New Parking Garage Serves as A Gateway to Durham’s Downtown Core

Photo Courtesy of Balfour Beatty

Seven years ago, the City of Durham, NC was faced with a challenge—their existing parking garages were at capacity. Following a needs assessment and feasibility study, City leaders identified a 1.16-acre surface parking lot site as the future location of the new Morgan Rigsbee Parking Garage.

The design of the garage required innovation and creativity to accommodate the curvature and significant grade change of the site and its proximity to neighboring businesses and residents. The design features license plate recognition cameras to provide access into the garage, a first for the City. The garage also contains a split-slab waterproofing system over the retail areas to minimize future maintenance costs.

Durham has a Public Art Program that includes numerous temporary and permanent works on exhibit throughout the City. From the beginning of the Morgan Rigsbee project, City leaders had a clear vision to include dynamic, meaningful artwork in the Morgan Rigsbee Parking Garage to fully integrate the structure into the vibrant downtown culture. Through a series of community outreach sessions and a contest, the City selected Durham native Gabriel Eng-Goetz’s design “Leading the Charge” to adorn the garage. Eng-Goetz’s design was printed on a series of banners that were then secured to the southern façade of the structure.

The new garage opened in March 2019 and has a cast-in-place, post-tensioned concrete structural system. The facility also has 665 parking spaces wrapped with 15,100 square feet of commercial and retail space, and 5,080 square feet of office space for the City of Durham Parking Administration. Kimley-Horn provided civil engineering, landscape architecture, structural engineering, and parking design services for the project. The project team also included Balfour Beatty, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Engineered Designs, Inc., and Falcon Engineering, Inc.

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