Greater City Providence

“River View Hotel and Gallery” proposed for 195 east side parcel

Proposed ‘River View Hotel and Gallery’ on 195 District Parcel 1A

At last night’s 195 Commission Meeting, Cambridge, Mass. based GNF Associates presented plans for a 5-story, 52-room boutique hotel at 195 District Parcel 1A on the east bank of the Providence River.

The Providence Journal reports:

The proposed “River View Hotel” would be a five-story building of approximately 30,000 square feet. Fandetti said many of the rooms and suites would offer terraces with views of the water. The plans also call for an 1,800-square-foot art gallery, a 50-plus-seat restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a cafe/bar and 16 to 20 parking spaces.


The architectural concepts presented include “a strong street side presence via art gallery, cafe and restaurant; extensive use of brick to harmonize with existing buildings in the area; step back from the river to open up space at the boardwalk and river; and many hotel rooms will have open terraces to take advantage of the river view and view of downtown.”

Providence Business News reports:

In a brief presentation to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Monday, Gerald Fandetti said he wanted to build an arts-infused boutique hotel in Providence that would fit into the small site fronting the river. It would incorporate the public park running along the river, and be an inviting presence, he said. The proposed art gallery would include the work of Rhode Island School of Design students and faculty, he said, and draw on the artists in the region.


The schematic design includes a two-level restaurant and art gallery at streetside, with curtain walls of glass that would be inviting to pedestrians. The floors above would be tiered back from the river in levels, allowing for guest rooms and open terraces that overlook the river and Downtown Providence.

That design is so damn retro I feel like I have to like it. What it looks like from South Water Street is a very important question. I’d also like to see a rendering of it from afar, it sits all by itself right on the riverbank, feels weird.

I think this is also the thousandth proposed or under-construction hotel in the city.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I feel like this is an pretty equal combo of the brick building behind it, and the Moshassuck apartments up the street. I really want to see a few more angles on this though. I’m not sure why I like it, but I do.

  • Excellent start – great location for a boutique hotel..will be a tourist haven.

  • It’s great that this project and the South Street Landing project will create something to walk towards on the RiverWalk. Personally, I’d like to see the entire RiverWalk built out with retail, hotel, residences, galleries, entertainment venues, etc. Sure, preserve open space but do so thoughtfully — we already have India Point Park and dedicated space from the 195 move.

    One thing missing from this rendering — water taxi / boat landing and/or a few boat slips. If they are going to harp on using our water resources (which they should), they need to incorporate that feature.

    The rendering also shows the glass balcony on the roof, would be cool to have a roof deck or venue space up there. Overall, I think its a good starting point. We need more development *on the RiverWalk* — not across the street from the RiverWalk.

  • Finally Prov is taking advantage of its own river front. The walk on that side of the water is a goal dud from the boat launch closer to downtown stretching to the point st bridge. Great spot for a hotel.

  • There have been a lot of hotel proposals, true, but this one is definitely unique. Agreed about seeing more angles before judging, but I can’t help being at least interested.

    You can’t say that about the GLO proposal, for instance.

    I like the idea of squeezing utility out of an odd, small site. Not totally in love with the design, but I don’t hate it, either.

  • Retro 80s junk. Looks like every hotel along the monorail route in Orlando/Disney circa 1983. Would rather see a traditional wood clabbored 19th century shingle style boathouse in this spot along the river or go ultra glass and steel modern. Not everything has to be red brick and mortar in Providence, nor does this need to blend in with the equally as horrible building across So. Water from the parcel. Those tiered balconies will be covered with ice, snow and rain half the year. Bleh! Haha

  • The balconies have to stay.

    The idea about the shingle style boathouse is interesting, a grand coastal New England boutique hotel would be so great. Maybe that is something that could be considered for the East Providence waterfront. I’ve always believed that Providence was missing an opportunity to become a boating capital city. The south of India Point Park should have hundreds of slips and moorings. As should the East Providence waterfront and the Seekonk River.

    If they go forward with a riverfront hotel in the “inner harbor” or whatever we want to calls it (north of the Hurricane Barrier) — they need to incorporate boating / water taxis / etc. into the design. They need to offer their guests kayaks and small watercraft tours, and even the ability to come in for lunch via boat from elsewhere in the Upper Narragansett Bay. What a shame it is that there aren’t people out enjoying the river and upper bay every day. We should view moorings and slips as a way to increase native RI visitors who don’t want to get a hotel room when they already own a boat. Adding a couple hundred moorings or slips would be the equivalent of building a couple hundred more hotel rooms. Not to mention that they’d generate revenue for the City to the tune of $4-5,000 per season each.

    When the Bold Point Park concert venue is operational, easy water-based travel between downtown and the park will be a necessity, and demand for places to dock for the evening will explode. Providence will have to address this sooner or later.

  • “I’ve always believed that Providence was missing an opportunity to become a boating capital city.”

    Agree..fully. Huge opportunity that always is obscured by the more parks silliness and “working waterfront” calls.

    If Boston cN do it, Providence can.

  • “Those tiered balconies will be covered with ice, snow and rain half the year. Bleh! Haha” like every hotel in the northern hemisphere. Who cares it’s a great location and Weill be very well used year round. Also totally agree on the boating aspect. The Prov river needs more traffic. How many cities have access to the ocean and a river that extends to downtown? These type of proposals are on the right track.

  • Gio, it is the point that they are “tiered” which is the reason for the comment; not because they are simply balconies. Aesthetically, the tiered balcony is dated and is not visually pleasing. Because it is a great location and likely to be used frequently, we can and should expect better design.

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