Great Place | a sexy parking garage where design is the brand

Part of “a great place” – a series of engaging spaces for consideration…and perhaps inspiration for the people who build places everyday. 

How much design is too much design?” – the on-going challenge in building any product, including places. At the end of the day, development is a business and a major economic driver with employees, suppliers, contractors and yes – a profit requirement.

Bottom-line- New places need to “pencil” and the art is finding the balance of aesthetic design to financial feasibility. On one side- the “finance guys” don’t like risk & cheaper feels so-less-risky. On the other side- the “marketers” like to sell a product that people will actually find interesting & well…boring or ugly is so-less-sell-able.

That said, at times going beyond the known in design creates a powerful brand that people find engaging and value (think Apple)The Result: premium pricing, faster sales and lower promotion costs.

consider 1111 lincoln road

This much-lauded Miami project by Robert Wennett  brings together high-end architecture by Herzog & de Meuron with the lowly parking garage for a mere $65 million (NY times 1/11).

This complete re-imagining of a parking use responds brilliantly to the context of the property. Parking rates here are almost 400% the area average ($4 hour per car) and $12,000 -$15,000 (per event).(NY times 1/11).


First a brief recap of the land and the context when acquired in 2005. 

  • The developer’s property (59,889 S.F.) outlined in red 
  • Existing building with Brutalist architecture to remain.
  • South Beach climate is warm, tropical (with storms) and outdoor living oriented.
  • Famed pedestrian Lincoln Road outdoor mall almost adjacent to land.
  • “Quirky zoning regulations in the city made it profitable to build a large garage.” – (NY Times 1-23-11) 

The model to the right is of an initial possibility. This less costly – concept may have appeared a great, safe answer to a “finance guy” – which would have been a shame.

Enter Herzog & de Meuron. The architects saw an opportunity. They set out to redefine the parking garage experience into more of a “car salon” with shops, bars, event and housing components.

The massing of the garage was increased to match the existing building. The garage is airy and open responding to the climate and in contrast to the existing building, which brings a certain balance to the overall project. While garage height and cost to build increased significantly, the 255 parking spaces allowed did not. The multi-use programming of the project provides additional revenue streams.

Luckily for the developer, the City redeveloped the block of Lincoln Road adjacent to the property into an extension of the Lincoln Road outdoor mall. That obviously added incredible value & facilitated prime retail into the  ground level of both buildings.


Once the decision was made to create a mix-use architectural statement of this caliber and incorporate it into the famed South Beach Lincoln Road lifestyle a brand began to develop of an uber-cool, high-profile international icon capable of attracting high-end leases, selling million+ condos and renting “parking space” for $12-$15K per event. The brand of 1111 Lincoln Road began at the design stage of development.

Promotion. 1111 Lincoln Road garnered international editorial press both online and offline. However the amount of user-generated content online is a huge component of the marketing mix and always focused on design – building the brand of an uber-cool” design icon. For the truly interesting, social media is powerful.

The developer marketing by TCBC /NY stayed consistent with the brand by visually mimicking the architecture as much as possible and conveying “Modern. Fast. Adaptable. and Sensual.”  Intentionally they built brand equity in 11 11 Lincoln Road that supported all uses -“retail, residential, dining and parking experiences”. 

On the events. While most of the weddings, wine tastings, private parties and corporate events take place on the 7th floor of the garage, Ferrari used the 5th, 6th & 7th beautifully. Note: the 11 11 brand of high design, modern, fast, and sensual is in the same brand personality space as Ferrari – a strong synergy.

Worth a visit: 1111 lincoln road developer website  & HM-2 Pinterest board for more 

So do you love it..or not so much? Weigh in below or catch me on twitter at @HollyHM2[If you would like an invite to Pinterest let me know below or on twitter – always happy to help ;) ] Coming soon…more on Pinterest – 10 million strong & growing.


Interested in marketing innovation…  

Click here to get our new whitepaper  ‘3 steps to…marketing a planned community’  


Great Place | High Line: Land Re-use at its Best

“a great place” – a series of engaging spaces for consideration…and perhaps inspiration for the people who build places everyday. 

hello high line park , nyc

What started in the 1930s as a rail freight line lifted 30 feet over New York’s Manhattan known as the High Line, became a public eyesore in the mid-1990’s.  A story that could have sadly ended in demolition has instead become an inspiring tale of land re-use, successful economic-development and a great elevated public park. 

After 20 years of disuse, construction on the former railway began in 2006. (click image for more pics.)

Today, the second segment of The High Line Park opened to the public , doubling the park’s length to 1 mile.

 An amazing natural and artistic urban journey amongst the buildings of the West Side, The High Line area now includes deluxe apartment buildings whose glass walls press up against the park and hundreds of art galleries, restaurants and boutiques which flourish around it.

Key Thought:  The High Line gives New Yorkers a respite to explore a “natural” path- literally above the turmoil of their city streets.

“High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park” according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Continue reading

great places and brands connect emotionally. meet replay.

“a great place” – a series of engaging spaces for consideration…perhaps inspiration for the people who build spaces everyday. 

meet replay

Replay, an Italian denim company, reaches new heights in brand experience in their stores and view them as key to developing & quickly conveying their brand.  The company seeks to redefine the traditional concept of a store as a mere “container”  Here creating emotional connection is the goal.

And bottom-line what it appears these Florence city-dwellers are craving is  a respite to walk peacefully through a forest and explore the timeless Americana-esque goods nestled with the leaves.   

The ecological theme of this 3-storey boutique was inspired by the undergrowth of a temperate forest that can be found not far from the city.  The stunning two-story vertical garden by Michael Hellgren  is joined with a central fireplace, and a moving water wall to embody the basic natural elements of earth, water, air, and fire. 

The interiors aim to “evoke industrial archaeology areas where natural materials like wood and iron are transformed by a skilled human hand to create a perfect balance between art, matter and sensorial impact.”

 Replay Stores Design Philosophy

“Replay Stores are … based on an awareness of the wide-spread need to experience new emotions and find somewhere reinvigorating…  This concept derives from…the relationship between nature, living space & emotions – and the desire to go beyond the classic conception of a store as a simple container where goods are displayed and only quantitative & aesthetic factors are important.”

Key Point: How places are emotionally perceived by people is critical to brand experience. This takes focus and a clear brand strategy. 

Worth a Visit: Replay  (note: their website is experientially great & corporate profile- really interesting) , Vertical Garden Design  (prepare to be amazed.)

This is the first “a great place” series post, to learn more – click here.

a great city starts with 1 question

In just 4 years Gainesville Florida’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) accomplished the unthinkable: 1,500 new housing units were built, property values increased more than 60%, fiber optic cables were laid in long-neglected neighborhoods, and a signature park on the site of an abandoned train depot was begun.

Pretty impressive for former art student turned redevelopment guru, Anthony Lyons and his team…with help from the design firm of Perkins+Will. 

This success did not start with the typical questions asked by urban planners today, nor did it begin with the myriad of complaints that the locals had about their community. Instead it began with a very simple question… Continue reading