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PBN: Developer negotiating with panel for Fox Point land

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Image from Google Streetview

A city developer has entered into exclusive negotiations with the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission to purchase a piece of former highway land in the city’s Fox Point neighborhood.

Richard Baccari II, principal of Royal Oaks Realty LLC, confirmed in an email Monday that his group had signed a “letter of intent” to buy a property between Pike Street and Tockwotten Street from the commission.

I’ve heard some very preliminary information on this project, and it sounds interesting. See previous post about the project here.

In response to a public records request from Providence Business News, I-195 commission Executive Director Jan Brodie earlier on Monday said by email that the commission had signed two letters of intent, one more than had been made public last week when the panel approved a purchase and sales agreement with a Dallas developer planning a student apartment building.

See, this a problem. As I’ve said before, I understand the need for discretion when doing real estate deals, but the fact that PBN had to do a public records request is troubling. Private citizens can do public records requests too, but how many of us do? The perception of the Commission this creates is not good. And it is not like this is any kind of state secret. This project has been reported in the media, people in the industry are well aware of this project, which makes all the secrecy all the more annoying.

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2014 Providence free holiday parking program starts Black Friday

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From the City:


Mayor Taveras Announces Return of Free Holiday Parking

City offers two hours of free parking for shoppers beginning November 28th

PROVIDENCE – To accommodate holiday shoppers and support local businesses during the busy holiday sales season, Mayor Taveras announced today that there will be two hours of free parking in designated commercial districts throughout Providence.

Shoppers will be offered two hours of free parking from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. beginning Friday, November 28, 2014 through Thursday, January 1, 2015 in the following commercial districts:

  • Atwells Avenue – Bradford Street to Knight Street
  • Broad Street – Public Street to Montgomery Street
  • Downtown Providence – bounded by Fountain Street, Memorial Boulevard, Weybosset Street, Empire Street and Friendship Street (from Dyer Street to Dorrance Street)
  • Hope Street – Rochambeau Avenue to Blackstone Boulevard
  • North Main Street – Thomas Street to Park Row
  • Olneyville Square – Route 10 to Sydney Street and Delaine Street to Atwood Street to Magnolia Street
  • South Main Street – James Street to Packet Street
  • Point St – From Eddy to East Franklin St
  • Thayer Street – Meeting Street to Bowen Street
  • Wayland Square – East Angell Street/Angell Street to Gano Street and Wayland Avenue from Angell Street to Pitman Street
  • Wickenden/Ives – Wickenden Street at Benefit Street to Ives Street at Preston Street

The holiday parking program is designed to make it easier for shoppers to patronize local businesses. The two-hour parking limit will be strictly enforced by parking enforcement officers. Cars parked illegally in prohibited areas, including crosswalks and tow zones, will be ticketed during this period.


So no excuse not to Buy Local this holiday season.

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News & Notes

broadway-snow

Broadway

The Boston Globe: Lower rents, wide choices draw tenants to Route 128

Kendall Square and the Innovation District may be the hip places to be, especially for tech companies, but a mini-revival of sorts is under way along America’s original technology highway.

The western suburbs around Route 128 are experiencing a building boom, with new headquarters for growing companies such as TripAdvisor and Vistaprint among five huge developments under construction in Needham, Waltham, and neighboring towns.

But, but, but… Providence. We don’t necessarily have to give everyone $75 million to move here, the Assembly knows that, don’t they?


ABC News: More Prefer Public Transit to Road Building

Americans in an ABC News/Washington Post poll favor expanded public transportation options over road building in government efforts to reduce traffic congestion. But where they live makes a difference.

Overall, 54 percent prefer focusing on public transit, such as trains and buses, while four in ten say the government should focus on expanding and building roads instead. Preference for public transit, though, ranges from 61 percent of urban residents to 52 percent of suburbanites and 49 percent of people in rural areas.


Continue Reading →

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ProJo: 195 Commission agrees to deal on $50-million, 500-bed student housing development

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Image from 195 District Parcel 28 – Google Streetview

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission voted behind closed doors Monday to sign a purchase and sale agreement with a Texas development firm that specializes in privatized student housing to build a $50-million, six-story housing development that will accommodate 500 renters on the west side of the Providence River.

Kane said the commission authorized him to sign the purchase and sale agreement, which will be a binding document requiring the firm to break ground by August 2015. Brodie said the firm expects to open its doors Sept. 1, 2017, ready for people to move into its rental units.


First, yes, it is going to be great to get something built on the 195 Land, and work is projected to begin next summer. With 20,000 square feet of retail space, this project should be able to provide some badly needed retail services to the Jewelry District neighborhood. And having 500 units of housing dropped from the sky has the potential to really have a positive impact on the neighborhood.

However, as the commenters at ProJo said, this deal literally took place behind closed doors. However, people involved in development and real estate all seemed to know this deal was coming, it was just the general public that may be surprised to hear about this this morning. So, if the people most involved in the process, pretty much know what is going on through industry chatter, where’s the need for the secrecy? I know there is a degree of discretion needed to complete a real estate deal, but the Commission really needs to do something about the perception that these Executive Sessions send to the public.

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amsterdam-canals

PBN: Would dredging return bustle to riverfront?

Preventing the river from filling in with natural sediment requires periodic dredging, something neither the city nor state has been eager to finance in recent years. The federal government declined to tap a pool of funds set aside for dredging projects that maintain cargo shipping channels.

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skating-center

Providence Rink opens Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Providence Rink will be open for ice skating season starting on Saturday, November 15th at 10:00am. Regular hours of operation during the week are Monday through Friday, 10am until 10pm and new hours for Saturdays and Sundays are 10am until 10pm. The Rink is open on all winter holidays.

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intermodal-station-rendering

RIDOT: Rhode Island’s Transit Future

One of the most crucial components of a healthy economy and quality of place is a sound transportation system: one that supports diverse modes of travel and seamlessly connects Rhode Island to the rest of the world – and Rhode Islanders, more meaningfully to each other and to opportunity.

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