The long-awaited Saratoga Springs City Center Parking Garage opened to the public in November, 2020. Located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs, the new multi-story structure fills the needs of residents, tourists and the City Center conference complex.
Prior to the new garage coming on line, Downtown Saratoga had a serious shortage of available parking, especially during the tourist filled summer months. After a decade of planning and collaborating with residents, businesses and advocacy groups, construction finally began in September 2019. The new five level, parking garage offers secure, covered parking for more than 620 vehicles.
The building features a covered pedestrian bridge to the City Center convention center, electric car charging stations and a rooftop area that can be used for parking or convention-related activities. The City plans to utilize the parking structure in unique ways, including catered events on the rooftop and a local farmers market in the interior spaces during the winter.
The $17 million design build project partnered Bette & Cring Construction Group with Envision Architects and Ryan Biggs Engineering, and utilized precast concrete from Dailey Precast.
Saratoga Springs has a rich history and allows for new construction as long as the mass, scale and texture does not negatively impact the significant character of the surrounding area. With that in mind, inspiration for architectural features on the garage and the connector bridge draws from the distant past and the present day. The façade features details from the arched train station that once ushered passengers to the region as well as the current vibrant downtown. Dailey Precast produced architectural precast panels that utilized pigments and thin brick to achieve the desired aesthetic.
In keeping with the traditional and visual cues of the region, two different colors were utilized in the exterior panels and a total of three different thin bricks were selected for the façade. The architectural precast panels were used to create false columns that feature a Buffalo brown color and a schoolhouse red brick for a traditional appearance. Around the window wall cornices a pumpernickel color evokes the historic feel of the neighborhood.
In addition to the architectural precast used to blend the structure into its surroundings, Dailey Precast fabricated the structural precast components for the garage. It took the team just six weeks to install more than 500 pieces of precast concrete. The aggressive schedule and the small building footprint were all an effort to minimize the disturbance to the area businesses.
The tight site and the narrow roads in downtown Saratoga created significant congestion in and around the project. With no storage on site and no drop yard, precast pieces were sent in sequential order and timed to arrive at the site with minimal wait and just in time for crane pick. A New York State Department of Transportation checkpoint on I-87 caused Dailey trucks to frequently arrive out of order.
While there were some delays due to Covid-19 restrictions, the project was deemed essential and was allowed to resume. The side benefit to the pandemic shutdown was that it provided an empty mall parking lot nearby to reorganize trucks. PSI Erectors coordinated with Dailey to install the large piece sizes and number of precast components. The first piece was installed in June, 2020 and the last piece was set at the end of July, 2020.
Adding to the project constraints were large changes in grade across the site. One portion of the structure serves as a cast-in-place concrete retaining wall. With five supported levels built into the significant slope, the garage features entrances at ground level and at the second level.
In contrast to the overall rich brown appearance of the exterior, the stair towers are enclosed in glass and topped with precast slabs. Eight large sloping precast slabs cover the large tower closest to the city center. Four precast sloping slabs top the smaller stair tower.
The success of the City Center and the vibrancy of downtown businesses created the need for several hundred more parking spaces. The garage was the missing link in the effort to help the downtown flourish. People attending conventions and other events at City Center or visiting the downtown district restaurants and retail businesses, can park in the garage and not have to wipe snow off their car.