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1919 Garage Patent

Seeing how far parking structures have come is a good exercise to see how far they can still go. Twenty-five years ago, Rich & Associates gathered copies of many historic parking related patents illustrating some of the early creativity in parking design. Some of these patents date back as far as 1919.

The patent below is for a design created by Eugene Higgins in 1918, a fellow Michigander who hailed from Jackson, Michigan. This unique spiral ramp design was conceived for use as a self-service parking structure or a storage building. At the time, parking buildings were primarily attendant parking operations. Mr. Higgins’ design attempted to eliminate the need for valet attendants allowing motorists to park their own vehicles on one of the multiple levels.

While we have no record of this building type ever being constructed, the design represents one of the earliest plans for helical or spiral express ramps used in many parking structures today. While the helical or spiral ramp designs have significantly evolved over time, many parking designs and systems of today started with innovative engineers like Mr. Higgins.

At Rich & Associates, our planners and designers are always looking into new ways to improve parking like many of the early innovators like Mr. Higgins.

parking structure design

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The Rich & Associates Family

Rich & Associates Parking ConsultantsOur R&A Family:

Our veteran staff, comprised of architects, engineers, and planners, have turned Rich & Associates into a family-like culture of professionals who genuinely care about one another and our clients. “A lot of our staff has been working together since the start of our careers. We kinda grew-up together and went through many of life’s big moments. From getting married to having kids, and even grandkids now. It’s definitely a special environment and not something everyone gets out of their workplace.” -Sally Rich

Rich & Associates by nature is a family based company employing many children of our founder, Richard C. Rich. “Even if you are not blood-related, they make you feel like family”-Deb Kolar, bookkeeping

Recipe for Success:

Turnover is definitely not a problem at Rich & Associates. On average, our employees have been with the company for over 20 years. Our veteran staff is what sets Rich & Associates apart. The familiarity our staff has with one another is almost comical. Two of our senior designers have worked together on so many parking projects over the years they finish each other’s sentences. “They know each other so well it’s like they know what the other is going say about a project before they say anything at all.” -Sally Rich

Our culture is unlike many other firms in the industry. “I think the most important part of running a company is having everyone buy into the success of the company. When people are working for the success of our company along with the success of our clients— great things happen.” -Richard C. Rich

The entire company’s drive is to achieve and maintain a successful business and working environment even during stressful times like the recent recession. The past recession was a trying time in our company. During that period, we saw many firms shut their doors. But we banded together as a family and not only survived but thrived.

Over the past few years, we have been blessed. We have been engaged in many exciting parking projects throughout the country and have added new members to the Rich & Associates family. The holidays are a good time to reflect on how blessed we are to have a great place to work.

However, none of this would be possible without the many great partners and colleagues we have had the pleasure of working with and the many great clients we serve. Because of you, Rich & Associates will be celebrating our 55th anniversary in January 2018.

From the Rich & Associates family to yours, we want to thank you and wish you a very happy and healthy Holiday Season.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Cost of Parking
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Cost of Parking at Disneyland

Parking has significantly risen over the years. Today, it costs about $20 a day to park at Disneyland. But can you guess what year it cost only .25¢ to park there?

The answer is 1965.

Can you believe it only cost .25¢ to park at Disneyland!? While we must consider inflation, it is hard to imagine parking costs so low! Although we may never see parking costs this low ever again, keepsakes like this are a reminder of the “good ole days” when parking costs were as the cost of a gumdrop.

Disneyland Parking

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Is Your Parking Structure Ready For Winter?

Whether you like winter or not, there’s no way to stop it. It is coming. And if you’re one of those lucky people that don’t get cold winter weather, this article is not for you. It is for those who live in a cold harsh climate; those who want to ensure the longevity of their parking structure by utilizing the winterization list in the infographic.

With over 54 years experience in parking, Rich & Associates’ has come up with a list of 5 things to help you protect your parking structure this winter against the harsh climate. Check out the 5 steps we came up within the infographic below.

 

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New Life At — Bloomfield Hills Park

If you worked in the A/E/C (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) field from 2008-2014 you are very much aware that the industry was in a very tough place. Large projects were halted, people were laid off, and some firms even folded. The recession hit our industry hard, but we are a tough group of individuals, who because of our grit and determination made it through that hard spell. 

Prior to the recession, there was a major mixed-use development project named “Bloomfield Park” underway in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The original development was to include 19 buildings made up of office space, retail and residential uses; along with three parking structures. Phase 1 construction, estimated at around $350 million, began in 2006. Abruptly the project was halted in 2008, due to the beginning of the recession. Left behind was a wasteland of unfinished buildings including the three parking structures.

Today, 9 years later new life is being breathed into the project. The new developer “REDICO” brings a new vision to the project, which includes demolishing most of what was originally constructed including two of the three parking structures. Construction of the 3rd parking structure was approximately 90% complete when the original development was stopped in 2008. 

Rich & Associates was retained by the developer to provide consulting and design services so that construction of the 3rd parking structure could be completed. When Rich & Associates assessed what construction work was in place and developed a scope of what work was needed to complete the structure, it was determined that due to code changes, deterioration, and outdated technology presented created new design challenges including; 

  • Code changes that required design and installation of all new handrails in the vertical cores.
  • Changes in the elevator shafts were required to accommodate elevators with technology different than the original design in 2006.
  • Repairs were required to some areas of the structure that deteriorated over time.
  • The roof of the vertical core (which was not in place when the project was stopped) was originally designed as a precast roof. The cost of erecting that precast roof piece today was prohibitive. Therefore, a new steel roof system was designed instead.

Finally, The heavy traffic on Telegraph and Square Lake Road will no longer be littered with reminders of the 2008 recession. The traffic will be invited to visit “The Village at Bloomfield” in the near future. Demolition on the unsoluble buildings is underway, and construction on the rest of the project is hoping to get started in Spring 2018.

 

 

 

Project Spotlight
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1855 Place | Michigan State University

Big things are happening at Michigan State University.

MSU has invested in a new development that includes residential units, and office space. The new development known as 1855 Place, includes 429 units in 10 separate apartment buildings and an 881 vehicle parking structure.

We were lucky enough to work with world-class partners, Neumann Smith, Walbridge, and Kerkstra Precast in the development of the parking structure.

 

Michigan State Parking Structure

MSU Parking Deck

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Meet Heather, Our New Autocad Technician!

Meet Heather Derstine the newest addition to Rich & Associates!

Heather is a 5th-year student at Lawrence Tech University, and graduating in December with a degree in interior architecture. She is working at Rich & Associates as an Autocad Technician. I sat down with Heather to learn a little more about her.

Originally from Midland MI, Heather chose Lawrence Tech because they had an interior architecture program and because it gave her the opportunity to continue her soccer career in college. She said her favorite part of playing soccer at Lawrence Tech was finally making the conference tournament in her senior year. Heather has two siblings, a brother that studies bio-chem at Hope College in Holland, MI and a sister that is a physicians assistant outside of D.C.

Heather said she really enjoyed going to Lawrence Tech because of the hands-on approach in their architecture program. The projects give students the opportunity to build a personal portfolio before they even start in the workforce.

Fun Facts about Heather…

She is totally into Sci-Fi! She loves Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. She said she likes Star Trek, but definitely, doesn’t consider herself a Trekkie. Heather said she had a really great summer and was able to go to the beach frequently. She also took a trip to Florida, for a leadership conference with her sorority.
Like most people… Heather wasn’t sure what to expect when she found out that Rich & Associates designed parking structures. But after working here for a couple weeks, she said. She has found that there is much more to the design and the overall planning and implementation of parking. She admitted, “Now I find myself evaluating parking structures wherever I go; before I don’t think I noticed them at all.”

Heather is definitely a bright young and talented architect and we are excited to see what she is capable of at Rich & Associates!

 

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Park(ing) Day

 

park(ing) dayEveryone at Rich & Associates knows parking is about more than just two yellow lines. It’s about mobility, people, and community. And that is what Park(ing) day is about! The annual worldwide event transforms parking spaces into pop-up parks for one. Dreamed up by San Francisco art group Rebar, the event challenges people to reimagine parking spots as mini-parks. It is celebrated the 3rd Friday in September.

Park(ing) Day is a great way for people in parking to take a minute to reflect on the reason we have parking at all. It is for people, and Park(ing) Day gives us a reason to talk about the necessity of public planning officials to work towards making urban environments more pedestrian friendly, rather than just for vehicle parking. Annaka Norris, a 12-year parking planning veteran at Rich & Associates is a mobility expert… She had this is to say about the importance of planning for people, not vehicles. “When planning for parking, we plan for people and alternative means of transportation. From lighting to green space we should work towards urban areas that are more pedestrian friendly, and Park(ing) Day starts that conversation.”

Rich & Associates participated in the worldwide event by transforming 3 parking spaces into a “Cookout BBQ Lunch Space! It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun; even playing some cornhole!

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Content Marketing

Is content marketing part of your marketing strategy? The answer should be yes!

No matter what industry you’re in, even in the parking industry, content marketing should be a part of your marketing plan. “Content Marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” -Google Dictionary

Whether your firm is B2B or B2C (business to business or business to consumer), content marketing is a great way to create a relationship with your client base. Don’t believe us? Check out the info in the infographic! “B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more website traffic than those blogging 0-1 times.” Having a blog is a great way to get traffic to your website and interaction with your brand. From social media to blog posts, content marketing has a less invasive approach compared to traditional marketing. It creates the interest for the consumer, which is the first step in creating a positive relationship with your customer/client/consumer (whoever they might be).

While Facebook marketing is not always the answer to B2B marketing, it is important to have an updated page showing clients you are invested in your marketing and keeping up to date with your marketing strategies. Your Facebook Page should be an extension of your brand, including fonts, corporate colors, and overall tone. It may be a good idea to have more of personal tone on social media, so people can relate to your brand on a personal level.

If you want to mix content marketing into your marketing strategy we recommend starting with a blog and publishing 1-2 posts a month, and keeping an updated Facebook Page. The blog will not only help your SEO (or search engine optimization) on your company’s website, it will give you great content to post on social media sites as well!

Check out the infographic for more on content marketing!

content marketing

 

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The Beauty of Mixed-Use

While mixed-use parking structures started sometime in the 1950s… It has been a major trend in parking structure design over the past 20 years. The mixed-use garage is a great design for many reasons. In particular, it allows the pedestrians of a city to have a street view of the shops, retail, or even gym within the ground level of the garage. The Z-Deck in Detroit Michigan even created a whole walkway for entertainment, art display, and pure genius.

 

Rich & Associates acted as a consultant to the lead architect Neumann Smith on the Z-Deck. The parking structure is unlike any other in the world. Every level has wall length art murals painted by artists from all over the world. The colorful playfulness of the inside of the garage creates a modern interior facade that makes you forget that you are actually in a parking structure. The odd Z shape creates an alley in the middle of the structure that is filled with life. From bars and restaurants to public displays of art, the alley, known as “The Beltway” serves as a destination for locals and tourists alike.

On the lower level of the Z-Deck, lies within it an amazing restaurant and bar called Punch Bowl Social. A hip and modern eatery and bar equipped with a bowling alley, arcade games, ping pong and food that will keep you coming back. The rest of the Z-Deck ground level is filled even more shops and restaurants.

It’s very interesting to ponder what the block on Broadway and Grand River would look like if this structure was not mixed-use. The parking structure does more than just influence the block, it makes it. This block would not be thriving were it not for the mixed-use structure making it. We were thankful to be apart of such an amazing development in the heart of Detroit with Bedrock Real Estate and Neumann Smith Architecture.

When designing parking it is always important we remember that we design them for people, not just cars.