The City of Grand Rapids was looking for creative ways to add parking to a densely built downtown area and find a better use for a small but prominent piece of land. The City engaged Fishbeck and WGI to study innovative ideas for the underused parking lot south of the existing Ottawa-Fulton Parking Facility. The project design ideas included an addition to the parking ramp, ground-level retail, and upper floor office and/or residential.
While parking is a great need in today’s environment, the City had the foresight to plan for a time of reduced parking requirements and increased demand for useable floor space.
The final element in the study required the insertion of retail spaces along Ottawa Avenue. Like the new parking structure to the south, this part of the study was a nod to the future. As parking demands begin to wane, the activation of the street can take priority and provide a new use for an existing structure. The spaces would be provided with access to Ottawa Avenue along one of the prime walking corridors leading to the Van Andel Arena.