Forward Thinking Construction

Charlotte is growing like crazy — there’s no doubt about that. From new sky rise apartments, the revitalization of South End, to the ever-growing restaurant and retail scene – the city has deservingly taken the award of the 13th fastest growing American city. Likewise, as our country sees an increase in urbanization, steps are being taken to reduce the parking requirement nationwide. As new parking decks, garages, lots, and street parking are created — our country needs to utilize forward thinking when it comes to construction initiatives.


Forward Thinking Starts Now

As new infrastructure is designed, mapped out, and constructed — it’s necessary for developers to plan for the future, especially since the future of parking is well, no parking.

Many construction companies are following the no-parking-future suit — some are even implementing ways to monetize current developments. If the future lacks parking, then being able to convert parking garages into office, residential, retail, and other business spaces is ideal. An apartment complex in the City of Denver, Denizen, has the ability to convert 30 of its 275 parking stalls into street-level storefronts. One of the major perks is the fact that the apartments are about 20 feet from a light rail platform, which will greatly benefit the future tenants.


Another development in Denver, the proposed World Trade Center Denver campus, has initiated future plans to repurpose over 700-above ground parking spots into an array of residential and office spaces.

The Revitalization of Parking Garages

Some construction companies are thinking of convertible garages, which can ultimately reconstruct the parking spaces into potential residential, retail, and business spots. LMN Architects are designing a 1,029-foot tower in Seattle that will feature residential units, retail spaces, a hotel, office space, as well as eight floors of underground parking. The real benefit: the fact that the eight floors of underground parking can be transformed into apartments and office spaces. The architecture firm is expecting the $290 million development to survive 50-100 years.

“If that’s the case, we do need to make sure — I feel we do have the responsibility — that if the parking uses do change, we design to be able to adapt to that change,” said John Chau, LMN partner.

But can growing cities keep up?

As parking eventually makes its exit, it’s evident that new construction methods need to take into consideration the lack of cars, as well as parking spaces. Times are changing and it’s time we create developments that can change in the future without having to be torn down.

The real question is: can growing cities like Charlotte consider rezoning that goes beyond reducing the parking space requirement and plan for the future of less cars through requiring convertible garages or pull throughs for shared cars?