Grand Rapids considers new parking garage downtown


A partial rendering of one of the concepts for a parking garage next to the Grand Rapids Public Library downtown. Courtesy City of Grand Rapids

In response to continued parking pressures, the city will discuss converting a surface lot downtown into a parking garage.

At its 8 a.m. Dec. 14 meeting, the Mobile GR Commission plans to discuss a recommendation to the Grand Rapids City Commission that the Grand Rapids Public Library Main (Ryerson) Branch surface parking lot be converted into a mixed-use parking structure with about 360 spaces.

The lot is bounded by Fountain Street NE, Ransom Avenue NE and Library Street NE.

Following a 2017 study on the potential of developing the lot, Grand Rapids-based Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber and consultant Carl Walker produced four separate possible concepts for the structure, ranging from five to seven levels high with 258 to 364 spaces.

The estimated cost of the proposed parking structure ranges from $12.25 million to $15 million, with an additional $3-4 million for expanded green-roof elements.

The city parking fund can only be responsible for the costs associated with the public parking element of the project and would need to partner with outside developers on the rest, according to city documents.

One option on the table is issuing a request for proposal, or RFP, to identify a private development partner.

Possible criteria in the RFP could include context-sensitive design, included employee and patron parking for the library, green-energy elements, green space and “activating the streets” surrounding the lot.

The city has historically financed larger parking projects through bonds.

The total cost estimates for the four mixed-use development concepts range from $40-55 million in total investment. 

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