PPS’s Statement Regarding The Industrial Trust Building:
The Providence Preservation Society believes carefully considered redevelopment planning at the vacant Industrial Trust Building at 111 Westminster Street, Providence, is urgent and makes the following observations:
- The Industrial Trust Building possesses a high degree of civic and architectural value.
- The building is prominently located in downtown Providence, is an iconic visual statement in the Providence skyline, and its substantial bulk and idiosyncratic massing make it an important placeholder in the streetscape of one of the three main east/west thoroughfares in the City.
- Given the very large scale of the building, its vacancy is a material drain on the fragile economy of downtown Providence and, by extension, on the economic vitality of the entire State.
- The Industrial Trust Building is situated in Providence’s Financial District where recent private sector
development evidences the beginnings of an economic renaissance. A vacant 111 Westminster Street places this renaissance in jeopardy.
- For over 25 years, the Providence Preservation Society has participated in and sometimes initiated strategic conversations to facilitate challenging development projects in historic properties, particularly those large in scale. PPS has deep experience in this area of historic preservation planning and economic development and offers its assistance in moving the project to reality.
- We well understand that development projects in historic buildings in Providence, especially those of a large scale, have required a public /private partnership in order to make them financially feasible. These subsidies have come in many forms. PPS offers no specific advice at this time as to the exact nature of any particular public role in the financing for redevelopment of this very important building.
- Trustees believe that moving forward to create a vibrant, economically sound plan for the Industrial Trust Building is critical.
Continuing Engagement on The Future of The Industrial Trust Building:
The Providence Preservation Society is keenly interested in the future of 111 Westminster Street for the reasons outlined above. The organization intends to proceed with a high level of engagement in planning for the property’s re-use. It offers its expertise in preservation planning and development to the building owner and his development team, to the City of Providence, and to the State of Rhode Island and its agents. We look forward to tailoring the ways in which this engagement might take place to the particular circumstances of the property and its ownership. Our organization acknowledges that this may be the most critical development challenge currently facing any historic building in Providence, and one of the most important to resolve.