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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Jane’s Walk – May 2-4, 2014

janes-walk-thumbOn May 2–4, Providence will participate in its second annual Jane’s Walk!

Jane’s Walk celebrates the ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods through free walking tours, led by locals. By walking together, communities engage in civic dialogue about what matters most in the places they live and work.

Last year, more than 800 walks were held in over 100 cities in 22 countries worldwide, including eight walks in neighborhoods around Providence, from downtown to the Jewelry District, Olneyville to Elmwood, College Hill to Smith Hill.

Anyone can lead a walk about almost any topic—all you need is a story, an interesting way of seeing the city, or hopes and concerns for your neighborhood. Just go to Janeswalk.org and click the “Create a Walk” button to get started.

I will be assisting with a walk on Saturday the 3rd. Do people live downtown? Yes. The walk leader is Steve Durkee, we will be meeting at noon at the Johnson & Wales Starbucks at the corner of Chestnut and Pine Streets. The walk will end at Grant’s Block where the Cinco de Mayo Block Party will be underway.
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RIPTA R-Line Schedules Posted

r-line-002RIPTA’s new R-Line rapid bus service will replace and combine the current Route 99 service North Main – Pawtucket and 11 Broad Street services. The new service is set to launch on June 21st and RIPTA has published the schedules for the new service.

One notable service change is that North Main service will run via Providence Station, providing direct services between the station and Kennedy Plaza and serving communities along North Main Street to Pawtucket and south along Broad Street to the Cranston line.

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→ ProJo: Secretive policies of Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission seen as ‘excessive’

The Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission’s policy not to identify developers who propose buying public land is more secretive than policies of other state agencies.

Without that information, Rhode Islanders will not be able to evaluate decisions by the commission to sell 17 parcels of land freed up for development by the relocation of Route 195.

Other state agencies, including the State Properties Committee and the Department of Environmental Management, withhold bidding details while seeking buyers for state land, to maintain leverage in negotiations. But none reached by The Providence Journal has set policies to keep secret the names of losing bidders once a deal is struck to sell land.

I can see where the Commission is coming from, but this Commission has to remain cognizant of the scrutiny they are under and leaning to the side transparency is in everyone’s best interest I think.

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The further suburbanization of North Main Street

lafitness-elevations

North Main Street facade of proposed LA Fitness

As RIPTA prepares to start running their new Rapid Bus service next month on North Main Street, the City Plan Commission is hearing a proposalpdf to knock down a building to create 300 parking spaces on the street at the Pawtucket line.

CPC agenda:

Case No. 14-009MA – 1300 North Main Street The applicant is proposing to demolish an existing building to create a parking lot providing 300 spaces. The lot will serve a health club on an adjacent lot located in the City of Pawtucket

The building being considered for demolition is the old Sears building at the corner of North Main and White Streets across from Gregg’s (The Down Under Duck Pin bowling alley is on this site too, but I feel like it has already been demo’d? Art In Ruins does not say so).

lafitness-sears

Old Sears building on North Main Street. Reader submitted photo.

This building would be removed to make way for 300 parking spaces in the City of Providence for an LA Fitness location being built mainly in Pawtucket at the corner of Ann Mary Street.

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→ WPRI: Family Dollar to cut jobs, close 370 stores

Family Dollar said Thursday that will cut jobs and close about 370 underperforming stores as it tries to reverse sagging sales and earnings. The discount store operator will also permanently lower prices on about 1,000 basic items.

Family Dollar reported that net income dropped to $90.9 million, or 80 cents per share, from $140.1 million, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $2.72 billion from $2.89 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 90 cents per share on revenue of $2.77 billion.

Revenue at stores open at least a year dropped 3.8 percent, worse than the 2.8 percent drop it had in the fourth quarter.

However, Family Dollar representatives told the City Plan Commission in January that they had a proven business model that mandated streetfront parking relative to their proposed store in Olneyville.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – April 14, 2014

narrow-building

The George C. Arnold (“Narrow”) Building on Washington Street.

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, April 14, 2014 – 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 10,2014
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 14.4: 250 Westminster Street (Alice Building) Proposal by Cornish Associates to replace the existing window system with a new window system, and to install a new awning system on the Union Street elevation of the building.

2. DRC Application No. 14.5: 100 Washington Street (Arnold Building) Proposal by David Stem to restore the entire building, including the installation of new storefronts on the Washington Street elevation.

Adjournment


Full disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates.
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→ PBN: ‘Superman’ developer submits revised proposal for state aid

superman-lobby

The owner of the vacant “Superman Building” at 111 Westminster St. downtown Wednesday proposed a new $39 million package of state assistance to renovate the tower.

In its second attempt to gain state financing for a rehabilitation project, High Rock Development said it would seek legislation to create a 111 Westminster Historic Redevelopment Program and Revolving Fund to finance converting the office building into a mixed-use project with 280 apartments.

Full disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates who are consulting with the building’s owner, High Rock Development.
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Providence Streetcar to apply for TIGER VI grant funding

streetcar-empire

The Obama administration announced a new round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants (known as TIGER VI) with an extremely short turn-around for submitting applications, they are due April 28th.

The City of Providence applied for a TIGER grant last year, RIDOT also submitted a bid for Apponaug which was supported by the Governor. The Apponaug project was awarded a TIGER grant, and while there isn’t direct competition built into the grant process per-say, it is thought that Providence’s streetcar bid lost out to Kansas City’s streetcar which had more secure funding in place at the time. Providence’s 2013 TIGER grant application included a funding plan, but unlike Kansas City’s successful application, steps had not yet been taken to implement that funding.

Capital costs for the project (costs incurred to build it) are estimated to be $117.8 million (2016 dollars). Funding will come from City TIF Bonds, Federal funds, Rhode Island Capital Plan funds, RIPTA CMAQ funds, and a RIDOT land transfer.

In the next month, Providence plans to work further toward implementation of funding by working with the Providence City Council Ordinance Committee to approve a TIF plan for the streetcar district. This funding represents 50% of the projected cost of the project and will be one of the sources for operations revenue after the project is complete.

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→ The Herald News: Flanagan says Foxwoods has secured option for 30 acres in South End of Fall River; source says location is New Harbour Mall

new-harbor-mall

Image from Google Streetview

On Jan. 28, Foxwoods Casino CEO Scott Butera unveiled plans to develop a $750 million resort casino in Fall River that would include a 140,000-square-foot gambling floor, approximately 20 restaurants, a 350-room hotel, a “name-brand” shopping mall, an entertainment arena and a convention center and spa.

Officials said the project would reportedly create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs and generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Some of those jobs will likely go to Rhode Islanders, the reported site sits right on the state line along Route 24, however that revenue will not be coming to Rhode Island. When exactly is the R.I. General Assembly going to come up with a plan to ween us of our dependence on gambling revenue?

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