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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Cornish Associates purchases The Providence Journal Building with Boston partner

75 Fountain Street – Image from Google Streetview

In a press release out today, Cornish Associates announces that they’ve purchased The Providence Journal Building and two neighboring parking lots with their partner, Norblom Company of Boston.


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.

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News on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge

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The Providence Journal: Pedestrian bridge over Providence River being ‘reevaluated’ by RI transportation officials

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is now “reevaluating” the bridge project, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement in response to questions from The Providence Journal.

“Given our current funding levels, RIDOT is reevaluating this project given the availability of funding,” Alviti wrote. “RIDOT must take into consideration the many needs for Rhode Island’s deficient bridges and deteriorated roadways. With reliable, predictable funding provided through the RhodeWorks program, RIDOT would be in a better position to schedule and fund projects such as the pedestrian bridge.”

The Feds let us use the money we’d save on not removing the piers in the river on the new highway. Will the Feds make us remove the piers if we don’t build the bridge?

Salisbury said his association would be “really disappointed” if the bridge isn’t built — plus, he questions what would happen to the old highway piers that once carried Route 195 over the river and now remain in the river, intended to carry the pedestrian bridge along the highway’s old path. Seven years ago, the DOT agreed to build the pedestrian bridge on those piers — and said the $2 million it would save by not demolishing them would go toward building the bridge. The DOT has already paid $1.4 million to design the pedestrian bridge, which was expected to cost $5.5 million.


Also, last week, PBN reported on possible changes to the design of the bridge.

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195 Parcels 22 & 25 Wexford Science & Technology and CV Properties LLC proposal

Completed development plan

Wexford Science & Technology and CV Properties LLC presented their plans for a mixed-use residential, hotel, office, and laboratory development on 195 parcels 22 and 25 to the 195 Commission earlier this week. Some of what they shared with the Commission below:


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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission – June 17, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
June 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  1. Roll call
  2. Introduction of new Commission members
  3. Update from Planning Department on planned crosswalk across Dave Gavitt Way at Westminster Street
  4. Approval of meeting minutes from April Commission meeting
  5. Introduction of new RI Bicycle Coalition staff
  6. Discussion of improved connections between Providence Place Mall and East Bay Bike Path
  7. Discussion of Health Equity Zone (HEZ) grant received by Healthy Communities Office from the RI Department of Health
  8. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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ProJo: R.I. Senate Majority Leader Ruggerio wants state control of taxes on former Rt. 195 land, tax-stabilization deal

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Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio expects to submit legislation Thursday that would establish state control over the taxes to be paid on former Route 195 highway parcels in the capital city, creating a 20-year tax-stabilization agreement for private developers and removing the city’s control over what taxes would be paid.

Ruggerio led work in 2011 to create the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, which now owns 26 acres of former highway land and seeks to develop the land in a way that stimulates the state’s economy. The land panel just last week extended the deadline for a private developer seeking to build on the land to get a tax-stabilization agreement with the city.

“The administration and the I-195 commission have repeatedly stated they cannot successfully encourage development without the City of Providence creating tax-stabilization standards. Unfortunately, the establishment of clear and predictable tax rates for the I-195 district have not come to fruition,” Ruggerio said in a statement. “We cannot afford to wait any longer. The development of I-195 is critical to Rhode Island’s economic recovery and this legislation will encourage investment, job creation and economic growth.”

I think the City has not been fast enough in moving on their part of getting the land developed. However, I think the administration and the City Council are waiting to hear from the State how we’ll be reimbursed for creating these incentives that theoretically are boosting the economy of the entire state, not just Providence.

Providence carries a heavy burden of hosting so many jobs and so much infrastructure that makes the very existance of this state possible, but doesn’t get very much back for its trouble.

Ruggerio said he last met with Elorza probably in February, but he hadn’t shared his legislation with Elorza before releasing it today.

Well that is just rude. If you’re representing my city, and you’re moving to take away my taxing authority, a phone call or a text, maybe a fax, is in order.

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WPRI: Major life-sciences complex proposed for 195 land

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Life-sciences complex proposed for Parcels 22 and 25. Image from Google Maps.

Two private developers – Wexford Science & Technology LLC and CV Properties LLC – submitted a proposal last week to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission seeking approval for a million-square-foot-plus multi-use project on parcel 22 and parcel 25 of the vacant former highway land, WPRI.com confirmed Wednesday.

“It is a major life sciences complex that includes lab space, academic research space, a hotel with meeting space and residential and retail components,” Eric Cote, a spokesman for CV Properties, told WPRI.com.

“It is a very large proposed complex,” he said. “The size that it may ultimately be will depend on our discussions with the 195 Commission, so it could change, but it’s currently envisioned as a project in excess of 1 million square feet.

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Performers announced for June Providence International Arts Festival #PVDfest

providence-festival

At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Elorza announced some of the performers that will be part of the 1st Annual Providence International Arts Festival, June 11-14, 2015. Below is a long press release from the Mayor’s Office. Also find information at pvdfestival.com:


The Providence International Arts Festival Extensive Artist Roster Announced

Mayor Elorza Announces Artist Roster for Signature Festival to Showcase Local, National and International Artists

Mayor Jorge Elorza and FirstWorks Executive Artistic Director Kathleen Pletcher today announced the artist roster for the PROVIDENCE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL set for June 13th, 2015, with extended events taking place June 11th-14th. In this first-ever signature event, arts and culture stage a friendly takeover of the city with 500 artists, 30 public art installations, 15 stages, 18 participating venues, 6 outdoor bars, 3 jaw dropping spectacles, and much more. The dramatic scale and scope of this marquee Festival in the “Creative Capital” of Rhode Island is due to the public-private partnership forged between the City’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and FirstWorks, a Providence-based non-profit organization dedicated to building community through the arts. Festival lead sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, Providence Tourism Council, the Rhode Island Foundation, along with key support from IGT (formerly GTECH), and The Avenue Concept. All main Festival events are free and open to the public.

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Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – May 19, 2015

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 19, 2015 • 8:00am
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes – Meetings of January 20, 2015, March 17, 2015 and April 21, 2015
  3. Francis Street & Memorial Boulevard Intersection Safety Improvements
    Continued review of proposed safety improvements.
  4. Adjournment

There’s not really any safety improvements to the Memorial and Francis intersection (which is a pedestrian nightmare). It is basically to further keep people from walking along the side along the Omni and getting killed crossing the ramp traffic. No changes to the roadway to make anything safer.

francis-memorial-001

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Warwick Beacon: RI Mall won’t house outlets

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Rhode Island Mall. Image from Bing.

Outlet stores won’t be coming to Warwick.

On Thursday, Adam Winstanley of Winstanley Enterprise LLC confirmed reports the proposal to convert Rhode Island Mall into an outlet mall has been abandoned and that the company has a contract to sell the property, which as Midland Mall was the state’s first suburban mall.

Winstanley sees Rhode Island Mall as “coming back as a big box mall,” meaning in place of smaller stores congregated around a couple of anchor stores, there would be five or six larger stores. He put those stores at between 40,000 and 60,000 square feet each.

Because we all know what a sure bet big box stores have been over the last decade.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – May 11, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, May 11, 2015 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 1st Floor Conference Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of March 9, 2015

New Business

44-hospital

1. DRC Application No. 13.13: 44 Hospital Street Proposal by 44 Hospital Street, LLC to demolish the existing structure located at 44 Hospital Street, and to construct a new six?story mixed?use building on the site. The applicant was granted a waiver for demolition of the existing building and conceptual approval of the new design at the July 8, 2013 DRC meeting. The applicant is returning to the DRC for final design review.

Adjournment


The Jewelry District Association posted some information and renderings (more at the link) last week. It is hard to judge from the line drawing what the building will look like exactly, but it appears to have a good mass and handsome proportions.

Unfortunately, this is set to replace an existing building, so no net gain in built lots.

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Elorza updates street sweeping plans

elorza-street-sweeping

Photo from Mayor Elorza’s Facebook page

Mayor Elorza held a press conference this morning to provide an update on the street sweeping schedule. I asked on Twitter about prohibiting parking during scheduled street sweeping.


I did take it upon myself to sweep the street in front of my house a few weeks ago, but the rest of my block remains littered with detritus even after the street sweepers went by because no one knew they were coming.

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Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ seeks 2-year extension

public-safety-building-lot

Image from Google Street View

The owners of the Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ are seeking a 2-year extension of the non-compliant use at Tuesday’s Zoning Board of Review meeting:

PRI XIV, LP: 197-209 Fountain Street (bounded by Empire St., Greene St. and Broadway), also known as Lots 116 & 436 on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 25, located in a D-1 Downtown District, filed an application requesting a USE VARIANCE seeking relief from Article 12 – Section 1201, Use Matrix Table 12-1, to continue the use the subject property for surface parking. The applicant seeks relief from the use restriction; whereby, surface parking lots are not permitted within the D-1 district. The lots in question together contain approximately 44,547 square feet of land area.

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News & Notes – PawSox Edition

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PawSox dugout at McCoy Stadium. Photo (cc) Eric Kilby

WPRI: Lucchino responds to skepticism over proposed Providence ballpark

Lucchino, one of the team’s new owners, said the project is a clear economic engine for the local economy, and not just through baseball.

“We have to build a ballpark that has multiple uses, that can attract football and could attract concerts, that can have some art events at the thing,” he said. “Make it an major civic center for Providence.”

[…]

Lucchino believes the new park will not only boost the economy, but also revitalize downtown Providence. He hopes to bring a million people to the capital city by generating small businesses and jobs.


PBN: Pawsox greeted by skeptical I-195 commission and audience

Owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox presented a detailed plan for moving the AAA team to downtown Providence Monday, earning a skeptical if not critical reception from the commission that controls the site the team wants for its new ballpark.

In questions posed during the meeting of the Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Commission, commissioners questioned both the public cost and the tax benefits of the proposed development, and whether the state could find a more effective use for the site to attract highly desirable high-tech or life sciences development to the I-195 lands.

The question of other uses seems odd, so far as I know we still haven’t found a way out of the federal requirement for park land at this location.


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PBN: Union Trust Co. building sold

federal-reserve

The Union Trust Co. Building aka The Federal Reserve Building. Image from Google Maps

I think most of us know this as the Federal Reserve Building, or, where the Dorrance is.

The landmark Union Trust Co. building downtown has been sold to the development group that produced the Providence G complex, with plans to convert its offices to apartments.

The building, at 170 Westminster St., includes The Dorrance restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant will remain, and a second floor converted to commercial space. The remaining 10 floors of the mid-rise building will be renovated over five years into rental apartments, according to Brendan Moran, property manager for both the Providence G complex and the Union Trust building.

The article says the full renovation will take 5-years, but they plan to start leasing the end of this year, which seems weird. It will be nice to have another 60 units downtown.

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Johnson & Wales University begins work on 195 parcel

jwu-jd

As reported in PBN and editorialized about in the ProJo, Johnson & Wales University has begun site work on their new academic building. This will be the first thing built on former Route 195 land.


Providence Business News: JWU begins site prep for $40M academic building downtown

Construction is expected to be completed by July 2016 and is expected to be the first development on the former Interstate-195 lands in Providence, which were made available following the relocation of the highway. The university purchased the site in 2012.

The project will place a 71,000-square-foot building at the corner of Friendship and Chestnut streets, and will house the university’s School of Engineering and Design, and College of Arts and Sciences biology program.


The Providence Journal: Editorial: Breaking new ground

This activity on the former highway land, coupled with nearby plans for a University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island College nursing education center and administrative space for Brown University in the former South Street Power Station, provides a ray of hope for a city and state that are looking to turn around the local economy and give college graduates and young professionals a reason to stay here. Add a new AAA ballpark, if feasible, and that neighborhood would be an extraordinary economic force.

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April School Vacation at Providence Children’s Museum

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April 20 – 24

Providence Children’s Museum is the BEST place for school vacation fun! The Museum is open during vacation, Monday, April 20 – Friday, February 24, from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Families explore Water Ways, an imaginative new water play environment, and join special activities all week long:

Mad Science: Marvels of Motion

Monday, April 20 • 1:00 & 2:00 PM
Witness mesmerizing experiments exploring the laws of motion in this mind-bending interactive show. Discover the science of gravity and balance, see mad scientists experiment with kinetic beads, and watch as a tablecloth is removed without clearing the table! Shows at 1:00 & 2:00 PM; recommended for ages 4 and up.

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