Written by Robin Schwartz
The Z garage, the first ground-up development built, owned and managed by Bedrock Real Estate Services, has won an Architizer A+ ‘Popular Choice’ award following a worldwide online contest. Located on the site of two formerly empty surface lots on a single city block, the parking structure, designed by Detroit-based Neumann/Smith Architecture, is surrounded by Library, Grand River, Broadway and Gratiot Streets. The 10-level, 33,000 square foot structure offers 1,287 parking spaces along with original artwork, restaurants, entertainment venues, a yoga studio and vibrant retail shops on the ground floor. It’s called “The Z” because it sits on a Z-shaped site that straddles an alley surrounded by seven existing buildings.
Now in its third year, the Architizer A+ Awards are the largest architectural awards program in the world. More than 200,000 votes were cast from more than 100 countries in a variety of caetgories. Participants overwhelmingly chose The Z over several other parking structures from Boston, Massachusetts; Santa Monica, California; Lexington, Kentucky; and Velenje, Slovenia.
“We are proud and honored The Z is a fan favorite among architectural aficionados everywhere,” said Jim Ketai, Bedrock’s managing partner and CEO. “We worked hard to infuse this structure with energy, color, excitement and state-of-the-art technology, making it more than just a place to park but a unique destination in downtown Detroit for people to visit time and time again.”
Among its many memorable features, The Z is filled with stunning murals painted by 27 world-renowned international artists. The art gallery Library Street Collective collaborated with Bedrock to bring the artists to downtown Detroit. The thoughtfully designed parking structure also features RGB LED lighting, a glass elevator core and smart technologies. The brightly lit and open glass elevators and staircase are cutting-edge and give people an added sense of safety and security.
“This structure is an example of game-changing design,” said Scott Bonney, project designer with Neumann/Smith Architecture. “The Z has a powerful positive impact on Detroit in many ways. It provides critical parking spaces, it helps create jobs, and it also serves as an urban art installation. The Z is a prime example of taking a practical necessity and turning it into an attraction that appeals to the young movers and shakers.”
New businesses in structure’s retail space include restaurants Punch Bowl Social and 7 Greens, high-end sneaker shop Nojo Kicks, and yoga studio, Citizen Yoga. Additional new businesses are on the way. The alley that runs through The Z (known as ‘The Belt’) serves as an additional destination with an outdoor art exhibit, a lighted canopy and cobblestone walkway. New activation including food trucks, seating and live music will be added this summer.
Architizer.com describes The Z this way: “The experience of circling around the parking deck is like driving through an art museum, discovering a little piece of Detroit on each floor. The Z has already become an iconic destination for art tours and out-of-towners, it is more than just a parking garage, it is a parking experience!”
Congratulations to the Z for this well-deserved honor! Architizer A+ awards will be handed out during a gala event in New York City in May.
For more information, go to architizer.com. To learn more about Bedrock Real Estate Services, visit bedrockmgt.com or call (800) 300-9833. For more about Neumann/Smith Architecture, visit neumannsmith.com.