Saying there is parking trouble downtown is a little like saying water is wet. That’s where “The Z,” a new flashy place to park with 1,300 parking spaces on Library Street, comes in. With Detroit’s population growing the past few years as more people come downtown to live, work and play it is certainly a logical idea whose time may have arrived at the perfect time.
Take a look at these stats. Today there are 13,000 new employees downtown bringing the total to 85,000. By 2016 that is expected to grow to 100,000. Add to that the growing number of people coming downtown for events and other things and it is clear Detroit needs more parking.
The name of the new structure comes from the shape of the building. The 10-story, 535,000 square-foot building zigzags into the shape of the letter “Z.”
That is only part of the stylistic approach brought to what was once a common surface lot. The Z was aided by its neighbor the Library Street Collective, which commissioned 27 artists from around the world to decorate the building.
The street artists, muralists, fine artists and graffiti artists came from near and far and included:
• Detroit-based, REVOK
• Saner (Mexico City, Mexico)
• Dabs & Myla (Melbourne, Australia)
• Tristan Eaton (Los Angeles, USA)
• Interesni Kazki (Kiev, Ukraine)
• b. (Athens, Greece)
• HOWNOSM (San Sebastian, Spain)
• Hense (Atlanta, USA)
• SMASH137 (Basel, Switzerland)
“The Z isn’t just a place to park. It is a unique destination where you’d least expect it in Detroit that people will come from near and far to see,” said Dan Mullen, vice president of development at Bedrock Real Estate Services. “From its three-dimensional façade with LED lighting to its walls showcasing breathtaking murals painted by 27 world-renowned international artists, the Z will absolutely be a place to visit time and time again.
“Between the international artwork and the state-of-the-art technology, you won’t find anything else like the Z,” he said.
Aside from just the shape and artistic decorations, this structure is still different than most garages you’ll find in Detroit or the rest of the country. It’s open 24/7 every day of the week. The 33,000-square-foot first floor has been designated for retail. There are LED lights both inside and out. The digital signage is ready to be customized for special events.
The cashless and ticketless parking takes care of the clutter and confusion caused by the more traditional ways. There are charging stations for electric cars as well as badge access for monthly parkers and even a way to get smart phones involved. The Z will also be able to send QR codes to smart phones for validated parking.
“More parking, more retail stores and more restaurants….all of these conveniences and services are part of what is required to create a thriving urban core that people want to live in and visit,” said George Jackson president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, said when the Z was announced back in 2012.
Construction on the retail and parking development began in November 2012. The Z is located at 1234 Library Street. It zigzags from the corner of Broadway and East Grand River to the corner of Library and Gratiot, occupying what was previously a surface lot.