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Seven Parking Garages You and Your Car Will Love

Attractive, aesthetic structures become a driving force

By Kevin Litwin on February 23, 2015

Park Place-crop

Fasten your seat belts: A movement is underway for new parking garages to look unique and attractive instead of the large, bland, gray concrete structures they've always been.

Virginia-based International Parking Institute, which oversees many segments of the parking industry, is pushing for new parking garages to be more sustainable, more pleasing to the eye and more convenient for consumers. Parking is big business in 2015 – a $25 billion industry – so IPI holds an annual competition to recognize outstanding facilities throughout the country.

“We celebrate aesthetics, sustainability, attractiveness and innovations these garages represent,” says Casey Jones, immediate past board chairman with IPI. “The public is starting to take notice of what these structures can look like and so are decision makers in cities. Great things are happening in our industry.”

Here are seven examples of intriguing, interesting, impressive U.S. parking garages:

Community Bookshelf, Kansas City, MO

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The Kansas City Public Library Community Bookshelf is a downtown parking garage that resembles 22 artistic book spines, each measuring 25 feet tall by 9 feet wide and vertically sandwiched between two metal stairwell “bookends.” Book spine titles include Catch 22, Charlotte’s Web and Fahrenheit 451.

Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica, CA

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With colorful exterior panels, the five-story Santa Monica Civic Center parking garage provides close downtown access to City Hall, Civic Auditorium and the County Courthouse. The LEED-certified structure has 900 spaces along with 10 storage lockers for bicycles.

123 Baxter St., New York, NY

In SoHo is New York City’s first automated parking garage, in a 24-unit Baxter Street apartment building. Motorists park their car onto a concrete platform, then a garage operator hydraulically hoists the vehicle and maneuvers the platform to one of 67 spaces on the second or third floor. Owners retrieve their vehicle within two minutes.

1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami, FL

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This seven-story, avant-garde, glass-and-concrete structure at 1111 Lincoln Rd. features 300 parking spaces and beautiful views of Miami’s skyline. There are on-site retail shops and an ocean-view rooftop restaurant, and the seventh floor also doubles as a rental space for weddings, corporate parties and more.

Car Park One, Oklahoma City, OK

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Reflective wire mesh materials take on the color and movement of the sky at the Chesapeake Parking Garage on the campus of Chesapeake Energy Corporation. The four-level, 791-space, stainless steel-colored structure covers a city block and looks like an office building.

Park Place, Missoula, MT

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In Missoula’s central business district, the five-level, 322-space Park Place garage has exterior panels that look like a mosaic painting, celebrating the natural landscape with goldenrod and blue-gray colors along with a steel swoop in the shape of mountains. A market deli operates on the ground floor.

Greenway Self Park, Chicago, IL

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At the corner of Clark and Kinzie streets is the 900-space Greenway Self Park, billed as Chicago’s first earth-friendly parking garage. Besides a pleasing design, the structure has green amenities like solar-efficient glass, energy-generating wind turbines and a glazed screen exterior facade.

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