Greater City Providence

Paved paradise, tore down a parking garage

Outlet Garage

The Outlet Garage is coming down, making way for a surface parking lot. Again, a parking garage, with multiple levels and many spaces, is coming down, to be replaced by a surface lot.

This officially means that no one is ever allowed to complain to me about a lack of parking in this city again. Understand?

I wrote earlier about my ambivilance about the whole thing.

Outlet Garage

Outlet Garage

Outlet Garage

Outlet Garage

Outlet Garage

Outlet Garage

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.


  • Any truth to the rumor that they’ll be tearing down the Arcade next to make room for a CVS with a drive thru?

  • No, you are mistaken. They will be tearing down the Superman Building to add a drive-thru to the existing CVS on Westminster Street.

    The Arcade will become a tree museum where they charge the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.

  • They are tearing down the parking garage and putting in a surface lot so they won’t have to be real estate taxes on the bulding. Just taxes on the land which is a lot cheaper. So less money in the city coffers once again plus less parking. Good move.

  • This is one of the stupidest things I have seen all year. How long until Waterplace Park is paved over for surface parking?

  • City doesn’t believe in “wake up calls.” City believes in not learning from mistakes, in selling out to the lowest use imaginable, catering to the bigger businesses in RI. I know the whole “CVS will tear down the Arcade” is a joke, but seriously, you and me both know, it could happen.

    Are the laws and ordinances so weak in the city that those who sign off on these decisions really have their hands tied? Or are they just sitting on them, hoping that someone else will make the hard decision to JUST SAY NO?

  • Kind of surprised JWU didn’t just buy the garage, the students are ALWAYS complaining about parking downtown and since they are a non-profit wouldn’t they have had to pay less/no taxes on it anyway???

  • I work next door to this nonsense – incensing and deafening. Please, City, can we tax surface lots at a higher rate?

  • Why don’t they just tear down and pave the whole city! No one would notice.

    It’s well known within the development community inside and out of the state that Providence has one of the worst zoning ordinances and regulatory processes in the country. Besides lousy archaic rules that do everything possible to discourage development, the regulations encourage this kind of demolition. The usual excuse from officials, no matter who the applicant might be for this type of demolition permit, is that they followed the rules and there’s nothing that could be done to change the outcome.

    It’s time to throw out and replace the zoning ordinance that allows this to continually “happen.”

  • I thought they were tearing down the Superman Building to make way for a Walgreens with a drive-thru…. offers competition to CVS right next door.

    But seriously, the demolition does not make sense. I agree with the comment regarding JWU – was it not the school’s plan to relocate their “campus center” along Pine Street (providing they were to acquire swaths of land vacated by 195)?? Plus, the garage is adjacent to the library and one of their primary dormitories.
    It just does not make sense at all.

  • This garage demo may make even less sense. A few years ago, I vaguely remember seeing a JWU master plan in either projo or pbn that showed a proposed new parking garage further west closer to route 95 that would have been near or within the 195 land.

  • Wasn’t there supposed to be a review by the Taveras administration of the ability and strength of the Downcity Design Commitee to enforce rules against this kind of thing from happening? I really don’t mind parking garages, it’s the surface lots that do us absolutely no good. Does anyone have a link for the minutes or result of that discussion?

    Maybe someone should photoshop a picture of the newly uncovered route 95 land depicting it all as surface parking, with the heading: “What our current zoning policies lead to”.

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