Nordblom Company and Cornish Associates Purchase The Providence Journal Building
Nordblom Company and Cornish Associates are pleased to announce their joint purchase of the historic Providence Journal Building located at 75 Fountain Street in the heart of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. This purchase also includes two adjoining parking lots at 78 Fountain Street and 1 Eddy Street. The Seller was A.H. Belo, who had owned these three properties and the newspaper until its sale in late 2014. The CBRE team, lead by Senior Vice President/Partner Alden Anderson, oversaw the transaction.
The building affords exceptional space in a terrific city location. Directly across the street from the Convention Center and Omni Providence Hotel, it also overlooks Kennedy Plaza, generally considered the heart of the city and the state’s transportation hub. Other notable neighbors include the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the 1 million square foot Providence Place Mall. The location also benefits from proximity to the flourishing retail stores and restaurants throughout downcity.
Cornish and Nordblom plan to commence immediately with improvements to the building. Their plan includes modernizing and revitalizing this iconic property while offering leases to a broad cross section of tenants ranging from full-floor users to 2-5,000 square foot occupants. With the building’s large windows and tall, bright spaces, it will provide exceptional new offices at very competitive rents in the marketplace. This is the first time, since its construction, that significant space has been available in this property and it offers an extraordinary opportunity for a wide range of prospective tenants. When renovations are complete at the close of 2015, the building will feature 160,000 square feet of renovated office space as well as over 10,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space facing the newly re-designed Emmet Square.
Arnold B. Chace, President of Cornish Associates comments, “we are delighted with this exciting new project in the heart of Providence and are pleased to be partnering in these acquisitions with Boston-based Nordblom Company who share a similar vision and considerable experience in the nearby Boston-area markets. Bringing additional office tenants into the building and activating the street-level spaces at Emmet Square will inject renewed vitality into the neighborhood around the Convention Center. The additional tenants and foot-traffic will help support the burgeoning restaurant and retail environment in downcity.”
“Providence is a vibrant city which is recovering nicely from the real estate doldrums, “observed Og Hunnewell, EVP/Vice President of Nordblom Company. “This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire and reposition several prime properties into a vibrant mixed-use project in the heart of the city. Renovation and redevelopment of these properties will compliment the work Cornish has done revitalizing properties in downtown Providence over the last decade. The timing could not be better for us to bring this property to market with dynamic new leadership at both the city and state levels and the economy improving.”
The renovation of the building is being done by a team comprised of Site Specific of Providence, RI as the general contractor and Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc. (SGA) of Boston, MA as the architect. Notable projects by Site Specific include the Biltmore Garage retail renovation in Providence, RI, various renovation projects at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, and renovation of the Innovation Lab at Harvard University. Notable projects by SGA include the GTECH Headquarters in Providence, RI, the soon to be built graduate student housing building at the South Street Landing project in Providence, RI, as well as interior renovations of the LogMeIn Headquarters in Boston, MA.
The Providence Journal Building was constructed in 1934 by architect, Albert Kahn. Kahn, known as the architect of Detroit, was first to develop a type of fire resistant construction that would enhance factories. Detroit benefits form a long list of architecturally significant commercial and residential developments done by Kahn. In Providence, his design for the Providence Journal allowed the growing newspaper to expand from its inadequate offices on Westminster Street to the new facility on Fountain Street. Built in the Georgian-Revival style in post-Depression America, the Fountain Street structure was originally three stories with the fourth floor being added in 1948. In 1957, the garage at Emmet Square was added to help facilitate the delivery of newspapers by truck.
About Nordblom Company
Nordblom Company is a real estate enterprise with a 90-year history of investing, managing, and developing properties throughout the New England region and select markets across the country. The company currently owns office, commercial, and multi-family properties in the New England and Carolina markets and is committed to creating dynamic work and living environments that further the quality of life for the people who occupy its properties. Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts with offices in Boston, Brookline, and Raleigh, North Carolina, Nordblom Company has $1.2 billion in assets under management.
About Cornish Associates
Cornish Associates is an innovative real estate development company committed to the principles of New Urbanism and to the overarching mission of creating diverse, walkable, and sustainable places. The company provides planning, design, development, and property management services as owner/developer and consultant on a broad variety of mixed-use real estate ventures. Cornish owns and manages 13 properties in downcity Providence with 197 apartments and 35 small businesses. Cornish also owns and manages Mashpee Commons, a mixed-use commercial and residential development on Cape Cod. Cornish Associates is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island.[box style=”note”]Full disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates.[/box]