering the short-term investment required, versus the unknown factor of how much will parking demand decrease over the life of the building.
We have come across some interesting examples of future-proofing and repurposing car parks that can serve as inspiration to the professionals involved in the property industry.
Cincinnati’s car park repurposed into a hotel
The car park located near the Cincinnati downtown was an adaptive use of the original development, a warehouse-distribution facility before it was transformed into The Summit, a hotel, art gallery and conference centre.
The main challenge with this project was to decide between demolishing the existing parking structure or repurposing it, as reported by Building Design + Construction. After months of discussions, the team responsible for the project were able to develop a plan in which the cost of reconstruction was at a satisfactory point. The end result is a hospitality property with approximately 40,000 m2, 239 rooms and 19 meeting and conference rooms with an estimated value of US$ 80 million. See images below:
Future-proofing car parks in residential and commercial developments
A new residential complex with 475 units and 1,000 parking spaces is being developed in the Arts Precinct of Los Angeles. According to The Real Deal, the car park will not have sloped floors as a measure to facilitate converting to other uses, such as offices and shops, if the demand for parking decreases in the future.
The new headquarters of the data analytics firm 84.51 was designed with three floors of above ground parking. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, these floors have higher heights than usual car parks and the façade is similar to the rest of the building. These features will facilitate the repurposing of the parking floors to accommodate future needs.
Urban farms in car parks
We recently posted about Cultivate, a pop-up urban farm initiative in a basement car park in Sydney. This is a pilot program in which employers of the building can harvest fresh produce, attend gardening workshops and take some time to relax and meet other building tenants.
In Paris, an urban farm named La Caverne is located in an abandoned car park below a residential building. The underground farm focuses on cultivating produce which doesn’t require a lot of light such as mushrooms and other microgreens, which grow with the use of LED lights.
Image credits: The Summit and Henry Li