Greater City Providence

Bids for “City Administrative Center”

ProJo reports that the city has received nine proposals for the new City Adminstrative Center. Let’s take a look at the locations that bid:

Google StreetView

Berkeley Investments: One Empire Plaza, a six-story, 109,216-square-foot building built in 1982 that is the former office of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Asking $14.5 million for purchase or an average base rent of $20.20 per square foot per year to $22.78, depending upon length of lease. Available Nov. 12, 2010.

Google StreetView

Cornish Associates (Arnold Chace): Former Providence Journal building at 60 Eddy St. and the adjacent former Kresge Department Store. Proposed full historic restoration of buildings with 73,505 square feet of office and ground floor retail. Asking for 19-year lease of $21.62 per square foot per year, with rents increasing by 10 percent every five years. Ready by summer/fall 2011.

Google StreetView

Extell Development: 198 Dyer St., a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building built in 1946 and the current home of the city Department of Inspection & Standards. Asking for lease of $37 million over 15 years lease or up to $67 million over 25 years, depending upon space needs. Available Dec. 31, 2010.

Google StreetView

Joseph DiBattista (Civic Center Associates): Developable land fronting Washington, Beverly, and Fountain streets. Asking $2.75 million for land or, if developer builds office and city opts to lease, asking $275,000 a year in rent with a 1 percent annual increase after first year.

Guess it is safe to say we shouldn’t expect to see Hotel Sierra anytime soon then.

Google StreetView

Joseph DiBattista: Located at 40 Fountain St., an eight-story, 73,610-square-foot building. Currently home to state offices, including the state Retirement System. Asking for annual lease of $13.50 per square foot with a 2 percent increase in rent after year one.

Google StreetView

Joseph R. Paolino Jr.: 150 Washington St., a four-story, 75,000-square-foot building built in 1939 that currently is a campus of Roger Williams University. Asking $6.75 million for purchase or an annual lease of $11.50 per square foot.

VGoogle StreetView

Joseph R. Paolino Jr.: 444 Westminster St., a three-story, 66,121-square-foot office building built in 1967 that was the former offices of Blue Cross Blue & Shield of Rhode Island. Asking $9.01 million for purchase or an annual lease of $17.35 per square foot.

Google StreetView

National Grid: Located at 100 Dorrance St., three buildings totaling 84,696 square feet that are now vacant. Asking $9.03 million for purchase and renovation. Building ready in nine months.

Google StreetView

Providence Journal Company: 75 Fountain St., a five-story 194,915 square foot building completed in 1934 that is the current headquarters of the newspaper. Asking $9.75 million for purchase or lease of $1.17 million a year with rents increasing by 10 percent every five years.

Providence Daily Dose thinks that the ProJo bidding on a city contract presents a conflict of interest for the city’s “paper of record.”

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • And not a one of them meets the parking requirements. We went with this when I worked at the Sec. of State’s office. We were moving our Corporations, Elections and I.T. divisions to a new facility since the former two were at 100 North Main St with no real free parking, and an unresponsive landlord. The IT division was shoe horned into the sub-basement of the State House.

    We ended up looking at facilities all over the city and settled on West River Center. It had the parking, and other amenities.

    When I met the Mayor recently I explained that maybe it should be in Olneyville. Then have RIPTA drag a streetcar line in because city offices would be an anchor.

  • The upside of a down real estate market is that there are options. Several of the properties have some parking though not the city’s ideal. If parking were reserved only for visitors, city employees that don’t use public transit could either pay for parking, as is the case for city hall workers or be shuttled in from remote parking lots/garages. Why should parking be considered an entitlement?

    The streetcar idea to Olneyville is a good one. The problem is it will take roughly five years before service would begin as currently planned, unless the engineering and financing for the system are accelerated.

  • The biggest issue with the streetcars is the financing but they’ve secured most of the money needed. And we should lean on our congressional delegation to get ALL of the funding in place b the end of 2010.

    Construction could be completed within 2 years. Really what is there to constructing the lines? Drop poles for catennary lines, and embed rail in the road. Not terribly complex. Other cities have built lines bigger than what I’m proposing in a 2 year time span.

  • I’m sure the Mayor and RIPTA officials have been leaning the congressional delegation. How about the governor’s office? Has there been any indication that the congressional group that they support a streetcar initiative? You’re right about the 2 year timeline elsewhere. It probably could be built and operational in less than 2 years, if there was real determination and political will.

  • The ProJo reports that the Taveras administration is negotiating a lease for 444 Westminster Street, one of the former Blue Cross Blue Shield buildings, for the “City Administrative Center.” The building is owned by Joseph Paolino, Jr.

  • Why is there no math that shows that this is a good deal for the city, unless it isn’t a good deal at all? I have no idea when the last time this building was upgraded, but I can’t help but wonder whether there’s any build out allowance, and since it doesn’t consolidate ALL the city departments, I wonder how it makes that much sense?

  • ProJo has a more detailed article. Details from that are:

    This was a new RFP from the Taveras administration separate from the RFP issued last year by the Cicilline administration. The Cicilline administration was looking for rent equal to or less than the $736,000 the city was paying in the spaces to be consolidated into the new building. Paolino is seeking $1,147,199 for 444 Westminster.

    Unanswered is why the current administration is willing to pay so much to relocate into the Paolino property. The property does have a giant sign on it advertising the abundandant parking…

  • PBN has an article this morning about the City Administrative Center at 444 Westminster Street. The article claims the building will cost the city $735,000 in its first year and the city has the option to buy after 3 years. City Council President Michael Solomon says the consolidation will save the city $100,000 per year. The Board of Contract and Supply has to approve the deal.

Providence, RI
5:54 am7:33 pm EDT
Feels like: 45°F
Wind: 5mph W
Humidity: 47%
Pressure: 29.91"Hg
UV index: 0
59°F / 36°F
59°F / 39°F
59°F / 32°F