The Historic District Commission approved an odd, complicated plan for Bedrock, who intended to demolish a two-story next to the Book Building in order to build a parking garage. Preservationists and neighbors objected to the loss of the structure, and an agreement was made to save the facade and demolish the interior of the building.
The valet parking garage will be 12 to 13 stories using a flat deck with elevators; Bedrock intends to keep the first two stories for retail use.
The garage is intended to provide much needed parking in anticipation of the retail, offices, residential, and hotel that will be occupying the Book Tower and Building in the coming years.
Bedrock provided no concepts or drawings to the HDC. They will have to be approved before they are built on the site.
The two-story limestone building itself was built in 1929 and served as the Book Tower Arcade; a second tower had been planned at the location but that plan was shelved due to the Great Depression.
The HDC noted that the plans going forward should be flexible, in case the developer wanted to build even higher in the coming years, as was originally intended for the site.
There was a parking structure nearby until it was demoed in the 1970s; that location is now a People Mover station. Bedrock noted that while a lot of new development has opened in downtown in the past few years, not much parking has been added.
Bedrock acquired the Book Tower and Building in 2015. The renovation of the Book Tower and Building should be completed in 2019. Bedrock plans to submit this and other projects (Monroe Blocks, Hudson’s site) to the state for tax increment financing (TIF) before the end of the year.