Greater City Providence

West River Center Complex United

west river

The redeveloped West River Center, formerly the Rhode Island Tool Mill, is home to diverse number of tenants, ranging from the Secretary of State’s office, to a restaurant (the West River Cafe), to the medical practice where I happen to work.

The complex has always been a bit odd to look at. The 75% of the complex above at 148 West River Street, under one owner, has been splendidly redone and is a model of Providence reuse. The other 25%, a different building at 146 West River street that is attached to the larger complex but looks completely contiguous from the exterior, is owned by a different individual who has resisted selling and it’s in terrific disrepair, crumbling and covered with graffiti. The owner had wanted to try turning this building (which is in the middle of a light industrial and commercial zone) into condos, and you can imagine how that went…

Now, it is rumored, the owner of the decaying 146 West River building has finally sold the structure to the owners of its beautifully renovated neighbor. West River Street has been a zone targeted by the city for growth, and it appears to have been a success story. From the new Providence Postal Credit Union, to the above complex, to the post office expansion, to Abar, to a host of medical and light industrial uses, this formally vacant street is now nearly fully occupied and humming with activity. Now there’s finally the hope that the ugly duckling living aside the street’s crown jewel will soon itself be a swan…

Bret Ancowitz

1 comment

  • I clicked the Abar link hoping it was a bar… I need a new bar, where are all the cool kids hanging out now?

    I attended the CPC meetings where they were trying to get approvals for the condos in this area. I must say, I’m of the opinion that it wasn’t quite the right place for condos. While the West River area is certainly moving on up, there’s still not really a there, there. I like the Planning Department’s vision of the West River area as a Jobs Zone, let’s focus the residential development in neighborhoods that are actually built for people to live in. The last thing West River needs is some NIMBY’s moving in, putting the kibosh on the commercial development happening there.

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