The Downtown Design Review Committee unanimously approved a series of requests Monday that officially cleared the way for the Procaccianti Group Inc. to start tearing down the old John E. Fogarty Building on Fountain Street, possibly within three months.
Procaccianti Group Vice President Michael A. Voccola told the committee that the company expects to need between 45 and 60 days to knock down the concrete behemoth. If no unexpected delays occur, construction on an eight-story extended-stay hotel on the site could begin in early fall, the company said.
Perhaps it’s beyond the scope of the Design Review Committee to have done so, but Providence City Council and Mayor Elorza need to act to assure that this doesn’t turn into another surface lot.
Parking lot tax!
I’d almost rather see a parking lot than the crapitecture proposed for this property. Ok, I’d actually prefer to see a better design – but still.
Better yet, why not preserve and refurbish the Fogarty? Not everyone loves it, but at least it has some integrity. That’s a lot more than can be said for the parade of cookie cutter dryvit fodder that seems to be all the rage.
I am a believer of saving and reusing old structures, but not every building needs to be saved. This is an unattractive cold-feeling stone slab of a building and almost anything would be an improvement in my humble opinion. Plus tax generating hotels are certainly a preference to state office buildings usage wise.
Do these developers that have interests in commercial real estate see it in their benefit to tear down buildings in order to reduce vacant space and prop up per square footage lease values? I’ve long been a believer in an invisible hand approach to get these developers to do what you need as a city. I think the lack of a surface parking lot tax is a perfect example of a small fix that can go a long way to improving the city in both aesthetics, liveability, and supporting urban planning goals. However, I just don’t see this development sticking to its plan. I hope we can review this and people can say “told ya so”, but I don’t see it. So to me it doesn’t matter if this design is somewhat tolerable. I still don’t know who is going to be staying at these “extended stay” hotels in downtown when there are far better “cosmopolitan? (used lightly)” options. Even right across the street, at The Dean. Providence is a city that has grown to be very quirky/trendy, I’m not convinced this development fits the culture/environment.
If the governor really is an advocate for a strong capital city, why not explore a plan to bring all State workers into the capital for their daily jobs? Any administrative function that is not customer facing 90% of the time should be located in the state capital. This is what is needed to spark a second downtown renaissance. There are 19,245 state workers in RI. There has to be a few thousand candidates for transfer to Providence facilities. If only 3,000 people were relocated to the city, and each of them spent $10.00 per day on lunch/coffee/etc. it would inject $7,500,000 annually into the Providence economy. I understand it would take it away from the suburbs, but frankly Providence is the capital city and without a strong capital city, we will continue to lose the opportunity to attract the interest of multinational companies like General Electric (GE) or Amazon or whatever company du jour it is that’s thinking about relocation or expansion. It should be all hands on deck to direct more development to Providence…without a strong capital city, you can’t have a strong state.
One of things that makes Providence so unique is the fact that so few buildings were razed over the years. Somehow Providence survived multiple waves of urban renewal and was able to retain much of its urban fabric.
This so called “unattractive cold-feeling stone slab” is a distinctive example of a specific time and place in history. It would be a shame to lose it to something as generic as the proposed design – or worse – a surface parking lot.
I’m sorry, but in what universe is that “unattractive cold-feeling stone slab” part of a vibrant urban landscape and not a misplaced foray into suburban brutalism? The building looks like it was designed to be part of a suburban office park, the seat of a small parking lot, or an unfortunate addition to a college campus. As a piece of urban architecture, it turns the sidewalks into inhospitable concrete nightmares, as if it was actively trying to disengage from its surroundings. The high concrete bunker that flanks the street is the main culprit, however it’s unlikely this condition could be improved. It was erected to detriment of the neighborhood many years ago and continues this effect today. As built, the Fogarty cannot inspire much more urban vitality than the parking lot that will surely replace it.
Ooh! Gauntlet thrown in Subjective Architecture Opinions Battle Royale! I like it.
Demo by neglect is at work here as per usual, and I will bet anyone a dozen Allies Donuts that there won’t be a building on this lot for at least 8 years. If ever.
There is nothing subjective about a blank concrete wall blocking my view
I’d take that bet, mothra.
I say that, not because I have much faith in the developer (why would I?), but because the proposal for this site is so modest, blasè, mundane, pedestrian, and unexciting that I feel like I can realistically expect it to be within the developer’s power to complete. A ringing endorsement!
If the proposal were another glassy, flashy tower, I would agree that the developer was probably just providing cover for the ulterior motive of surface parking.
But the actual proposal here is so BORING that I can’t see it as a bait-and-switch.
I’ll take it over the Fogarty, too. Something is better than nothing, and I could never get excited about the sterile brutalist architecture of that building anyway.