For those of you who have followed us since 2012, you may recognize this article’s title. In 2012, we led a community effort to reshape the VyStar parking garage on Hogan Street into a space that could accommodate ground floor retail. Today, the space that was created through that effort is home to the popular The Court: An Urban Food Park.

However, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. A plan for a 10-story addition to an existing parking garage is proposed for an existing parking lot one block west:

DDRB Application 2023-008 seeks Conceptual Review for the 301 West Bay Street garage expansion. The project consists of expanding an existing 10-story, double-helix parking garage, located at 336 West Bay Street, and providing 500+ additional parking spaces. The proposed garage expansion is a 60-feet by 270-feet, 10-story structure, that is located in the southeast quadrant of the intersection of West Bay Street and South Pearl Street. The subject site is between the existing parking garage, which was built in approximately 1987 and the JTA Skyway. The proposed expansion will integrate traffic flow with the existing garage operations, not adding additional ingress and egress.

Source: DDRB Application 2023-008

Despite years-long talks about the importance of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) locally, the project does not appear to accommodate any ground floor retail space near one of the Skyway’s busiest transit stations.

An interesting component of the project’s design is a narrative that attempts to pay homage to the site’s proximity to the river, its historic rail yard alignment, the Great Fire of 1901 and the evolution of the downtown street grid.

Here’s a look at the project proposed by Amkin Hogan LLC. Let us know what you think of the design and if you believe its okay to not include some form of ground floor retail activation along West Bay Street in this project.