A special meeting of the Providence Historic District Commission will be held on Monday, May 5, at 4:15 pm at 444 Westminster to vote on a demolition application for the General Electric Base Plant complex at 586 Atwells Avenue. Built c. 1916, the GE Base Plant stands as a fine expression of post-World War I industrial architecture, and according to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission the plant was once the largest producer of lamp bases in the world – employing 500 people at the Atwells Avenue site.
Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission Review of GE Base Plant
Following the announcement of the demolition proposal, PPS called a meeting with representatives from Olneyville Housing Corporation, The Steel Yard, Waterfire, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, among others. All parties agreed that the demolition application must be tabled to give the community time to discuss options with GE.
While continuing to pursue demolition, GE has offered to work with local stakeholders to arrive at a plan that would be beneficial to the community. Were it not for GE’s interest in working with the community, the public would have little input on the future of the site. Unlike with other districts, the Historic District Commission does not consider what replaces historic industrial buildings when reviewing demolition applications.