Project Spotlight

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

Not Parking

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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Not Parking

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!

Not Parking

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


Not Parking
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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.


Project Spotlight

500 Pearl St. Mixed Use Parking Structure

Mixed-use structures are a great way to combine functional parking architecture with other uses. Rich & Associates is excited to announce massive progress on our project in Buffalo, New York. The project is a new 12-story mixed-use structure includes a 109-room hotel, 28 apartment units and 30,000 square feet of commercial office space. The first 6 stories of the development will be a 390 space parking structure with 12,000 sf of retail and restaurant space.


The new 12-story structure will internally tie into the existing 4 story Buffalo Christian Center Building, will be repurposed to complement the uses in the new structure including the use of the existing pool, a large banquet facility, lounge and meeting spaces. The proposed façade will screen the lower levels of the building to effectively conceal the structured parking within. Open terraces and curtain wall glass dominate the upper floors dedicated to the office, residential and hotel uses.



Responsible for parking consulting and architectural contract documents of the parking structure, we are proud to work with other talented firms on the project including lead architect – Kideney Architects, Tredo Engineers, High Concrete Group, Precast Services, and Lechase Construction.

Not Parking

Rich & Associates Volunteer at Life Remodeled Detroit

I think I would be hard pressed to find someone at my firm who said they have lots of time on their hands… or find someone that would say work just wasn’t that challenging right now. The truth is, we’re busy. And it’s easy to get swept up into the hustle of everyday work life and forget there are bigger things than your work and ultimately yourself. I was reminded of this last week when I volunteered with AIA-Detroit during the Life Remodeled 6-Day Project in Detroit.

Every year AIA-Detroit promotes the 6-Day Project event to their AIA members and architecture firms around Detroit to get volunteers to roll up their sleeves and give back. Life Remodeled is a Detroit-based nonprofit that continuously works on bettering Detroit neighborhoods. Every year Life Remodeled invests approximately 5 million in cash, labor, and materials into a Detroit neighborhood. This was the biggest 6-Day Project to date.

How We Helped

The AIA-Detroit group was bused to a block in Detroit near the old Central High School (the first high school ever built in Detroit and opened in 1863). Our job was to clear the over grown brush and tree branches that covered the sidewalks and abandoned houses so members of the community would feel safe to walk the streets to get to school, or perhaps to go to the new community innovation center that is currently being created from the old elementary school a few blocks away. (click here to donate for their renovation efforts. Just $10 gets your name on the gym floor which I thought was a pretty cool idea.)

I cannot say I am a fan of yard work or noisy landscaping tools… But you would’ve thought our group of architects, engineers (and marketing professionals like yours truly) were professional landscapers. We all jumped for weed-whippers, lawnmowers, and hedge trimmers. It wasn’t exactly fun work but at the same time, I was having fun. Everyone at the event was truly working their butts off to give this block the face-lift it needed to be safe for the community. It was especially rewarding when a car stopped by and invited everyone to a block party later to thank us for our work (true story).


My Takeaways from the Event

Driving around the surrounding neighborhoods was a true eye-opener that the everyday annoyances I encounter from people not returning my emails, or missed deadlines are a very small speckle compared to the problems that communities like this face every day. While many of us consider ourselves to be “busy” we need to make sure we fit in community-enriching things too. Life is much bigger than bottom-lines and deadlines. Giving back when we can really needs to be more of a priority for us all.

If you’d like to learn more about Life Remodeled or donate to their amazing efforts – Click here!


Infographic: Keys To Community Engagement

Keeping your community and stakeholders involved in your planning process is a critical part of a successful parking plan. The fieldwork data is only going to get you so far. You need to understand the ins and outs of your parking system to come up with a parking plan that is going to make the most sense for your constituents. And while all the community engagement is necessary, it’s definitely not easy information to get. Planning a successful community engagement meeting with stakeholders is key to getting the right information.

So… lucky for you I consulted our parking planning professionals to get some insight into their experience on planning a great community evolvement session. (hint: they said to always bring snacks).


keys for community engagment


Project Spotlight
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Rich To The Rescue

At Rich & Associates, I can assure you parking is not an after thought. We understand it is one of the most important factors of any successful large development project. But we also understand parking is definitely not the most glamorous part of a development. Therefore, it is not surprising that sometimes parking is overlooked. While not all architects hire a parking consultant, we have a firm belief that all should!

We recently helped a lead architect get his project back on the right track! Facing construction budget challenges, the lead architect on a 400 space parking structure turned to Rich & Associates for help.

Rich & Associates’ expert parking designers took the architect’s schematic design drawings and made significant improvements in the efficiency of the precast concrete superstructure. Our designers were able to reduce the overall square footage of construction while at same time yield more parking spaces. The infographic below illustrates the Rich Difference.



By reorganizing the structural framing, Rich & Associates’ plan also resulted in the elimination of column rows equating to 13 fewer columns and the associated foundations. Rich’s parking designers also recognized the opportunity to reduce the number of stair towers by two. The Rich Difference resulted in substantial cost savings. We are proud to be able to use our skills as parking consultants to improve complicated parking problems like this one. Although parking isn’t the first thought of an exciting new development…

We like to look at ourselves as the silent hero that saves the day while everyone is asleep. Only for them to wake up to a perfectly planned project.

Need us to help you rescue your parking project?

Call us today!

Project Spotlight

Critical Milestone Reached in the Construction of Henry Street West Garage

Henry West Rendering


Critical milestone reached in the construction of the Henry Street West Garage

The final piece of precast was recently erected on a new parking structure at Henry and Park in Detroit, Michigan. The structure is a first-class building which will support the residential and retail developments within The District Detroit, a transformational 50-block development between Midtown and downtown Detroit. The centerpiece of The District is the Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons. The new arena will be surrounded by an exciting mix of retail, restaurants, office and residential developments creating an energized walkable destination for people to live, work and play.

The new 530 car structure features an articulated precast concrete façade and a mixed-use eight-story liner building. The liner building, also constructed of precast concrete, will include ground level retail and restaurants and seven levels of loft-style residential units and a rooftop sky deck offering views of the city, One Eleven West.

Working closely with Olympia Development of Michigan, Street-Works Studio, Colasanti-MIG JV (construction managers) and architects for the residential liner building, Rich & Associates served as prime design firm providing parking consulting, architectural and structural engineering design. We are looking forward to its grand opening in time for the Red Wings home opener.