|Holman Building demolished for|
Marion Car Park (bottom)
Today, the Marion Car Park itself has become a "contributing resource" in our downtown historic district, and so it requires special permission from the Historic Landmarks Commission to demolish it.
And it will go through a process a lot like Howard Hall's. What goes around comes around!
About the parking garage Virginia Green writes:
[It] is considered to be a property that contributes to the history of the district. It is now recognized for the integrity of the mid-20th century design and its importance in offering convenience to downtown shoppers 60 years ago when suburban developments were making many downtown business centers obsolete.Readers will know that we are no friend of the holes in urban fabric caused by parking garages and surface parking lots, and regard mid-Century autoism with great suspicion, so we start with that bias.
This site, kitty-corner from the Conference Center, and just north of the Boise site, surely can be used in better ways than as an undersized parking garage. At present it is mainly a void in the urban fabric. If the applicant for the demolition also has a plan to redevelop the block, then the new value will in many ways be greater than the value of the old parking garage.
But they shouldn't be able to demolish it without a good redevelopment plan that will immediately be undertaken. If it would linger as a bare lot like the corner immediately to the north - that's no good at all. Another parking garage wouldn't be good, either.
As for the value of the parking garage as historical artifact, both the Catlin & Linn building and the Otto J. Wilson building attest to the first phase of automobile garages in Salem, and as such are more worthy of attention and preservation efforts.
The strongest argument for preservation is that the Marion Car Park represents a mid-century type of parking garage that is rare here. And that's true, so far as it goes.
|Not the Marion Car Park, and much cooler.|
It's hard to imagine the parking garage ever repurposed with new energy and commerce - especially at that location.
The mid-century parking garage is in urban terms an evolutionary dead-end, too small and too specialized and too harmful, and I just don't see a point to saving it.
Do you think otherwise? (If for example, you think the position here on saving Howard Hall and embracing the prospect of demolishing this parking garage is incoherent, let us know! This is a grey area of judgment, for sure.)
The hearing will be July 24th, and since it combines two matters of great interest here - the value of historic preservation and the blight of parking lots - I'm sure there will be more to say once a staff report is out.
Update, July 16th
It's an epic Charlie Foxtrot arising from a foreclosure and neglect!
|From the Staff report recommending a denial of demolition|
Free Parking Bad for Business?
Also in parking...on Sunday there was a note about the problems our current parking rules seem to pose. (Dead horse alert!)
Rather than this Ptolemaic approach, the simplest explanation is that free parking is a bad idea.
Maybe it's time to shift the paradigm and consider paid parking again?