Detroit, Michigan




$9 Million


1998 - 1999


600 Cars


International Parking Institute
2000 Award of Merit

BEI designed a parking garage to serve the Downtown Business District in Detroit. The garage is owned and operated by the Detroit Municipal Parking Department. In addition to serving convention parking, it also provides extra parking for downtown's rapidly expanding daily needs. Desman Associates, a Chicago-based parking structure specialist, was a sub-consultant to BEI on this project.

Located at the northeast corner of First and Congress Streets in Detroit, the facility is 9 levels high, two bays wide and contains 600 parking spaces on an extremely short site. The site measures approximately 132 feet wide by 200 feet long. The column spacing consists of an 18-foot by 58-foot structural grid. The average parking and drive aisle slopes are approximately 6 percent. The city's design to provide ground level retail and a generous parking office results in the need for non-parkable specialty ramps. This results in a parking efficiency of about 335 square feet per car space, excluding 3,000 square feet of ground floor commercial retail area.

Due to very small site dimensions and a need for 8'-2" head clearance, all four sides of this parking facility are sloped. Aesthetically it was decided to hide the odd shaped end wall slopes with solid precast concrete wall treatment and utilize staggered precast concrete spandrel units on long sloped sides to eliminate the continuous sloped statement prevalent in many decks. Colors on all four facades are in harmony and complement adjacent structures. The precast panel spandrels are blue-green in color. These spandrels are intermittently separated with beige column covers. A 3 " wide bright red acrylic vertical design element frames and divides the column covers from the spandrels. These red vertical bands are also utilized on the west elevation adjacent to columns from the bottom of the west blue-green precast units up continuously to the roof level. Excitement has been achieved by usage of curved blue-green colored scalloped resinous design segments at the roof level along the main street. In addition, to separate the higher down ramp roof scallops from the lower up ramp roof scallops, a vertical punched-in window design element is employed which further deviates from the typical sloped deck design.

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