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Archive | Colleges/Universities

→ 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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A Better World by Design Conference – September 19-21, 2014

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Students from Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design host seventh annual A Better World by Design Conference

Each fall, A Better World by Design (ABWxD) brings a global community of students, academics, and professionals to Providence, Rhode Island in order to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal: building a better world. Organized by students from Brown and RISD, ABWxD brings together cutting edge alternative content and introduces the next generation of design pioneers. ABWxD rethinks what a conference can actually do.

What: A Better World by Design Conference
Who: Ellen Jorgensen, Co-founder and Executive Director of Genspace • Sarah Williams, Director of Civic Data Design Lab • Melissa Mongiat, Founder of Daily Tous Les Jours • Brian House, media artist • Michael Ben-Eli, Founder of the Sustainability Laboratory • and many more
When: Friday September 19 to Sunday September 21
Where: Campuses of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Why: 2014 attendees can expect the largest lineup yet, drawing from fields such as mapping, interactive art, design policy, and DIY biology. The theme this year is wayfinding, describing a collective design process used to solve social challenges.

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→ PBN: JWU reveals $40M academic building plan for Jewelry District

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Johnson & Wales University Monday unveiled plans for a new $40 million academic building on former Interstate 195 land in Providence’s Jewelry District.

The building will sit at the corner of Friendship and Chestnut Streets and serve the university’s School of Engineering and Design and College of Arts and Sciences, Johnson & Wales said in a news release.

Very exciting! This will also free up their building at the corner of Westminster and Mathewson for other uses.

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UPDATED: → WPRI: RI moves ahead on $206M nursing school project

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. Board of Education on Monday unanimously signed off on a proposed 15-year lease for the state’s two nursing schools to move into a new joint facility that would be built inside the decaying former South Street Power Station in partnership with Brown University.

The $206-million project, unveiled last year by developer Dick Galvin of CV Properties LLC, would redevelop the former power plant along the Providence River and adjoining property into academic space for the state; office space for Brown; student apartments; and a parking garage.

The parking garage and student housing would be in new buildings built on adjacent parking lots.

May 15, 2014: Press release from the Mayor’s Office

Taveras Administration Proposes South Street Landing Agreements Requiring Tax-Exempt Institutions to Pay Taxes

Development of former power station viewed as significant opportunity to expand city’s tax base, create jobs, spur economic growth in Knowledge District.

The tax-exempt tenants of the proposed South Street Landing development project will pay taxes to the City of Providence under agreements proposed by the administration of Mayor Angel Taveras.

“South Street Landing is a once-in-a-generation economic development opportunity for our Capital City,” said Mayor Taveras. “The project promises to expand Providence’s tax base and increase tax revenues, create construction jobs and permanent jobs, help jumpstart development in the Knowledge District, improve public access and recreation along our waterfront and assure the preservation of an iconic building in our city.”

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→ Brown Daily Herald: U., city officials announce Thayer St. changes

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Thayer Street image from Google Street View

City and University officials announced several planned changes to the Thayer Street commercial district — including new green space, a trash compactor, re-paving and re-lining, signage and changes to curbs — at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Providence and the District Management Authority plan to invest $10,000 to build a parklet — parking spaces converted into a public seating area — in front of the Brown Bookstore. The University will widen sidewalks in front of City Sports and Blue State Coffee, decorate the exterior with trees and outdoor furniture and donate space on Fones Alley for a trash compactor.

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→ PBN: Legal tangle hinders power station redevelopment

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Ownership of the vacant power plant is hampered by multiple stakeholders, mortgages, deed restrictions and up to 20 mechanics liens tied to one of the most ambitious and ill-fated public-private partnerships in the state’s history.

And then there are the $26 million in state historic tax credits attached to Dynamo House that the partnership between Commonwealth Ventures LLC and Brown University intend to use to help finance construction. The current owners of the power station control the tax credits.

With this tangled legal web in mind, the city’s Davol Square Plan lays out a strong case for seizing the power station using the city’s powers of eminent domain if clearing the title through negotiation fails.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – December 17, 2013

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the November 19th meeting – for action
  • Approval of the CPC meeting schedule for the 2014 calendar year – for action
  • Director’s Report

Redevelopment Plan

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Image from Bing Maps

1. City Council Referral: An ordinance to adopt the Davol Square Redevelopment Plan This ordinance would adopt a redevelopment plan that would designate a redevelopment project area consisting of approximately 10.5 acres of industrial and commercial property located along the Providence River in the Downtown neighborhood. The ordinance will be reviewed for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan – for action (Downtown, AP 21 Lots 429, 430, 438, 439, 440)

Re:Zoning Providence

2. Update on Re: Zoning Providence Presentation detailing progress on the zoning ordinance revision process and proposed zoning changes developed by the project consultants – for discussion

Adjournment


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Brown presentation on the South Street Power Station project at JDA meeting – July 9, 2013

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Brown University will present information on the proposed redevelopment of the South Street Power Station at the Jewelry District Association Meeting on Tuesday, July 9th.

The meeting is open to the public, you need to be buzzed into the building for entry.

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 • 4:00pm- 5:30pm
Brown Continuing Education Building
200 Dyer Street, Classroom 131/133

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Brown University outlines plans for redevelopment of South Street Power Station

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The University plan includes student housing, retail, a URI/RIC nursing school, administrative offices for the University, a new parking structure, and additions to the riverwalk. The vacant South Street Power Station would be a redeveloped, student housing built on a parking lot along Point Street, and the parking garage across Point Street.

Update: Brown has a Press Release up on their site including a link to an Economic Analysis. pdf

The following letter from Brown University President Christina Paxson, was forwarded to me by a member of the Brown Community:

I am writing to share news that Brown, together with the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Rhode Island College (RIC), is exploring the possibility of partnering with private developer Commonwealth Venture Properties on a comprehensive redevelopment project in Providence’s Jewelry District.

The centerpiece of the project is a renovation of the former South Street Power Station located at 360 Eddy Street, known as “Dynamo House.” Approximately one-half of this space (about 120,000 square feet) would be leased by Brown University for administrative and educational programs; the other half would be leased by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College to house a shared nursing education program. The proposed project also includes an apartment building suitable for graduate, medical and advanced nursing students; retail space; space for start-ups and other small technology-based companies; and a new parking garage.

This week, a joint resolution was introduced in the General Assembly that, if passed, endorses the project in concept and enables URI and RIC to work over the coming months with the developer on a long-term lease agreement, which would require approval by the State Properties Committee and the General Assembly in the next session. The Brown Corporation has endorsed the concept, directing the administration to enter negotiations with the developer on a long-term lease. Assuming the details of these leases are negotiated successfully, we anticipate that construction and renovation would begin in 2014 and the facility would be ready for occupancy in 2016.

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URI/RIC Nursing School at the South Street Power Station?

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Ted Nesi reports for WPRI about the possibility of the South Street Power Station (aka the Dynamo House) being used as the location for the proposed URI/RIC Nursing School.

Yesterday Brown announced their intention to build their expanded School of Engineering on College Hill, ending speculation that Brown would use the old power station located in the Jewelry District.

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→ Brown Daily Herald: Construction changes plans for park on Providence River

Seven years after initial plans were drafted to develop a park along the west waterfront of the Providence River, recent construction in the Jewelry District — including several University buildings — has altered those design plans. The new park will offer a grassy space with access to the river and outdoor programming that will strengthen connections between College Hill and downtown Providence.

The biggest change the commission made to the park plans was selecting a “parcel” from the initial allotment to offer for commercial development, [Bonnie] Nickerson [director of long-range planning for Providence] said.

The commission hopes to see the park ready for construction by summer 2014 and open to the public within 18 months, in late 2015, Nickerson said.

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→ Brown Daily Herald: Fee on non-R.I. Brown students proposed

Rep. John Carnevale, D-Providence and Johnston, introduced legislation in the General Assembly that would place a $50 fee per semester on every out-of-state student attending Brown, the Rhode Island School of Design and Johnson and Wales University Feb. 14. The money raised from this fee would cover the redevelopment of the land opened up by the relocation of I-195, an area each university included in the fee has expressed interest in acquiring. Carnevale said in a press release he chose to raise funds from these universities because he did not want the state to invest heavily in land that would ultimately benefit “wealthy institutions” more than taxpayers.

“If one of those schools buys some land today, relatively cheap, and sells it five years from now when the area is active and thriving, who will reap the profit? Not the taxpayers,” Carnevale said in the press release.

I’m not prepared at the moment to talk about how damn foolish I think this proposal is, but feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comments.

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→ Brown Daily Herald: U. considers purchase of historic Jewelry District site

The vacant historical building known as the Dynamo House, located in the Jewelry District, has become the subject of renewed speculation as government and local university officials push to redevelop the neighborhood into a hub of science, technology and research.

The University has “shown interest in (purchasing the Dynamo House), but nothing definite,” said Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences.

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→ The New York Times: Historic Power Plant in Providence, R.I., May Get Another Chance at an Encore

The New York Times reports that Brown University may be interested in redeveloping the South Street Power Station, better known as the location of the stalled “Dynamo House” project.

According to James S. Bennett, director of economic development for Providence, “serious” possible tenants have looked at the building in recent months, though he declined to say who they were. Sources knowledgeable about the site said that Brown University might be interested since Dynamo House is in the city’s Jewelry District, where Brown has expanded in recent years.

Mr. Bennett said the city had made finding a new use for the building a priority, and would not consider the alternative: “It’s not going to be torn down,” he said.

See also:
Greater City Providence: What’s going on with the Dynamo House?
Via: Nesi’s Notes
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Letter to the campus from P.C.’s President regarding their PILOT agreement

This letter was sent to the Providence College campus by college president Rev. Brian J. Shanley regarding the college’s agreement with the City to acquire public streets in exchange for payments in lieu of taxes:

A Message to the Providence College Community:

Providence College is, and always has been, mindful of the significant role that the city of Providence plays in the decision our students make to attend this institution. Providence is a vibrant city with rich history, great restaurants, and myriad tourist and cultural attractions. It is both an alluring and attractive setting for our students and their families. As the leaders of all of Providence’s higher education and major healthcare institutions have noted on multiple occasions, a financially sound city of Providence is critical for the continued prosperity of each of our organizations going forward. With that in mind, I am pleased to announce that the College has reached an agreement with the City that will benefit both parties. The College has agreed to pay the City $3.84 million over a 10-year period to purchase portions of three City streets: Huxley Ave., which runs through the eastern end of the College campus, and both Wardlaw Ave. and Cumberland St. which are part of the northwest border of the campus across from Alumni Hall. (Specifically, the College will purchase Huxley Ave. from Eaton St. to Ventura St., Wardlaw Ave. from Lucille St. to Cumberland St., and Cumberland St. from Wardlaw Ave. to the property line at 30 Cumberland St.)

The College proposed the purchase of these streets in response to the City’s request for additional payments in lieu of taxes. As you may know, the City reached similar agreements of mutual benefit with Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Johnson & Wales University earlier this year. Mindful of the City’s willingness to structure these agreements on a quid pro quo basis, and knowing that they were hopeful of striking some type of arrangement with all of the major non-profit institutions in Providence, the College felt this was the appropriate time to seek the purchase of these streets.

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If you could buy a city street, what would you do with it?

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Photo (cc) Marcin Wichary

After Brown University and then RISD made agreements with the City to acquire parts of public streets for private parking in exchange for increased payments in lieu of taxes; GoLocal Providence reports that the City will make an annoucement tomorrow that Providence College has now made a similar agreement.

So all this begs the question, if you could buy a public street, which one would you want to buy and what would you want to do with it?

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