Palm Avenue Parking Garage/Restaurant/Event Space

By staff March 17, 2014

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Palm Avenue Parking Garage/Restaurant/Event Space, downtown Sarasota

Jonathan Parks Architect


The challenge for this project was to design a signature mixed-use building that would become a portrait of the Sarasota community. In two phases, it included a parking garage and then a restaurant and special events venue. The design solution needed to welcome civic input and capture the spirit of the local artistic culture. The resulting façade of the garage is designed in a curvaceous, free-form sculptural style that reflects the area’s artistic and modern environment. Located one block from Sarasota Bay, the organic contours of the exterior surface resemble the wind-filled sails of a ship. This design perfectly reflects Sarasota’s past and present connection with the waters of the bay. The sails were also designed to let natural light and ventilation into all parking levels. Decorative lights project onto the exterior sails. Multi-colored gels provide the ability to “paint” them a variety of colors relating to the seasons and holidays.

Addressing the urban nature of the site, the architect made a number of choices that holistically enhance the walkability of downtown. The vision included creating a pedestrian-friendly experience along the ground level, which was completed through the design of a contemporary restaurant and boutique special events venue. Awnings and trees provide shade for the busy sidewalk and form an ideal café setting. The outdoor lounge area serves as the transition from garage to restaurant, while effectively blurring the boundaries between a utilitarian structure and a fashionable social destination. A playful stair announces each visitor’s entry and LED lights and sculptural forms provide a suitable ambiance for Sarasota’s nightlife. The result is an iconic design that satisfies the functional, strategic, and aesthetic needs of the City, while contributing to the overall success of downtown Sarasota.

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