Archive | Buildings

City Plan Commission Subcommittee Meeting (RI Hospital Southwest Pavilion) – December 1, 2015

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 – 2:00pm
444 Westminster Street, City Solicitors Conference Room, Suite 220, Providence, RI 02903
Note special time and location for this meeting above.

Opening Session

  • Call to order

Institutional Master Plan

1. Rhode Island Hospital Institutional Master Plan Amendment – Discussion of amendment to Rhode Island Hospital’s Institutional Master Plan – for discussion (Upper South Providence)



Providence Preservation Society Advocacy Alert: Rhode Island Hospital Planning to Demolish Historic Southwest Pavilion

From Providence Preservation Society:

Advocacy Alert: Rhode Island Hospital Planning to Demolish Historic Southwest Pavilion


All photos by Frank Mullin

Next Tuesday, Rhode Island Hospital will appear before the City Plan Commission to request the demolition of the the historic Southwest Pavilion. Located at the heart of the Hospital’s campus, the Southwest Pavilion was included on the PPS Most Endangered Properties list in 2010, and stands as one of the only survivors from the original Hospital landscape. Its loss would be devastating to the city’s sense of history.

Following feasibility studies in 2010 and 2015, the Hospital is favoring demolition due to the high cost of restoration. PPS is advocating for Rhode Island Hospital to consider other options, which could include making roof repairs and mothballing, extending the life of the building until an appropriate use is found.

Show your support for this building by attending the City Plan Commission meeting on Tuesday, November 17th, at 4:45 pm, 444 Westminster Street in Providence.

What YOU can do…

Show Up:

Show your support for this building by attending the City Plan Commission meeting on Tuesday, November 17th, at 4:45 pm, 444 Westminster Street in Providence.

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ProJo: Redeveloped Jewelry District building will include 57 apartments, restaurant space


Image from Google Streetview

Work will begin soon on the redevelopment of an historic Jewelry District building into 57 apartments and ground-floor restaurant space, and the new owners hope to have the building reopened by the end of 2016.


[Brian] Poitras [president of Waldorf Capital Management LLC] said architects Martha Werenfels and Ed Cifune of Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels are leading the design project. He said the building will include a restaurant space and some common areas on the ground level and apartments on all six floors.


City Plan Commission Meeting – November 17, 2015 – RI Hospital proposal to raze South West Pavilion building

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from October 20 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3398 – 04-316 Branch Ave (Zone Change) – The petitioner is requesting that the properties at 304-316 Branch Ave and 19 Metcalf Street be rezoned from from C-1 to C-2. Continued from October 20 meeting – for action (Charles, AP 71 Lot 563 and AP 74 Lots 1, 3, 8, and 9)

Institutional Master Plan


Image from Providence Preservation Society

2. Rhode Island Hospital Institutional Master Plan Amendment – Presentation of amendment to Rhode Island Hospital’s Institutional Master Plan – for action (Upper South Providence)

From the Masterplan Amendment:

In our 2006 and 2011 Institutional Master Plans, we identified our South West Pavilion building as having effectively outlived its useful life as part of our camp us. After extensive study, and after holdin g a neighborhood meeting to discuss it, we have conclud ed we need to raze the building. We are the refore seeking to amend our approved 2011 IMP to allow for the removal of the South West Pavilion.

The South West Pavilion was constructed in 1900 and is one of the oldest remaining portions of the hospital complex.



Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – November 16, 2015

Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – November 16, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, November 16, 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 September 21, 2015

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 15.19: 39 Pike Street (Eastside I-195 Overlay District) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by Royal Oaks Realty, LLC requesting a development incentive in the form of a height bonus for the proposed mixed-use building to be constructed at 39 Pike Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking one additional story above the maximum height allowed in the zone. The applicant is also requesting final approval. (The project received conceptual approval at the 9/21/15 DRC meeting)

PowerPoint Presentation

2. DRC Application No. 15.18: 342 Eddy Street – Review of exterior concrete color samples and request for final approval for the construction of a new National Grid Substation Switchgear and Control Building. (The project received conceptual approval and waivers at the 9/21/15 DRC meeting)

Other Business

3. Downtown Design Review Committee Rules and Regulations – Approval of amended DDRC Rules and Regulations.



Providence Preservation Society seeks nominations for 2016 endangered properties list


From PPS:

Providence Preservation Society Calls for Nominations for the 2016 Most Endangered Properties List

Seeks public input in identifying significant at-risk Providence properties

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) announces that the nomination period for its annual Most Endangered Properties (MEP) List is now open. For over 20 years, PPS has assembled the MEP list to highlight historic assets – properties that contribute to the life and character of the city but are endangered by threats such as neglect, deterioration, demolition, development, insufficient funds, and adverse public policy. By drawing attention to these resources, PPS helps gather energy around efforts to preserve the vitality of the Providence community and its built environment. Call for nominations is open until Friday, October 30, 2015.

The MEP List, its photo exhibit, and its related events have generated important dialogue around these historic assets in the City for more than two decades. This activity has inspired engagement, action and even the successful restoration and saving of some properties on the List. Nominations help PPS create the 2016 MEP List. Through this, the public plays a critical role in supporting historic preservation efforts and working toward solutions with property owners, developers, and others to bring about positive change in each property.

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ProJo: Tax-break plan for proposed Providence hotel to get a hearing July 23

Fogarty Building

As part of that effort, the developers are asking the City Council to approve an ordinance that would exempt the project from property taxes for three years. Starting in the fourth year of the agreement, the project owners would pay 11 percent of the total taxes due, with the amount then going up by 11 percentage points a year until year 12, when 95 percent of the taxes would be due, followed by full taxation after that.

Though the City Council is a vote away from enacting a tax-treaty process for developers in the Route 195 corridor that doesn’t need council approval, for the rest of the city, the old rules, which include public hearings and multiple council votes, still apply.

Though the Fogarty Building’s destruction has been contemplated many times over the last several years — Procaccianti took out a demolition permit in 2011 but didn’t use it — the Fogarty Building has had its defenders. It is one of the city’s few surviving examples of the “brutalist” architectural style, which features exposed concrete and angular, fortress-like designs. The name comes from the French word for raw concrete, not physical brutality.

This morning, the Procaccianti owned Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ has site fencing covering most of it, I don’t know why.


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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PBN: Grace Episcopal undergoing exterior renovation


Image from Google Street View

Encased on two sides by scaffolding, Grace Episcopal Church is undergoing a nearly $800,000 exterior renovation that will clean and restore its stonework.

In addition to cleaning and repairing the stone, and repointing the masonry, the renovation will repair and paint the metal roof, which has leaked for several years, according to the Rev. Jonathan Huyck.


Financed through congregant contributions, it will be followed by a major capital campaign, the first undertaken by the church in 25 years. The plan is to expand into a new building, built over a portion of the adjoining parking lot owned by the church, he said.


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


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.


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.


PBN: Union Trust Co. building sold


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.


Because Pawtucket doesn’t have enough parking


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.


Providence Preservation Society 2015 Most Endangered Properties List


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.


PBN: Elizabeth Mill in Warwick to be razed, redeveloped


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


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.


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


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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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