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Because Pawtucket doesn’t have enough parking

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From The Valley Breeze, prepare for brain explosion:

Two old buildings that are part of the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District will be leveled to make way for parking.

The 1921 Adams Furniture building, at 65 East Ave., and the 1902 former Pawtucket Boys Club, at 53 East Ave., are both expected to be demolished to make room for a new parking lot for the Blackstone Valley Community Health Care.

Because you know what makes for a healthy community? Lots and lots of surface parking.

I can’t even.

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Providence Preservation Society 2015 Most Endangered Properties List

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Atlantic Mills in Olneyville in 2005. Photo by Jef Nickerson

The Providence Preservation Society has released their list for 2015 of the most endangered properties in Providence:


Providence Preservation Society Releases 2015 Most Endangered Properties List

Providence, R.I. (January 30, 2015): The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) announced the 2015 Most Endangered Properties (MEP) List at the organization’s Annual Meeting last night, featuring historically significant properties deemed in threat of deterioration, neglect and demolition.

In a city known for its extraordinary architecture, many historic buildings are threatened by factors such as neglect, insufficient funds, adverse public policy, and inappropriate development. For 20 years, PPS has been working with concerned neighbors, preservationists, and activists to put together this annual list. In recent years, properties noted on the MEP list have reflected additional threats of the continuing recession: foreclosure, low occupancy, and a lagging market. To raise awareness of these issues, PPS has made its annual MEP list an integral part of the organization’s advocacy efforts.

The MEP’s purpose is to generate interest in, and support for, the preservation of these significant structures; to educate the public about the benefits of historic preservation and the unique architectural resources in our city; and to foster creative collaboration among property owners, developers and other interested parties to bring about positive changes in each property. Most buildings on the annual Lists represent notable aspects of local community life and character.

2015 PPS Most Endangered Properties List (in alphabetical order):

  1. Atlantic Mills (1863)
  2. Broad Street Synagogue (1910)
  3. Cranston Street Armory (1907)
  4. Grace Church Cemetery & Cottage (1834)
  5. Esek Hopkins House (1756)
  6. Former RIDOT Headquarters and Garage (1927)
  7. Sheffield Smith House (1855)
  8. St. Teresa of Avila Church (1883)
  9. Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House (1867)
  10. Westminster Congregational Church (1901)

Many properties featured on past Most Endangered Properties Lists have successfully been saved. Formerly listed properties include the Masonic Temple, the Foundry, the Shepard’s Building, and most recently, the Teste Block and Arcade. PPS is also celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the list, and will begin a program series this spring highlighting significant progress over the past two decades.

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PBN: Elizabeth Mill in Warwick to be razed, redeveloped

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Renderings from McGeorge Arcitecture Interiors.

The historic Elizabeth Mill will be razed and some of its architectural elements incorporated into a new building, under a plan that Warwick officials hope will serve as a development catalyst for the City Centre Warwick district.

The plan would create a four-story, 300,000-square-foot building with modern efficiencies, suitable for retail, office and residential space, according to Mayor Scott Avedisian. The mill’s cast iron stairs, doors and bricks will be incorporated into a new structure.

Michael Integlia & Company, an engineering and construction management firm, will market the conceptual plan.

You can see a skelton of white beams that create a ghost of the tower of the mill being demolished, which is sad and creepy.

Though our historic buildings are an extremely important part of what makes our region unique and special, I’m not afraid to admit that not all can always be saved. Could someone have tried harder to save this building? Maybe, but it seems that will not happen. Keeping some little remenants and building a literal skeleton to remember the building is just dumb though. If the building has to go, get rid of it and move on.

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PBN: Roger Williams University more than doubling downtown presence

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One Empire Plaza. Image from Google Streetview

Bristol-based Roger Williams University is planning to renovate and lease One Empire Plaza, more than doubling its presence downtown for adult learners when it opens in May of 2016.

The new location will provide expanded space for RWU’s School of Law, School of Continuing Studies and growing array of outreach and engagement programs, including the Latino Policy Institute, HousingWorks RI and the Community Partnerships Center.

It was remarkable how much energy was added to Empire Street for the short time 38 Studios was there, and how it evaporated when they left. It will be nice to have that vitality back.

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Brown Daily Herald: Federal, state officials break ground on Dynamo project

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Rendering of student housing building along Point Street

Private sector leaders gathered with federal, state and municipal officials in a ceremony Monday to kick off renovations to the Jewelry District’s South Street Power Station, popularly known as the Dynamo House.

The revamp — expected to be complete by the fall of 2016 — will result in a nursing education center shared by Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, as well as graduate housing and administrative offices for the University.

Officials joked that this would be “the last groundbreaking at this particular site,” said Dick Galvin ’79, president and founder of Commonwealth Ventures Properties, poking fun at failed past projects that attempted to renovate the former power station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Prior to the actual groundbreaking, officials ranging from Galvin to Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’17 P’14 P’17 voiced their excitement about the project to a crowd of more than 200.

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The Commons at Providence Station – aka Capitol Cove Building B

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View from intersection of Smith and Canal Streets

Today the Capital Center Commission approved plans for a new building in Capital Center, the second phase of Capitol Cove, now dubbed, The Commons at Providence Station.

The developer described the building in a presentation to the Commission:

Phase II – The Commons at Providence Station

The first phase of Capitol Cove was the construction of Building A in 2005. The current phase is development of Building B on Parcel 6, and the project has been renamed to The Commons at Providence Station. The project will consist of 169 units of residential apartments, approximately 169 enclosed parking spaces, as well as amenity areas, leasing office, and community spaces.

Site
The site extends the established street grid and breaks down
the scale of the building into an appropriate size for the site. The site boundaries are Smith Street to the North, Canal Street along the East, and the existing Building A along the South edge of the site towards Park Row. The West elevation of the building faces the catenaries and rail line of the Amtrak/MBTA commuter rail lines.

The entry to the site will be along an existing road which runs parallel to Building A. The drive entry up to Building B will consist of a circular courtyard and will provide a drop-off area, entry into the garage (west side), and an area set aside for van or truck parking for building deliveries. This space will also accommodate moving trucks to allow for clearance of any vehicular or pedestrian traffic within the courtyard entry. The Riverwalk will connect from Building A up to Smith Street.

Design
The approved design has been maintained for the new project. The approach to newer, more efficient building materials and finish materials has been considered in the current design. The shape of the building and surrounding area remain true to the intent of the original design approved by the Committee in 2003.

Facade
The design incorporates architectural variety in the approach
to materials to allow for smaller, distinct architectural districts rather than a monolithic development. Materials used in Building A will be incorporated in Building B. The buildings will be finished in two tones of brick, metal panel accents, and exterior painted cementitious panel system.

Parking
Two levels of parking are planned. Level P1 will enter from the East at the entry courtyard. Level P2 will enter from Smith Street. Level P1 will connect the entry, amenity, and community spaces. Both Level P1 and P2 will include residential units along the Canal Street side.

Summary
Building B is a challeng ing use of the undeveloped area of Parcel 6 because of the close proximity to the Amtrak/commuter rail lines, which generate noise and feature prominent catenary lines. These detrimental features make this parcel especially difficult and costly to develop. Taking these challenges into consideration, the team seeks to address these issues with design solutions. The development will include a continuation of the Riverwalk from Building A, and complete the connection from Park Row West to Smith Street, allowing uninterrupted pedestrian access. The area along the Riverwalk will include landscaping similar to that on the adjacent sites. The building will be designed and built to follow LEED Design Guidelines and will seek to meet LEED Silver criteria at minimum.


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Providence Preservation Society announces 2014 Historic Preservation Awards winners

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Johnson & Wales University, Center for Physician Assistant Studies. Photo by Heidi Gumula for DBVW Architects from PPS

Celebrating Preservation in Providence

PPS 2014 Historic Preservation Awards

On Friday, November 7, 2014 the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) will recognize the recipients of the 2014 Historic Preservation Awards. The PPS Historic Preservation Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have maintained and enhanced the architectural heritage of Providence through preservation projects and new design. Eight preservation projects located throughout Providence will receive awards.

In addition to those projects receiving awards, PPS is honoring an individual whose vision for preservation transformed the Brown and Sharpe Company manufacturing complex into a thriving mixed use development. The late Antonio Guerra, who passed away on October 11, will receive a posthumous Community Preservation Award. Mr. Guerra purchased the complex shortly after Brown and Sharpe moved out in the 1960s, redeveloping the site’s many industrial buildings into The Foundry Corporate Office Center and Promenade Apartments. Mr. Guerra was previously recognized in the Providence Preservation Society’s 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame in 2006.

The PPS Historic Preservation Awards ceremony will take place on Friday, November 7, at 4:00pm on the first floor of the Industrial Trust Building, 111 Westminster Street, Providence. The Awards are being held in coordination with PPS’ Providence Symposium, Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience, November 6-8. To register, visit www.providencesymposium.com. Tickets for the awards ceremony and reception are free, but advance registration is required.

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ProJo: Bids opened for Providence train station exterior work

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Photo taken in 2006

With a bid of approximately $6.9 million, J.H. Lynch & Sons submitted the lowest of five proposals for the construction work. Bids were opened Friday at the R.I. Division of Purchasing office on Capitol Hill.

State officials will take about two months to review the bids and certify the winning bid.

This project will address the deplorable conditions of the plaza areas around the station, repairs to the garage roof (which is the plaza), and improve pedestrian, bike, bus, and auto connections between the station and Kennedy Plaza.

We should likely expect work to begin in the spring 2015 construction season.

RIDOT recently was awarded a TIGER grant to design a new intermodal bus station at the train station. Voters will be asked to approve the purchase of bonds through Question 6 to further that project to reality.

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Capital Center Commission Meeting – October 8, 2014

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 10, 2014
  2. Minutes
  3. Parcel 9: GTECH Building
    Request for approval to conduct exterior building alterations, install new signage and landscaping for The Capital Grille Restaurant
  4. Adjournment

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Brown Daily Herald: Engineering building plan calls for demolition of historic houses

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333 Brook Street, one of the buildings slated for demolition, see a slideshow of images on the Brown Daily Herald website. Image from Google Street View.

In order to make space for the University’s new engineering building — construction of which is set to begin in December 2015­, four houses included in the city’s historic district have been slated for demolition.

The buildings, located at 37 and 29 Manning Street and 341 and 333 Brook Street, were constructed in the early 1900s and were later acquired by the University and converted into business and academic spaces, said Mike McCormick, assistant vice president of planning, design and construction. McCormick and a group of University administrators collaborated with the Public Archaeology Lab to learn about these buildings’ histories in preparation for the planning and design of the new engineering building.

But the Providence Preservation Society “opposes the demolition of the four houses” due to their “historical” and “architectural value,” said Brent Runyon, executive director of PPS. The buildings also contribute to “the development of College Hill as a neighborhood,” he added.

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Better than nothing is not good enough

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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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