ProJo: Historic Providence buildings could get a microloft-hotel makeover

In Buildings by Jef Nickerson15 Comments

The Old Providence Journal Building at the corner of Eddy and Fulton, Kresge Building at left

A new microloft-style hotel is being planned in downtown Providence, at the site of two historical buildings on Westminster Street that were purchased Friday for $4.3 million.

Developer Jim Abdo said he plans to invest at least $30 million more to renovate the two buildings for his new Providence hotel, Hotel Hive, a brand he started with the opening of Hotel Hive in Washington, D.C., in 2016.

The new Providence hotel will be built at the former Providence Journal building at 203 Westminster St., and its next-door neighbor, the former Kresge’s department store.

This is great news for Downtown and great news for these buildings. It has been such a shame that these buildings have remained under-utilized for so long, it will be great to see them lit up, active, and full of people. I also think this location provides a great opportunity for another roof-top restaurant/bar…

About the Author

Jef Nickerson

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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.

Comments

  1. Incredibly exciting! With this new activity coming, the block of Fulton Street between these buildings and City Hall really needs to be closed to vehicles and transformed into a plaza. In it’s current condition, it is really gross and is little but a private parking lot for City Hall employees and Councillors.

  2. This news + the planned Woolworth Building renovation gets me so excited.

  3. Awesome proposal! It would really compliment the existing shops and eateries along Westminster!

  4. Great news for Providence. I happen to work a couple blocks from the Hive Hotel in Washington and can attest that Abdo did a very nice job renovating the formerly marginal property in which it’s housed.

  5. Yes this is great for providence. It’s about time providence is bringing more people that live downtown and make it vibrant. Now I hope the Superman building gets turned into a hotel buy the virgin owner.

  6. We can all agree that this will be great for Westminster. I love the idea of turning that side street into a pedestrian mall/gardens/beer garden. $30mm is a lot of money, that has to mean there will be a significant amount of rooms — which is great for the density of that area.

    Jef, do you know who owns the last open lots on the downtown part of Westminster? The surface parking lots between Malted Barley and Coal Fired Pizza on both sides of the street? That area is the last piece of the streetscape to be filled in.

  7. this might be an unpopular opinion here but I kind of wished that the two buildings were turned into apartments with affordable housing instead of a hotel. They’re right by Kennedy plaza and rent downtown is pretty expensive compared to the rest of the city. Also there’s more than enough hotels downtown that already exist or are currently being built. I’m glad that these buildings aren’t vacant anymore being left to rot though.

  8. Author

    They actually don’t lay out very well for apartments because the of the placement of windows and depth of the building, especially Kresge. That being said, it will be interesting to see how they make hotel rooms work in there.

  9. I like this project a lot. Since it came up sort of, I am interested in hearing what’re people’s thoughts on making Westminster street as a whole a pedestrian mall?

    Obviously would have to get the business input but it seems like an ideal street to have as a pedestrian mall with lots of smaller storefronts, and apartments/office space above, easily accessible from Kennedy plaza as well as well as PPAC area. I just imagine a street where all the hotel patrons and downtown renters can go for food and bars and some “boutique” shopping.

    I know this state is obsessed with on street parking so everyone would freak about the lack of it but creating a four block long section of the city just for people to enjoy themselves free of cars seems like a good opportunity.

  10. Author

    The Mayor (or maybe it was the previous Mayor) had proposed closing Westminster on Fridays. The merchants hated the idea because: parking. Business owners don’t always know what’s good for them, but if they’re against it, it is hard to get traction.

  11. Westminster, between Dorance & at least Mathewson, was closed to vehicles and was a pedestrian mall all through the ’70’s & early ’80’s. It was dimly lit and very sketchy at night. When it reopened to cars (87?) it was a big deal, and it was supposed to go straight across Empire and right up over 95. They wanted to knock down McVinney auditorium to make way.
    Am I the only one old enough to remember this?

  12. Author

    Here’s a few photos.


    Westminster Mall during construction.


    Westminster Mall pedestrianized.


    Joe Paolino re-opening Westminster Street to automobile traffic. Casual Corner is the Kresge Building and next to it is the Old ProJo Buidling, where the hotel is proposed.

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