The City of Portsmouth opened the Foundry Place Parking Garage on October 31, 2018. The new structure is 5-stories and has 616 spaces. The $26.2 million municipal parking garage was built to help alleviate the city’s downtown parking crunch.
The garage was built as part of a public/private partnership with Deer Street Associates, which is also building four new mixed-use projects in the vicinity. Historic downtown Portsmouth has been lacking parking for years and development in the area was inhibited by too few available spots. This “enabling” project is intended to encourage further development in the nearby, sought-after area of the city.
City officials worked for more than a decade finding a location for a second downtown parking garage.
According to Marc Stonier, PE, Director of Design, Walker Consultants one of the challenges was the relatively congested site in an urban environment situated between the neighborhood on the south and an active railway to the north.
The logistics dictated the structure and construction method and made precast concrete the most system. Once the foundations were in place the erection went up very quickly and eliminated the need to have batching on site. Trucks delivered the precast components just in time so that site constraints were eased and schedule improved with precast structure recalls Stonier.
Dailey Precast project manager for the Foundry Place Garage, Dan Dailey, explains that Dailey used BIM (building information modeling) to help inform the general contractor and others on the team during the project’s erection phase. “As we came off the foundation, we were able to use BIM to show the Consigli team how all the precast pieces fit with what was already in the ground. Our use of BIM greatly improves coordination between our model and the contractor’s model. We can review every component in 3D and show exactly where it is in the job. Any changes to the project are immediately reflected in the model, with the impact flowing through the entire project’s timeline.”
The Foundry Place Garage took its name from the site’s historic use as a metal-casting foundry. After meeting with committees, stakeholders and town officials the vision to reflect the history of the foundry place emerged. The original buildings on site were used for metal working and represent an important aspect of Portsmouth history. The project team incorporated metal gears in prominent ways on the exterior.
Dailey Precast cast enormous gears into the concrete stair tower. Dailey’s use of lasers in the production process helped with the placement of the gear shapes in the precast components. Additional ornamental gears were added onto the long southeast elevation.
In addition to the gears cast into the precast concrete panels, extruded aluminum plate fabricated gears were secured to the precast spandrels with concealed pin-type connectors. Aluminum decorative fins with curved center c-channel were flanked by flat panels on either side. The structure was also set off with exterior decorative lighting. The fins were attached to break up the long expanse of the precast façade into more manageable segments and add some dimensionality to the flat panels describes Stonier.
Incorporating four colors of concrete, the garage is a very stylish addition to the urban landscape. The shear walls at the end of the garage feature a russet color that resembles existing buildings in the Portsmouth area.
Artist Mary Jo Brown curated the exhibit “Reflections of Portsmouth” in the garage’s flex space. The exhibit features a wall of art on the garage’s first floor, which showcases local artists. The temporary exhibit lines the windows of the garage and adds further color to the ground floor exterior. The art work consists of the “etched glass on the curtain wall of the staircase” and a separate hammer structure near the rotary at the end of Foundry Place.
The new precast parking garage is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, both aesthetically and functionally.