Finding New Life in Kalamazoo: The Transformation of an Underused Parking Lot and Alley

Catalyst Development and architecture firm TowerPinkster transformed a large, underutilized parking lot and adjacent delivery alley into a lively mixed-use destination and source of community for downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Warner Building, the project’s new seven-story multi-purpose development, includes 45 apartments and houses leading nonprofit firms Southwest Michigan First, Stryker Johnston Foundation, Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo, and The Kalamazoo Promise.

Gathering residents, employees, and visitors outdoors, the previously underutilized adjoining alley space finds new life as a linear public plaza designed by Treystar. Known as Haymarket Plaza, named for the city’s historic Haymarket District, the innovative new public space welcomes people of all walks of life to relax, socialize and share in moments of outdoor enjoyment. On the façades that frame the plaza, Landscape Forms’ Torres wall-mounted lighting illuminates the space for evening events while keeping the small plaza open, spacious, and free of poles. Keeping the linear plaza open and accessible was a key design consideration for the project’s developers, ensuring the pedestrian space could be active and used to its fullest potential while also providing access for the occasional delivery truck or emergency vehicle. Complete with landscaping and a selection of Landscape Forms’ Carousel café-height tables and seats, Haymarket Plaza also incorporates a snowmelt system, a zone designed for entertainment and food trucks, and four outdoor projectors used to display public art and community information.

Street side, matching Torres area lights with two staggered luminaires accommodate vehicular and pedestrian traffic along the road and sidewalk at the building’s entrance. TowerPinkster landscape architect Ron Masek selected the Torres lighting family for its sleek, modern design that integrated well with the Warner Building’s modern architecture and refined selection of materials. Collaborating with the Landscape Forms lighting division, TowerPinkster customized the Torres area lights’ poles with attached security cameras powder-coated specifically to match the pole finish.

Building a diverse, inclusive neighborhood feel and reinforcing the city’s sense of community, the mixed-use Warner Building project and its Haymarket Plaza have become a valued point of connection between Kalamazoo’s residents, businesses, nonprofits, and visitors.

Published on December 1, 2022

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