From Preserve Providence’s Hope Street:
Peter Scotti has entered a sales agreement with Cathy Lund, owner of City Kitty, for the purchase of the site. Dr. Lund plans to erect a new building with a cat vet practice, 1-2 professional tenants and 3 apartments. This plan will require zoning approval and is headed toward a November 2013 hearing. Scotti and Lund met with a small group of abutters who were pleased with their plans and responsiveness.
While it is always sad to lose an historic building, I believe this represents one of the best possible uses for the parcel. The existing building has limited ability to be reused, is undersized for what the corridor could support, and I’ve heard is in a less than optimal state of repair needing a large investment to realize meager possible returns.
The vet center will be low impact as far as traffic is concerned and adding apartments helps build the density in the Hope Street corridor providing a broader customer base for local businesses. There are certainly other undersized buildings in the corridor which would not be missed if they were knocked down for a similar structure that respects the character of the neighborhood while modestly boosting residential density.
Letter from City Kitty owner, Cathy Lund:
Dear Mt. Hope Residents,
My name is Cathy Lund, and I’m the owner of City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats. I’m writing to introduce myself and let you know about our plans to move the practice into the former Clarke Florist site on Hope Street.
City Kitty is a full-service veterinary practice for cats only. I’ve been a practicing veterinarian in Rhode Island since 1986, and my dream was always to operate an exemplary cat practice that combined warmth and caring with excellent medicine and patient care. City Kitty is a unique and special clinic, and we take care of cats and cat owners who are just as extraordinary.
I opened the practice doors in 1999, with help from my husband, Dr. Peter Karczmar, and a terrific support staff. Our practice is the oldest cat clinic in the state. City Kitty serves the entire state of Rhode Island, but our practice base is in the Providence area we’re relocating to. Although we’ve had patients from Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island, this move will make it easier for most of our patients to get to our clinic.
For nearly 15 years, we’ve been located in an historic mill building in the city’s Jewelry District, a wonderful location but difficult for many clients to find. The business has expanded with the addition of my wonderful associate, Dr. Sarah Mercurio, who joined the practice four years ago. It was very clear to us that we needed to find more space, along with greater visibility and accessibility.
I love Providence, and it was important to me that my business remains in the city I call home. The Clarke Florist site will allow our clients easier access to the practice, and it will provide extra space for our growing clientele and more room for enhanced services—services such as acupuncture, behavior counseling and kitten classes.
Our plan for the site is to create a beautiful building that respects the community by being residential in scale but distinctly urban in character. The florist building was remarkable for the expanse of light that the greenhouse provided. We will be echoing that feel through the use of a large, glassed, “greenhouselike” entry that will be the City Kitty waiting room. Our architect, Glen Fontecchio and I both serve on Providence’s Historic District Commission, and I am a former board member and ongoing supporter of the Providence Preservation Society. It is important to us that the building reflects our city’s historic character and be in keeping with the community, and that it also gives the neighbors a lovely and thoughtful addition to the streetscape.
The building itself will be two-story, mixed-use—the practice will be on the northern end of the first level, and a separate, smaller, professional or administrative use rental unit will be to the south. The second floor will comprise three apartments.
It is vital to all of us involved in this project that we be respectful and good neighbors. We plan to make the building as “green” as possible, address drainage issues and heavily landscape the site to enhance views and provide shade and bird habitats.
City Kitty itself has office hours by appointment only, and our appointment slots are 30 minutes in length. Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am—5pm, and Thursdays from 8am-7pm. The clinic is closed on weekends. Our website is www.city-kitty.com.
All of us at City Kitty are thrilled to be joining the Mt. Hope community and we look forward to being “purr-fect” neighbors!
I think I’d feel less annoyed by historic buildings getting knocked down in Providence if we didn’t have so much gaping, open land unoccupied in the city. I really like the existing building and feel kind of miffed about this plan, but I don’t live on the East Side, so I guess if that’s what they’re going to do, that’s what they’re going to do.
I’m guessing a lot of City Kitty’s clients are on the East Side. They’re a pricey vet. I used to take my cats there until I got a dog (now I take them all to the same vet, which is a bit less expensive than City Kitty, though City Kitty is an awesome place to take your cats, highly recommended). I think this is a pretty good use of the lot. It’s certainly better than a coffee shop with a drive thru. Sure, it’d be better to not tear down the building, but with such limited possible uses in that building and needing the repair that it does, realistically, it would end up becoming another vacant lot.
I was a City Kitty user and not an east sider. A lot of west siders go to City Kitty. Dr. Lund is also a great citizen of Providence–she has served on many boards and commissions and she continues to support the many efforts of non profits across the city. She is also a HUGE proponent of adaptive reuse and historic preservation and I’m sure if it was possible for her to save the building and put her business there, she would have.
I’ve been in VA five years and I still haven’t found a Vet practice that is as thorough and as affordable as City Kitty. Which isn’t to say that we don’t have perfect good vets here, but Dr. Lund is a bargain compared to what we pay down here. So, Congrats City Kitty!
As a cat owner/lover I too appreciate the vet services of City Kitty and feel they will be even better if they have somwhat more space. With street parking easily available and the good #42 Hope St line nearby, I hope they will minimize the need for paved surface parking in the design.
Kathy Lund’s proposed building seems very well thought out – visually, aesthetically and practically. It is difficult to let go of a beloved historic building, but sometimes a reasonable and even pleasing alternative is offered, and what has been a problem evolves into opportunity. I trust the Mt. Hope community will welcome to its neighborhood a business owned by a woman who not only served on the Board of the Providence Preservation Society, but who is an active member of the Providence Historic District commission, After years of wondering what would become of the Clarke Florist site, Kathy Lund’s proposal seems like a gift.
Im trying to get intouch with the owner of Clark florist as he is a friend from many years back.Please leave me information if you have it. David Grosse