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Construction starts at Edge College Hill

View from Memorial Blvd. at Washington St., 169 Canal at center.

Press Release from DBVW Architects:


DBVW Architects is working closely with Vision Properties on Edge College Hill, a new mixed-use residential project in downtown Providence at the base of College Hill. Located at 169 Canal Street, this new 15-story high-rise will include 202 micro-loft style apartments and first floor commercial space. Amenities for the residential units include a top floor common room and southwest facing terrace as well as a fitness center and first floor lobby/gathering space.

These modernly furnished apartments will primarily be marketed towards students. Features include over-sized windows, high-end finishes, 9′ 7″ ceilings, fully equipped kitchens and fold-down beds that tuck into contemporary cabinetry when not in use. Residents will be able to choose from views of the Providence skyline, historic College Hill, and the Rhode Island State House.

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RI Future: La Salle very interested in replacing Providence Water Supply Board building with parking lot

Providence Water Supply Board building, image from Google Street View

As the Providence Water Supply Board moves its administration and customer service offices to its new home at an industrial park off Huntington Ave, questions are being asked about the fate of the iconic building that will soon be empty at 552 Academy Avenue. Rumors were flying that La Salle Academy wants to purchase the property and turn it into a parking lot, and those rumors, it turns out, are true.

[…]

“Let me tell what’s not going to be there if La Salle is fortunate enough to acquire the property,” said [Thomas Glavin, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at La Salle Academy]. “There’s not going to be a middle school there. There’s not going to be a hockey rink there. There’s not going to be a swimming pool there. There’s probably not going to be anything there in the short run. One of the things we’re very concerned about is parking…”

Sigh.

The City has not made any decisions about what to do with the building. There would be an RFP process which LaSalle would have to respond to. Then the matter would go before the Historic District Commission.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – August 7, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, August 7, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of June 12, 2017 and July 10, 2017

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 17.12: 350 Eddy Street (South Street Landing) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by the CV Properties LLC, requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 1607(E), Freestanding Signs, which prohibits freestanding signs in the D-1 Zone. As per Section 1601(D), the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to sign regulations as part of their review and approval (continued from the July 10, 2017 DDRC meeting). The applicant has requested to continue the public hearing to the next DDRC meeting scheduled for September 11, 2017 at 4:45 PM.

2. DRC Application No. 17.27: 100 North Main Street (Elizabeth Building) – Proposal by Vision Properties to replace an existing storefront with a new storefront (east elevation), to remove brick infill and install a new storefront, and to remove a portion of fire escape (south elevation), and to infill (3) windows (north elevation).

3. DRC Application No. 17.35: 191 Washington Street (Majestic Garage) – Proposal by Greg Pennisten to install a permanent wall mural on the west elevation of the garage.

Adjornment

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Not the apartment for you

If you go to public hearings on new development projects often enough, you’ll hear a familiar refrain—the apartments are too small, there’s no garden, too little parking, etc.—which boils down to: “I wouldn’t want to live there.” Well, guess what, not everyone wants to live where you do.

Some people live alone, some people have big families; some people like small places that are easy to clean, some are cheap, some have lots of furniture; some people like to garden, some people like to come home from work and watch Netflix, some people drive, some people walk, bike, or take the bus. Well, perhaps, this building isn’t built for you.

Healthy neighborhoods need a range of housing types, from family sized apartments and homes, to micro units and hip bachelor lofts and everything in between. The desire to have other people live the way I do, (“I like to garden. Gardening is important to (my) community. This building has no gardens. Therefore it’s bad for our community”) is a suburban desire. It’s the desire for middle-class conformity and normalcy.

When you travel to other healthy cities around the world (or even in the US), you see the vast array of ways that people are happy to live. I hope that you’ve found a place you like to live; I don’t think it’s helpful to kick away the ladder of other people finding places they may like to live. Guess, what, this apartment isn’t for you.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – July 10, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee
Notice of Regular Meeting

Monday, July 10, 2017
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundAgenda

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of June 12, 2017

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 17.12: 350 Eddy Street (South Street Landing) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by the CV Properties LLC, requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 1607(E), Freestanding Signs, which prohibits freestanding signs in the D?1 Zone. As per Section 1601(D), the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to sign regulations as part of their review and approval (continued from the April 10, 2017 DDRC meeting). The applicant has requested to continue the public hearing to the next DDRC meeting scheduled for August 7, 2017 at 4:45 PM.

2. DRC Application No. 17.33: 51 Washington Street (Biltmore Garage) – Proposal by Cornish Associates to infill two garage bays on Eddy Street, as part of the installation of an electrical vault in the garage.

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ProJo: Former Providence Mayor Paolino seeks $4.25M in tax help for new hotel

Image from ZDS

Former Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr. is seeking $4.25 million in state tax help to redevelop his historic office building at 30 Kennedy Plaza into a 48-room boutique hotel that he says would attract guests visiting the tenants in his adjacent office tower at 100 Westminster St.

When he bought both buildings and a nearby parking lot in early 2014 for about $60 million, Paolino said he hoped to turn the smaller of the buildings, built in the mid 1800s, into a hotel.

[…]

Paolino said challenges remain with his hotel plans. He has been one of the loudest critics of existing conditions at Kennedy Plaza, where many of the state’s bus routes converge. He said the city’s recent imposition of a no-smoking policy in Kennedy Plaza will help the area become more of a park and less a place where people loiter. But more must be done — the reason, Paolino said, that he has become chairman of the Downtown Improvement District.

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Downtown Providence Living Tour – June 10, 2017

Wilkinson Building – by Nat Rea courtesy of Cornish Associates

From the Providence Downtown Improvement District:


Downtown Providence Living Tour Offers Behind-The-Scenes Views of Apartments in The Heart of The City

11 properties to be featured including newly opened rehabilitation projects

Tour 11 downtown apartment buildings, all in one afternoon! On Saturday, June 10th from 11AM to 5PM, The Providence Foundation and Providence Downtown Improvement District (DID) will host a Downtown Providence Living Tour to give the public an insider’s perspective on a variety of residential options in the neighborhood. This year, the tour will feature rental units within the following properties:

  • 95 Lofts: 59 apartments located within the redeveloped Irons & Russell Building. 95 Chestnut Street
  • 225 Weybosset: 12 renovated apartments in two historic buildings, across from PPAC. 225 Weybosset Street
  • Arcade Providence: 48 micro-lofts within a national historic landmark building. 65 Weybosset Street
  • Avalon at Center Place: 225-unit building conveniently located across from the train station. 50 Park Row West
  • G Reserve: Redevelopment of the iconic 12-story Union Trust Building. 170 Westminster Street
  • Peerless Building: The largest Westminster Lofts building featuring a roof deck and atrium. 150 Union Street
  • Providence G: 56 luxury apartments within 3 connected historic buildings. 100 Dorrance Street
  • Regency Plaza: Full service apartment community with an outdoor pool and tennis courts. 1 Regency Plaza
  • The Sampalis Building: 15 apartments above 3 storefronts, across from PPAC and JWU. 199 Weybosset Street
  • The Telephone Building: 12 apartments with high ceilings and in-unit laundry. 112 Union Street
  • Wilkinson Building: Smallest of the Westminster Lofts buildings, featuring 12 luxury lofts. 90 Eddy Street

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – June 12, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee – Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, June 12, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundAgenda

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of March 13, 2017, April 10, 2017, May 1, 2017 (Special Meeting), and May 8, 2017

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 16.30: 91 Chestnut Street (I-195 Redevelopment District Parcel 30) – Request by Waldorf Capital Management, LLC for modifications to the approved design of a new 6-story mixed-use apartment building to be constructed on the site. The applicant was granted final approval at the December 5, 2016 DDRC meeting.

2. DRC Application No. 17.08: 150 Empire Street (Providence Public Library) – Proposal by the Providence Public Library to conduct exterior alterations to the Empire Street building.

See also: Greater City Providence – Providence Public Library Planning Renovations

3. DRC Application No. 17.12: 350 Eddy Street (South Street Landing) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by the CV Properties LLC, requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 1607(E), Freestanding Signs, which prohibits freestanding signs in the D-1 Zone. As per Section 1601(D), the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to sign regulations as part of their review and approval. Continued from the April 10, 2017 DRC meeting. The applicant is also requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 604(C)(4), Fences and Walls, which limits the height of fences to six (6) feet in height. As per Section 604(C)(4) the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance relating to fences and walls. The applicant is proposing to install an approximately nine (9) foot high fence, and an approximately 30’ tall, double-faced, internally illuminated freestanding sign at 350 Eddy Street. The DRC will be reviewing the sign and fence design at this meeting.

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PBN: Providence office building on Weybosset under conversion to apartments

259 Weybosset Street, image from Google Street View

A four-story downtown office building near Johnson & Wales University is being converted to apartments and retail space.

The project at 259 Weybosset St. will include large apartments of four to five bedrooms per unit, and appears to be marketed to college students. An online ad indicates the apartments will be available in September, at rental rates of $1,100 per bedroom, or $5,500 per unit.

I like that the contractors working on this project have been able to keep the sidewalk open by providing a passageway through the scaffolding.

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Developer Proposes Demolition of Historic Fire House in Pawtucket to Build a Family Dollar Store

Image from Google Street View

As reported by The Valley Breeze:

Hose Company No. 6, a former popular restaurant at 636 Central Ave., could be coming down to make way for a new Family Dollar store, city officials confirmed this week.

On April 7, the Pawtucket Historic District Commission received an application from Barone Capital LLC for a certificate of appropriateness associated with the proposed demolition of former Fire Station #6, said Jay Rosa, senior planner for the city.

The property has no local or national historic designation, said Rosa, but the Historic District Commission does review all proposals in which 25 percent or more of a structure that is at least 50 years old is scheduled for demolition.

The building was constructed in 1895. There is a public meeting of the Historic District Commission in May 9th at 7:30pm at Pawtucket City Hall.

This is a rendering of the proposed Family Dollar store:

Image from The Valley Breeze

The rendering indicates they plan to use the existing surface lot that sits next to the fire house, so why do they need to tear down this gem exactly? As I said on Twitter, Family Dollar is a menace.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – May 8, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee
Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, May 8, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of February 13, 2017 and March 13, 2017

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 17.07: 66 Fountain Street and 78 Fountain Street (commercial building and parking lot) – Continued review of the proposal by 78 Fountain JV Owner LLC, to demolish the existing structure located at 66 Fountain Street, and to construct a new 6-story, mixed-use building on the site at 78 Fountain Street. The applicant was granted preliminary approval of the demolition, preliminary (conceptual) approval of the new construction, and waivers from the Design Standards for New Construction at the March 13, 2017 DRC meeting. The applicant is returning to the DRC for final design review.

2. DRC Application No. 17.12: 350 Eddy Street (South Street Landing) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by the CV Properties LLC, requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 1607.E, Freestanding Signs, which prohibits freestanding signs in the D-1 Zone. As per Section 1601.D, the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to sign regulations as part of their review and approval. The applicant is proposing to install an approximately 30’ tall, double-faced, internally illuminated freestanding sign at 350 Eddy Street. The DRC will also be reviewing the sign design at this meeting.

Rendering of proposed Garrahy Courthouse parking garage

3. DRC Application No. 17.18: Garrahy Courthouse Parking Structure: Intersection of Richmond, Friendship & Clifford Streets – Proposal by the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority to construct a 1,250 car open parking structure with ground floor commercial, to be located on a vacant site at the intersection of Richmond, Friendship and Clifford Streets. The project site is currently used as surface parking.

Pre-Application Review

4. 10 Dorrance Street (Howard Building) – Proposal by Bank Newport to install a new storefront system on the ground floor of the building (Dorrance and Westminster Street elevations) as part of a tenant space fit out. This item is for discussion only. No action will be taken by the DRC at this meeting.

Adjournment

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Providence Public Library Planning Renovations

Proposed LED sign panels on the Providence Public Library facade

The Providence Public Library is planning a major renovation to their Empire Street building.

Providence Public Library (PPL) is planning to undertake the state’s largest-ever library renovation beginning later this year. The project will address required life safety systems upgrades, as well as make major infrastructure improvements to PPL’s downtown buildings. The approximately 85,000-square foot project will transform the Library’s 1950s wing, auditorium, and special collection areas to provide 21st-century library services for Providence and Rhode Island residents.

Read more about the PPL planned renovations on their website.

The proposed LED screens on the Empire Street facade of the building (shown rendered at the top of this post) is causing some sturm und drang among some preservationist and others. Providence Business News reports on the controversy. Personally, I kind of like the screens. I’m all about more light and signs downtown, especially proximate to LaSalle Square.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – March 21, 2017

Providence City Plan Commission Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – 4:45pm
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

cpc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from February 28, 2017 regular meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report – Discussion of changes to development review regulations pertaining to unified development review

Development Plan Review

1. Case No. 2017-01 DPR – 67 Batcheller Ave – The applicant is proposing to construct a storage space facility on Batcheller Ave and is requesting a design waiver from the requirement that buildings in the C-3 zone provide at least 50% of transparency on the front façade – for action (AP 77 Lot 335, Charles)

Land Development Project Public Hearing

Rendering of proposed Glo Hotel at 322 Washington Street*

2. Case No. 16-017 MA – 322 Washington Street (Preliminary Plan) – The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval to construct a six story, 70 foot, 76 room hotel in the C-2 zone. The CPC granted dimensional adjustments for height, occupying the build to zone and from parking, at the master plan stage. The applicant has submitted detailed plans with a revised building design and information on drainage, circulation, lighting and signage. Continued from the February 28 meeting – for action (AP 25 Lots 244, 245, 412, 413, 414, Federal Hill)

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – March 13, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting
Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, March 13, 2017 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-round

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of 1/9/17

New Business

View of proposed building as seen from the corner of Washington and Mathewson Streets (Cube3 Architects)

1. DRC Application No. 17.07: 66 Fountain Street and 78 Fountain Street (commercial building and parking lot) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by 78 Fountain JV Owner LLC, to demolish the existing structure located at 66 Fountain Street, and to construct a new 6?story, mixed?use building on the site at 78 Fountain Street. The applicant is requesting a Downtown District Demolition Waiver (Zoning Ordinance Section 1907.2), and a waiver from Zoning Ordinance Section 606.E.1 Building Facades/Ground Floor Transparency. At the conclusion of the hearing, the DDRC will take action with respect to these items.

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2017 Providence Preservation Society Most Endangered Properties list

Humboldt Fire Station – Photo by Yvette Brunet for PPS

The Providence Preservation Society announced thier annual list of the city’s Most Endangered Properties this week.

  • Atlantic Mills, 100 Manton Avenue, Olneyville (1863)
  • Barstow Stove Company (known as Tops Electric Company), 120 Point Street, Jewelry District (c. 1849)
  • Bomes Theatre, 1017 Broad Street, Elmwood (1921)
  • Broad Street Synagogue, 688 Broad Street (1910-1911)
  • Cranston Street Armory, 310 Cranston Street, West End (1907)
  • Humboldt Fire Station, 155 Humboldt Avenue, Wayland (1906)
  • Industrial Trust Building, 111 Westminster Street, Downtown (1928)
  • Rhodes Street National Register District, Rhodes/Alphonso/Janes Streets, Upper South Providence, (1850s-1890s)
  • Sheffield Smith House, 334 Smith Street, Smith Hill (1855)
  • Former Sixth Precinct Police Station, 36 Chaffee Street, Olneyville (1890)
  • Welcome Arnold House, 21 Planet Street, College Hill (1785-1798)

For further information on each property, visit the Providence Preservation Society’s website.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Special Meeting – New Building at 169 Canal – January 9, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee
Notice of Special Meeting
Monday, January 9, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Renderings of 169 Canal Street by DBVW Architects

drc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of 11/7/16 and 12/5/16
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 16.34: 169 Canal Street (parking lot) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by Vision Properties, requesting a development incentive in the form of a height bonus, and waivers from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 606, Design Standards for New Construction, for a new 13-story mixed-use building to be constructed at 169 Canal Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking a 30% height bonus and waivers from Sections 606.A.4 (Recess Line Requirement), 606.E.1 (Building Facades/Ground Floor Transparency), and 606.E.3 (Building Facades/Upper Level Transparency). At the conclusion of the hearing, the DDRC will take action with respect to these items and then continue review of the building design. The applicant was granted conceptual approval of the new construction at the December 15, 2016 meeting.

Adjournment

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The Commons at Providence Station breaks ground

Rendering of The Commons released in 2014

The Providence Journal: First project to earn RI tax credit will break ground in Providence Wednesday

The real-estate development firm Trilogy Development LLC, of Providence, and the residential-management firm John M. Corcoran & Co. LLC, of Braintree, Massachusetts, are working as partners to develop The Commons at Providence Station. They’ve created a real-estate entity for this project, Capital Cove Development LLC, of Braintree, Trilogy President Kevin Chase told The Providence Journal on Tuesday.

Their 169-unit building will be at 80 Smith St., east of the railroad tracks and the State House, and at the intersection of Smith and Canal streets. The firms expect the one- and two-bedroom apartments to be completed in summer 2018 – and to rent for $2,000 and $2,700 per month, respectively, Chase said. The smaller units will be about 710 square feet, and the larger ones will be slightly larger than 1,000 square feet.


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