Decorative Garage Opens In Downtown Sarasota

Creative design has set sail in Sarasota.

The Palm Avenue Garage and Retail Shops rang in 2011 with a New Year's opening, and now sits at the corner of Palm Ave. and Main St. in downtown Sarasota. Its design is not typical of a building that shelters cars and merchandise.

The six-story structure's signature detail is a curvaceous, free-form sculptural style that looks like sails billowing out from the side of the building. The design, intended to reflect the area's artistic and modern environment, was created by Architect Jonathan Parks and fabricated by Mullets Aluminum.

Jonathan Parks says the "sails" are designed to let natural light and ventilation into all parking levels while screening the vehicles from public view.

"This is important to creating a welcoming and safe environment for users of the garage while providing a structure that does not look like a parking garage," he says.

Carlson Studio Architecture is overseeing the LEED gold-level certification. According to Parks, environmentally responsible components include an underground retention vault and cistern to store and treat storm water runoff, a portion of which will be reused for the irrigation system. Interior materials provide protection against toxic chemicals, LED lighting and an energy management system reduce energy consumption, and plug-ins will be provided  for electrically powered vehicles.

The garage, constructed by Suffolk Construction, accommodates approximately 743 parking spaces, 20 motorcycle spaces and 80 bicycle spaces, and includes 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground level. The top parking deck provides a view of Sarasota Bay and downtown Sarasota.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Jonathan Parks, Architect

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