PBN reports on PawSox President James J. Skeffington’s tour of the riverfront land in the Jewelry District he proposes to build a new home for the PawSox on:
In a tour of the site, overlooking College Hill and the Providence skyline, attorney James J. Skeffington said consultants had determined the seven-acre proposed site will support the baseball park that team owners want to build.
In addition, he said, team owners have reached an agreement to use the parking garage planned for the South Street Landing project, now under construction on an adjacent site. Under the plan, the parking garage will be enlarged to 750 spaces, to accommodate the baseball traffic, he said, and the PawSox owners will contribute financially to its construction.
The parking garage at South Street Landing has sought relief from City Zoning requiring ground floor retail uses in parking structures. With the increased size of the structure and the increased diversity of visitors (they won’t mostly be Nursing School students presumably) there should be no reason for the garage developers not to conform to City zoning regulations.
ProJo also has a report:
Lawyer James J. Skeffington, the new president and a principal owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, announced Thursday that the team has completed engineering, environmental and transportation studies and has determined the land they want in the capital city is “perfect for a ball field.”
But hurdles remain, and the owners won’t be ready until mid-April with a proposal that includes the amount of state support they’re seeking for the project.
Skeffington revealed for the first time on Thursday that the team wants more former Route 195 land than they previously identified. They had said they wanted 4.8 acres now intended to become a public park. They also want Parcel 42, a 1.08-acre development parcel that has been identified as a good place for a hotel or housing, he said.
There have been some conspiracy theories floating around out there about Parcel 42. In August of last year, the 195 Commission rejected a proposal for a hotel on Parcel 42; even though the Commission’s documents suggest a hotel was one of the best uses for that parcel. Since these decisions are made in Executive Session, we don’t know why the Parcel 42 hotel was rejected. The Commission has said they were not aware of the PawSox plan before they became public in February.
Why would they fight the retail component? Is the cost of an extra deck of parking spaces really greater than the long-term revenue stream of leasable retail units in a what will surely be a high traffic area?
The City will undoubtedly bend on a lot to get this deal done, the ground level retail should not be one of the things that they sacrifice. An extra strip of retail on the street will bring so much more life to the area, even when there are no events going on. They will bring non-students to the area when school is not in session. It will also bridge the area between the Jewelry District to the new riverfront.
Lastly, a large/tall parking structure right next to the river isn’t exactly what I’d like to see when I look at an aerial view of Providence. They really should consider putting a “green roof” on the parking structure. I have seen that they have done this quite frequently in Europe to provide urban recreation and park space in densely populated areas. The top of this structure would probably look down into the ballpark, so it would be an ideal event space for the RI Red Sox to host parties before, during, and after games. The “green roof” could also have a walking/running track and community gardens. I can’t think of a more ideal place to host a small concert and cocktail party than a park-like space overlooking the river and the Providence skyline. Brown already has rooftop space on top of the graduate medical building, so they are already embracing the idea of creating cool urban spaces.
Since the owners are going to be contributing to this parking garage, perhaps they can repurpose the roof and try to gain more supporters for the project.
As much as I agree about the importance of not losing the ground-level retail, I sincerely doubt it’d be a realistic goal to push for a green space on the roof. I could be wrong, and perhaps I lack imagination, but it seems like a reach.
I still like the form this is taking so far, with the exception of the attempt to remove retail. What I’d like to see is the plans for the river. That is a vital component to this, and they’d be wise to give it a great deal of attention to detail for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship with everybody that really wanted this park.
Which one is parcel 42? Thanks.
mental757, Parcel 42 is bound by Peck Street and Dyer Street. It’s right near Parcel P4 which is designated for park usage.
David, its not a reach, its a matter of will. Green roofing for garages and office/residential buildings alike are extremely common in cities across America and here in Providence…
The Peerless Lofts (rooftop garden), Fete Music (rooftop green house), Brown University’s Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (rooftop greenhouse), Brown U. OMAC Athletic Center’s Warner Roof (field hockey and intramural/club sports), Rooftop at The G (rooftop garden restaurant and bar), and the Biltmore Hotel once had a chicken coop on top that provided fresh eggs to its restaurants.
Also, with the amount of expanded parking for the garage, there’s really less reason to not have street level retail. The Biltmore Garage in downtown is a good example of this, and they didn’t even lose an entire level. Again, its about the will to make it happen and with both a stadium and parking structure being so close to the river, river-walk and becoming an important urban link between downtown and the Jewelry District, it would be apropos to provide ground level retail to make this link even more ‘connected.’
… just a few more, India Point Park Bridge and the soon to open Washington Bridge Bikeway & Linear Park. 🙂
KCB raises an intriguing possibility with the idea of a rooftop party. Which remind me: has anyone heard any further intelligent commentary regarding the open space requirement?
*park, scuse me.
The real problem is not a garage rooftop but the very idea of taxpayers paying the rich insider owners to move a minor league team from Pawtucket RI to a spot in Providence in an area that was intended for real economic development. Worse, the already existing (and not that long ago refurbished with public funds) Pawtucket location, with its relative lack of congestion, easy parking, and the struggling city’s needs is a better location for the team.
A green roof on a garage is not really that far outside the realm of reality. For whatever reason, people do not like parking on the top level of garages so it is hard for some garages to realize revenue from those spaces. A green roof rented with plots rented out (to area restaurants for example) or designed as leasable event space could result in unrealized revenue for a garage owner. The top level of garages also need more maintenance than the inner levels as they are exposed to the weather.
I didn’t mean that the concept of a greenspace roof was a reach in general, just so in the case of a developer that already wants to phase out ground level retail. I could very well be wrong about this, hell, I HOPE I’m wrong about this.
If designed well a parking garage could be built that mimics the look of the Manchester and former South St power plants. If they are adding 750 spaces then they are eliminating the retail to prevent having to build higher. Are there any plans or renderings out there for the garage. I haven’t seen any.
From day one, I always thought they would pull Parcel 42 into the mix. It just makes sense to front the complex on Dyer. I saw them putting a bigger and expanded gift shop/sport store or some other retail and maybe a restaurant/bar with sidewalk seating. They would open up the street front and connect directly into the ball park. A hotel? Why not. But Parcel 42 is and always was slated for development so I am not sure I want to see it given away for free.
I agree with barry’s point.
No amount of compromise or adjustment to make these plans the best they could possibly be from an urban and land use standpoint is going to overcome the real harm done to Rhode Island (by allowing its capital city and its fourth largest municipality to be played against each other this way), to Providence (through a land/tax giveaway masked as “state assistance”), and to Pawtucket (for the loss of McCoy Stadium.)
This is a bad plan and will always be a bad plan, regardless of how much work is done to make it the “best” or least-bad plan it could possibly be.
Providence is not being “played” against Pawtucket. The team is going to leave McCoy. Anyone who thinks this team will be in Pawtucket in five years time if Providence falls through is dreaming. What’s really happening is Rhode Island is being played against Massachusetts. This doesn’t mean we should take a suckers deal. However, it does mean that this team will end up in north of the RI border if “not one penny in taxpayer dollars” is the only option. I am still waiting for their proposal before I pass judgement.
Also, to be clear, Pawtucket is not “losing” McCoy Stadium, which could and should be repurposed upon the departure of the baseball team.