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end grocery store and retail shops.The site, a former strip mall with an expansive surface lot, sat vacant for more than a decade before construction of the Towne Centre. While the initial proposal for the new development was met with concern from the surrounding retail owners, the result is that the additional consumer traffic resulting fromthe newtown center has benefited the community as a whole. Although it is too early to evaluate the success of

the project, the Annapolis Towne Centre appears to be a good example of a successful mixed-use develop- ment. The careful planning and execution of the park- ing strategy provides those who live and work there with a sense of community in the context of a walkable mixed-use neighborhood. At theAnnapolis Towne Centre, one parking facility

incorporates retail and banking spaces to help create vibrancy at street level, rather than sacrificing the street to a blank parking garage façade. Because the parking struc- tures are part of the streetscape, the façade design com- plements the architecture of the surrounding buildings. The design pays special attention to the details – materials

The Towson Town Center garage expansion helped to create amore vibrant “downtown” feeling, creating amore attractive pedestrian experience.

selection references and reinforces the connections to adjacent buildings. The articulation of the brick patterns, variation in color and texture of precast concrete, and decorative iron work are designed to enhance the garage façades, offer pedestrian scale at street level, and blend well with adjacent structures. It is an exceptional

example of a mixed-use development serving a vari- ety of population demo- graphics in a single location. Parking has played a critical role, supporting a diversity of user groups. Similarly, Towson

Town Center successfully integrates parking to sup- port a large mixed-use development. It recently embarked on a major expansion and renovation of its facilities. The project transformed the devel- opment from an indoor shopping center into a premier urban, mixed-use destination. The expansion of the town center included the addition of a

variety of new retail stores and restaurants to bringmore activity to the streets. The project included the expansion of an existing parking facility to accommodate additional retail and restaurant locations and patrons. To better use available space and provide opportunities for

new retail and restaurants, the owners chose to integrate signifi- cant mixed-use space into the expanded parking facility. As a result, it features newrestaurant space for nationally known fran- chises. The use of an outdoor seating area allows for increased activity along the street fostering a greater sense of public space. The parking facility is linked to the shopping center via an

elevated pedestrian walkway. To help people feel more comfort- able, the walkway was designed as a occupied space and fea- tures finished floors, ornate ceilings and decorative lighting to provide a welcoming gateway out of the garage. The exterior of the Towson Town Center garage combines

The articulation of the brick patterns, variation in color and texture of precast concrete, and decorative iron work are designed to enhance the garage façades, offer pedestrian scale at street level, and blend well with adjacent structures.

a level of finish consistent with the quality of surrounding urban environment. The architect designed the façade with a modern theme, incorporating a circular stair tower at the corner of the block. This corner turret punctuates the inter- section and serves as a totem to identify the town center. More literal sig- nage takes the form of a large etched-glass sign that runs along the top of the garage façade, contribut- ing to the unique character of the place. The expanded Towson

Town Center garage pro- vided valuable parking infrastructure to accommo- date a growing community and effectively integrate spaces for more people- oriented uses. It has con-

tributed significantly to the vision of transforming the Towson Town Center from a simple shopping center to a pedestrian- friendly “main street” atmosphere. Both the Annapolis Towne Centre and the Towson Town

Center provide realistic and attractive examples of how parking can be integrated intomixed-use development, as the foundation for successful place-making. As towns and cities continue to seek opportunities to incor-

porate new town center developments into their communities, parking will continue to serve as essential infrastructure to sup- port the density needed to make complex development finan- cially viable. When planned and designed properly, parking can con-

tribute to vibrant, walkable and convenient “people places,” in town centers, and beyond.

Ed Rahme, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Chief Architect at Timothy Haahs & Associates, can be reached at Megan Leinart, LEED AP, Marketing Coordinator at TimHaahs, can be reached at


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