15-story ‘Edge College Hill Two’ proposed for Canal Street site

Massing model of proposed Edge College Hill Two. The first Edge College Hill building under construciton now is rendered to the left. DBVW Architects

While the 15-story Edge College Hill building is currently under construction on Canal Street, a proposal for a second 15-story building (Edge College Hill Two), will be heard by the Downtown Design Review Committee on Monday, January 8th.

Providence Business News reports on the proposal:

The application by Steeple Street RI LLC would place the Edge College Hill Two building at 131 Canal St., with frontage on Canal, Elizabeth and North Main streets, and wrapping around the historic Congdon & Carpenter building.

The development pursued by Vision Properties, of Conshohocken, Pa., would require development rights transferred from the adjoining historical building to reach the proposed height of 15 stories.


Michael Viveiros, a principal at the firm, said the building would feature one-bedroom and efficiency apartments, but with larger footprints than the micro-units to be offered in the first building.

The two new buildings would not be mirror images in design. “We’re making a design very specific to the neighborhood and addressing what is a changing scale [in Providence],” he said.

The first thing to note, the image at the top of the post is a massing model, not a rendering as PBN identified it in their story. There is an important difference.

The project is asking to transfer development rights at Monday’s DRC meeting. If the Congdon & Carpenter buildings (the historic ones on the corner of Steeple and Canal, where Fat Belly’s used to be) weren’t there, 100′ buildings would be allowed in their place. Rather than tearing them down (the HORROR!) to attain that development potential, the developer is asking to transfer that potential to the vacant site. If approved, the building would be allowed to rise up to 158′.

The massing model is showing this full development potential. A rendering (which this is not) would show the actual layout of the structure.

I’m all about this potential development, but I would hope the building designed for this site would pull down at the corner of North Main and Steeple to be more in scale with the rest of the buildings at that instersection. A stepback along the lines of what is seen on RISD’s Prov-Wash Building (the one at the bottom right of the image) would be comfortable.

I’m also glad it will not be matchy-matchy with the building already under construction. I’m looking forward to seeing a rendering.

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16 Responses to 15-story ‘Edge College Hill Two’ proposed for Canal Street site

  1. Mike Collins January 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

    Has there been any mention of parking with this building? Is it geared towards students or non-students?

  2. Steve January 7, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    I would much prefer less footprint and 3-4 more floors…an 18-19 story building.

  3. Jim Green January 8, 2018 at 11:35 am #

    Isn’t this parcel still a railroad right of way leading to the East Side train tunnel?

  4. KCB January 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

    Incredibly excited to see another high rise project downtown. I hope that this is just the beginning because there is a lot of demand for downtown residential units. With each project, it adds to the foot traffic of downtown, and that will undoubtedly improve the downtown culture. With the first phase, along with the Homewood Suites project, I wish their was a roof deck or viewing area for WaterFire events. I think that would be a nice feature. I also hope that they will be including ground level retail on the first floor of the second phase.

    Let’s rejoice that another surface parking lot in Providence bites the dust. With regards to the railroad ROW, it seems unlikely that any repurposing of the East Side Railroad Tunnel would include a connection to Providence Station. I’d like to see the tunnel be used for transportation, but it would make more sense to embrace a different transportation option. Many cities are using gondolas or trams as a more efficient (and far cheaper) way to move people. Why not run a gondola through the tunnel, stop at Brown, stop at Gano, and cross the Seekonk River to a terminal in East Providence with plenty of parking for commuters. This will help to alleviate alot of travel across the Washington Bridge, which in the morning is madness. That’s a different discussion, though.

    I’m sure the “college students” versus “full time residents” argument will be brought up soon, but bringing more people downtown to walk around, frequent businesses, etc. is a good thing. The full time resident high rise buildings will come at some point, I hope.

  5. David Rocha January 8, 2018 at 1:26 pm #

    I love it! Another 227 apartments in that spot adds considerable foot traffic to the area! I have a feeling they’re going to revisit one of the architectural styles they had originally rolled out as options for the first building, but I certainly hope I’m wrong. Is anybody heading to the DDRC meeting today? I’d really love to see the conceptual rendering!

  6. Steve January 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm #

    I cannot. But we need folks there to support it – even encourage a smaller footprint and 3-4 floors taller. At least we can all send a email to them NOW.

  7. Roger Leaf January 8, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

    I agree that this site needs to be sensitive to the surrounding space. It should complement the scale and character of the Providence-Wash, Congdon and Carpenter Buildings, and the others along Steeple Street to the west, even as it transitions to the new Eldridge Hill building to the north. I believe the blocks north of the new Eldridge Hill building are more appropriate for a building of this size, and by merging zoning lots, the developer could probably transfer some of the development rights further north, where a building of this scale would be more appropriate.

    The worst outcome would be to build out to the site to its full potential with TDRs, with no setbacks, and with ground floor parking instead of retail space!

  8. Steve January 8, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    I wrote to the DDRC:
    DRC Application No. 17.46: 131 Canal Street

    This proposed 15-story mixed-use building to be constructed at 131 Canal Street is both consistent and complementary of the existing immediate area. In fact, I would encourage discussion of a possible reduction in footprint and an additional 3-4 stories so as to have an 18-19 floor structure (180-200 feet). Surely, not a tall building for Providence’s downtown.

    The taller the structure, the more it will sync the Cancel Street structures to those in the Capital Center, creating a strong and impressive urban density.

    I strongly suggest that the DDRC take affirmative action with respect to the requested items.

    I have tired of the “too tall, too big” every time a proposal is put forward. It’s downtown Providence!

  9. Gio January 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

    Another open lot possibly biting the dust, good to see. Really helps close off that side of North Main as well. Now lets get a proposal for the financial district!

  10. KCB January 8, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

    I wish there was a public website that visually showed all the projects planned, approved, and under construction…including number of hotel rooms or residential units. There is alot on the drawing board right now and I think since it is not aggregated in a single location, most people don’t understand the amount of progress the City is making. A website would also make Providence more attractive to other out of state developers that see the investment that is being made here. They may not be aware of Providence, the city, the culture, the influx of young people moving here, etc. It would be the perfect “show me” type of marketing campaign.

    There has to be close to 2,000+ apartments proposed or under construction at this point, right? Assuming each one has 2 people, that is 4,000 new downtown (or nearly downtown) residents. On a percentage basis, that is huge. Let’s keep this momentum going!

  11. Mike January 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm #

    There is this site. I can’t vouch for the accuracy but seems pretty up to date.
    You can also access it through the city’s website –
    Under Doing Business then Construction.

  12. Gio January 8, 2018 at 10:07 pm #

    There is also this website:

    It only shows development in the Jewelry District, but would love to see it expand to the erst of the city.

  13. Roger Leaf January 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    I would respectfully disagree with the premise that this site is “downtown.” It is between College Hill and Canal Walk, or at least what should be Canal Walk – I can’t for the life of me understand why the City hasn’t done more to link the existing promenade to Roger Williams Park, particularly with all the development on Canal between Steeple and Park Row.

    I would also would not be a fan of a tall tower in the middle of a mini plaza. I would much rather see an extension of the curtain-wall façade that runs along Canal Walk from College Street to the Congdon & Carpenter Building (with setbacks above), which is arguably one of the most architecturally rich collections of buildings in the City, and clearly one of the most visible. I think a larger building along Park Row would relate better to development in the Capital District, especially if something of comparable mass were to be built along Park Row on the Citizens parking lot. It’s not about “too tall, too big” as it is about context. There are plenty of sites that really are downtown where bigger and taller would really work.

  14. Steve January 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

    The site is very much downtown…that is why it is under review by the Downtown Design Review Committee.

    However, I fully agree with you that a larger building along Park Row would relate better to development in the Capital District, especially if something of comparable mass were to be built along Park Row on the Citizens parking lot.

    My view is do what you say AND expand that scale along Canal, South Main, and of course on the other side along Dyer Street down to Point Street.

  15. David Rocha January 9, 2018 at 3:32 pm #

    I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find if any photos of the conceptual rendering popped up, but to no avail. Has anybody seen anything?

  16. Andy January 10, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

    I think you hit every point on the head, Jef!

    Thanks for explaining renditions vs. massing height. A scale-back at N. Main and Steeple make reasonable sense. Looking forward to some renderings!

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