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Better than nothing is not good enough

cvs-washington

New CVS in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood will feature two-levels of apartments and underground parking. – Rendering by Schemata Workshop

I’ve been hearing the same refrain lately when it comes to less than stellar development proposals in Providence, ‘it may not be great, but it is better than what is there now.’ The McDonald’s and Family Value in Olneyville is cited as better than the vacant lot that is there now. The LA Fitness on North Main is seen as better than the vacant building that is there now. And on it goes, there’s a defeatest attitude around here about having nice things.

As CVS starts to expand into Washington State, one Seattle neighborhood saw the company’s proposal and asked if they could build something better. Unlike CVS’s recent store back here at home in Edgewood, the company building the new store, The Velmeir Cos., said, ‘sure, let’s figure it out.’

The original proposal was for a one-story CVS at what the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce describes as a high profile corner is Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood.

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383 West Fountain Street Renovations

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Way, way, way back in 2005 in the UrbanPlanet days, Armory Revival had plans for a new building at this site. As with many things in the middle of the last decade, that didn’t happen. Fast forward to today though and Armory Revival is doing a nice renovation of the block.

From their website:

This quirky collection of one and two story brick industrial buildings is quietly being transformed into one of the busiest places in the city by The Armory Revival Company. The 40,000 square foot former Waterman Stables and Combination Ladder Company buildings, featuring fabulous skylights, exposed ductwork, wood beams, private entrances and flexible, efficient floor plates are being developed for a variety of office and commercial uses. Modest rents, abundant on-site parking and immediate access to Interstate 95, Downcity and the Hospitals make this Westminster Crossing location a fantastic choice for your business. 383 West Fountain Street is now home to the most successful Planet Fitness in New England and Riverwood Mental Health Services.

There’s a floorplan on the site which is a little hard to read as displayed, but you can get an idea of the building.

It is nice to see some action happening in what I like to call the Near West Side.

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Providence to Create New Historic Landmarks District

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Broad Street Synagogue from the Providence Preservation Society’s 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties list. Photo by Jesse Burke for PPS.

As part of the Re: Zoning process, the City of Providence has designated a new historic landmarks district. Also, the City will remove buildings which have been demolished form the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District; which begs the question, why is there and ICBD if buildings in it are getting demolished? From the City:


City of Providence to Create Historic Landmarks District to Preserve Properties

New designation protects historic properties outside boundaries of existing historic districts; residents should seek designation by August 11, 2014

Mayor Angel Taveras announced today the City of Providence will create a new Historic Landmarks District to strengthen its preservation efforts and as part of the city’s Zoning Ordinance revision.

“We are working creatively to preserve Providence’s historic architecture,” said Mayor Taveras. “The new Providence Landmarks District will protect individual properties that having historic significance but that are not within local historic districts.”

The Providence Landmarks District will be composed primarily of residential and ecclesiastical buildings, function like other City historic districts, and include design review and demolition protections. The owners of these historic sites, such as those that have been recognized by the Providence Preservation Society, can ask that their property be designated as a Providence Landmark and request their building be included in the new district. Property owners interested in having their building designated should contact the Department of Planning and Development before August 11, 2014.

In addition to creating the Landmarks District, the City is modifying two of its existing historic districts: the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District and the Jewelry Local Historic District. Changes include adding about 30 properties to the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District, removing properties that have been demolished, and removing overlapping jurisdiction with the Downtown Design Review Committee in Downtown.

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→ ProJo: Providence City Council OKs tax treaty revision for Capitol Cove development

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ProJo reports that the City Council has approved a tax-stabilization agreement for the Capitol Cove building in Capital Center. The building will continue to house Johnson & Wales dormitories but the developer hopes to build a 169-unit apartment building next door.

The City Council gave initial approval Wednesday night to change in a tax treaty with the new owners of the Capitol Cove complex on Canal Street to let the building continue as a rented college dormitory, a move the developers said was needed to get financing for a new 169-unit apartment project they want to build on a vacant lot next door.

Added to the 134-units the owners of the Regency are planning and the real estate market appears to be showing signs of recovery in Providence.

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→ ProJo: Demolition sought for remnant of Jewelry District factory

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Update: Via Patrick Anderson on Twitter:



A noteworthy piece of the city’s industrial past is threatened with demolition as the owner of the Ward Baking Co. administration building Monday will seek permission from the city’s Historic District Commission to tear down the structure.

Preservationists consider the building a noteworthy remnant of the city’s industrial past and have rallied before to save the structure at 145 Globe St., which sits across Route 95 from the South Side hospital complex.

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→ PBN: Regency Plaza owners plan new addition to apartment complex

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Image from Bing Maps

Richard Lappin, co-owner of Regency Plaza LLC and president of Lisco Development, said the new building would be either five or six stories, but declined to go into more detail because of the early stage of the project.

The owners are asking the City Plan Commission, at their meeting this evening, to abandon part of the width of Broadway (as well as the right turn lane from the Service Road) to make way for the project.

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PPS: Save Rhode Island’s Historic Tax Credits

The R.I. House Finance Committee did not include historic tax credits in the proposed budget fr next year. The Providence Presevation Society has issued the following call to action:


Act Now to Save Rhode Island’s Historic Tax Credits!

pps-logoLast year, the State Historic Tax Credit Program was reinstated, and 26 new projects are underway – including the rehab of the Tirocchi House on Broadway and the George C. Arnold Building in Downtown Providence!

However, there are 27 additional projects throughout the state still waiting to receive credits. Without funding for Historic Tax Credits, most of these projects will not happen. This would mean the loss of nearly $160 million in construction activity, an investment of jobs and revenue which our economy desperately needs. Rhode Island’s Historic Tax Credit program has an excellent track record. From 2002 to 2008, it generated $1.3 billion in new private investment in Rhode Island’s real-estate economy. This resulted in 22,000 construction jobs, 6,000 permanent jobs, and total wages of more than $800 million.

Last week, the House Finance Committee declined to recommend funding for this program. The House will take up the budget this week; only a groundswell of voices from around the state will convince representatives to include Historic Tax Credits in the budget. Time is short – immediate advocacy is needed.

PPS supports Preserve Rhode Island’s efforts to restore the State Historic Tax Credit. Contact your Representative in General Assembly to ask them to urge the Speaker of the House, Nicholas A. Matiello, and the Chairman of the House Finance Committee, Raymond E. Gallison, to pass a budget that includes funding for Historic Tax Credits. Email or call your Representative before Wednesday, June 11th (they are expected to act on the budget on Thursday).

We also urge you to contact Speaker Matiello’s office directly:

Nicholas Matiello
Speaker
House of Representatives
State House, Room 323
Providence, RI 02903
401-222-2466 • Rep-mattiello@rilin.state.ri.us

Lynne Urbani
Director, Office of House Policy
Room B43, State House
Providence, RI 02903
401-258-1760 • lurbani@rilin.state.ri.us


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→ GoLocal Providence: 195 Bidder Carpionato Failed to Redevelop Providence Fruit Market

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Former Fruit and Produce Warehouse (left) in March 2005 prior to demolition.

The Carpionato Group, who recently submitted a proposal to the 195 Commission to develop the former highway land, has to date not developed a previous acquisition of prime Providence real estate — the former historic Fruit and Produce Warehouse.

Following its purchase of the warehouse from the state — and controversial demolition of the historic property in 2008 — Carpionato, the Johnston-based commercial real estate firm, had presented plans to turn the former fruit market into a mixed used office, retail and hotel development, which have not materialized. The city granted Carpionato preliminary approval for a surface parking lot at the location in 2013.

See also:
Greater City Providence: ProJo outlines developer’s vision for east side 195 parcels
Greater City Providence: Fruit and Produce safety hazard
Greater City Providence: Yes, you can haz demo permit
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→ ProJo: Procaccianti Group proposes extended-stay hotel for downtown Providence

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The ProJo reports that The Procaccianti Group (TPG) will announce tomorrow a proposal to tear down the Fogarty Building on Fountain Street to build an extended stay hotel:

The Procaccianti Group is expected to announce plans Tuesday to “build a premium-branded upscale extended-stay hotel” in Providence, right across the street from the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, on the site of what is now the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building.

Paul Sacco, chief development officer for PGI Hospitality, said the project “represents a $40-million private investment in Providence.”

TPG already has a 7-year old ‘temporary’ surface parking lot at the site of the Old Public Safety Complex just down the block.

See also:
Providence Business News: Procaccianti Group plans 170-room downtown hotel
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Parking Lot-ification in Wanskuck

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At their May 28th meeting, the Zoning Board of Review will consider a proposal by Manni Realty and Admiral Smith Realty, LLC (owners of the building LaSalle Bakery on Admirial is in) to demolish three residential buildings for expanded parking said to support LaSalle Bakery.


MANNI REALTY, LLC, OWNER OF LOT 197 AND ADMIRAL SMITH REALTY, LLC, OWNER OF LOTS 198, 200 & 201: 685 Admiral Street (Lot 198, consisting of 8,184 square feet of land area), 697 Admiral Street (Lot 200, consisting of 3,100 square feet of land area), 782 River Avenue (Lot 197, consisting of 4,400 square feet of land area) and 85 Crandall Street (Lot 201, consisting of 3,600 square feet of land area) on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 79, Lot 198 is located in a Limited Commercial C-1 Zone and Lots 197, 200 & 201 are located in a Residential R-2 Two-Family Zone; filed an application requesting Use and Dimensional Variances pursuant to Section 200, seeking to demolish the existing residential structures on Lots 197, 200 & 201 and constructing two (2) parking areas to support the existing bakery located on Lot 198.

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