A new vision for parking downtown.... http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/A...aspx?e=2991303
By Monique Beech
Posted 1 hour ago
Based on the 3-D video, the still-under-construction Carlisle St. parking garage in downtown St. Catharines is more than an average car drop-off depot.
Picture layers of brick and glass, an arched entranceway, a wavy roof designed to collect rainwater and landscaping befitting a high-class office building.
That's the look St. Catharines-based firm Macdonald, Zuberec and Ensslen Architects Inc. — which recently released a 3-D model video of the $26.7 million city project — was going for.
Principal architect Greg Redden said the new garage — which will replace a 25-year-old garage that was torn down last year — will play a big role in the city as the primary parking for the future St. Cathaines Performing Arts Centre, which is slated to open in 2014.
"It was designed to look less like a traditional parking garage and more like a building which is better integrated into the community," said Redden, principal architect behind the 600-space garage, which will have five storeys above ground and one below when its complete, likely by August.
"The brick which is being used, for example, on the building is similar to that was used on (the neighboring Ministry of Transportation) building. So it has drawn cues from existing buildings around it so it fits in better."
Construction of the garage started in July and is expected to be complete by August.
City engineer Paul Mustard said work on the structure has slowed down recently thanks to frosty temperatures and blasts of snow.
But Mustard said the project should be done on time and on budget.
Two-thirds of the money for the garage came from federal and provincial infrastructure funding, which stipulated projects had to be complete by March 31.
Last month, the city requested an extension from the federal government until Oct. 31. Ottawa announced in December that behind-schedule infrastructure projects could apply for extra time to complete construction.
Mustard said the federal government has received the city's request, but has yet to get back to officials.
"We don't anticipate any problems," Mustard said.
Redden said his firm released the video to give St. Catharines residents an idea of how the garage will look.
"Right now it looks like a typical construction site where the general population would no idea what the final product is going to look like," Redden said.
"There are a few elements, like the arched entranceways that are now visible. I thought that since we had done the computer model to convey the design idea to the city for approval we should take it one step further and do this little fly around (video) and if people were curious about what was going on we could sort of show them the end result."
The parking garage has about 12,000 sq. feet of retail floor space and the potential of housing up to seven stores.