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Tag Archives | 195 Land

News on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge

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The Providence Journal: Pedestrian bridge over Providence River being ‘reevaluated’ by RI transportation officials

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is now “reevaluating” the bridge project, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement in response to questions from The Providence Journal.

“Given our current funding levels, RIDOT is reevaluating this project given the availability of funding,” Alviti wrote. “RIDOT must take into consideration the many needs for Rhode Island’s deficient bridges and deteriorated roadways. With reliable, predictable funding provided through the RhodeWorks program, RIDOT would be in a better position to schedule and fund projects such as the pedestrian bridge.”

The Feds let us use the money we’d save on not removing the piers in the river on the new highway. Will the Feds make us remove the piers if we don’t build the bridge?

Salisbury said his association would be “really disappointed” if the bridge isn’t built — plus, he questions what would happen to the old highway piers that once carried Route 195 over the river and now remain in the river, intended to carry the pedestrian bridge along the highway’s old path. Seven years ago, the DOT agreed to build the pedestrian bridge on those piers — and said the $2 million it would save by not demolishing them would go toward building the bridge. The DOT has already paid $1.4 million to design the pedestrian bridge, which was expected to cost $5.5 million.


Also, last week, PBN reported on possible changes to the design of the bridge.

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195 Parcels 22 & 25 Wexford Science & Technology and CV Properties LLC proposal

Completed development plan

Wexford Science & Technology and CV Properties LLC presented their plans for a mixed-use residential, hotel, office, and laboratory development on 195 parcels 22 and 25 to the 195 Commission earlier this week. Some of what they shared with the Commission below:


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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – June 15, 2015

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on Monday, June 15, 2015, beginning at 5pm, for the following purposes

I. Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Chairperson Joseph Azrack.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Public Session Meeting Held on May 18, 2015.
  3. Executive Director’s Report.
  4. Discussion and Consent to Reschedule Date of December’s Commission meeting.
  5. Presentation by CV Properties and Wexford Science and Technology of their proposed mixed use development on Parcels 22 and 25.
  6. Discussion and approval of I-195 Tax Stabilization strategy.
  7. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law), specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (5) (acquisition and disposition of public property).

  8. Discussion Regarding Status of Proposals to Acquire and Develop District Property.
  9. III. Public Session

  10. Vote to Adjourn.
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ProJo: R.I. Senate Majority Leader Ruggerio wants state control of taxes on former Rt. 195 land, tax-stabilization deal

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Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio expects to submit legislation Thursday that would establish state control over the taxes to be paid on former Route 195 highway parcels in the capital city, creating a 20-year tax-stabilization agreement for private developers and removing the city’s control over what taxes would be paid.

Ruggerio led work in 2011 to create the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, which now owns 26 acres of former highway land and seeks to develop the land in a way that stimulates the state’s economy. The land panel just last week extended the deadline for a private developer seeking to build on the land to get a tax-stabilization agreement with the city.

“The administration and the I-195 commission have repeatedly stated they cannot successfully encourage development without the City of Providence creating tax-stabilization standards. Unfortunately, the establishment of clear and predictable tax rates for the I-195 district have not come to fruition,” Ruggerio said in a statement. “We cannot afford to wait any longer. The development of I-195 is critical to Rhode Island’s economic recovery and this legislation will encourage investment, job creation and economic growth.”

I think the City has not been fast enough in moving on their part of getting the land developed. However, I think the administration and the City Council are waiting to hear from the State how we’ll be reimbursed for creating these incentives that theoretically are boosting the economy of the entire state, not just Providence.

Providence carries a heavy burden of hosting so many jobs and so much infrastructure that makes the very existance of this state possible, but doesn’t get very much back for its trouble.

Ruggerio said he last met with Elorza probably in February, but he hadn’t shared his legislation with Elorza before releasing it today.

Well that is just rude. If you’re representing my city, and you’re moving to take away my taxing authority, a phone call or a text, maybe a fax, is in order.

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WPRI: Major life-sciences complex proposed for 195 land

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Life-sciences complex proposed for Parcels 22 and 25. Image from Google Maps.

Two private developers – Wexford Science & Technology LLC and CV Properties LLC – submitted a proposal last week to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission seeking approval for a million-square-foot-plus multi-use project on parcel 22 and parcel 25 of the vacant former highway land, WPRI.com confirmed Wednesday.

“It is a major life sciences complex that includes lab space, academic research space, a hotel with meeting space and residential and retail components,” Eric Cote, a spokesman for CV Properties, told WPRI.com.

“It is a very large proposed complex,” he said. “The size that it may ultimately be will depend on our discussions with the 195 Commission, so it could change, but it’s currently envisioned as a project in excess of 1 million square feet.

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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – May 18, 2015

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, MAY 18, 2015, beginning at 5 P.M., for the following purposes

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Parcel 28 preliminary rendering by The Architectural Team.

Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Chairperson Joseph Azrack.
  2. Review and approval of the Minutes of the Commission Public Session Meetings Held on April 6 and 27, 2015.
  3. Executive Director’s Report.
  4. Discussion and Affirmation of Appointment of Commission Officers.
  5. Vote to consent to the 2014 City of Providence Zoning Ordinance with conditions as presented by Commission Counsel.
  6. Review and Consideration of the Request by Phoenix Lincoln, Contract Purchaser of Parcel 28, to Extend Time Periods to Complete Due Diligence and Obtain Tax Stabilization Agreement and Vote.
  7. Review and Consideration of the Request by Commonwealth Ventures, developers of South Street Landing, on behalf of National Grid, to have a long term easement over the southern tip of Parcel 4, and Vote.
  8. Vote to Adjourn.
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News & Notes – PawSox Edition

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PawSox dugout at McCoy Stadium. Photo (cc) Eric Kilby

WPRI: Lucchino responds to skepticism over proposed Providence ballpark

Lucchino, one of the team’s new owners, said the project is a clear economic engine for the local economy, and not just through baseball.

“We have to build a ballpark that has multiple uses, that can attract football and could attract concerts, that can have some art events at the thing,” he said. “Make it an major civic center for Providence.”

[…]

Lucchino believes the new park will not only boost the economy, but also revitalize downtown Providence. He hopes to bring a million people to the capital city by generating small businesses and jobs.


PBN: Pawsox greeted by skeptical I-195 commission and audience

Owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox presented a detailed plan for moving the AAA team to downtown Providence Monday, earning a skeptical if not critical reception from the commission that controls the site the team wants for its new ballpark.

In questions posed during the meeting of the Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Commission, commissioners questioned both the public cost and the tax benefits of the proposed development, and whether the state could find a more effective use for the site to attract highly desirable high-tech or life sciences development to the I-195 lands.

The question of other uses seems odd, so far as I know we still haven’t found a way out of the federal requirement for park land at this location.


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Johnson & Wales University begins work on 195 parcel

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As reported in PBN and editorialized about in the ProJo, Johnson & Wales University has begun site work on their new academic building. This will be the first thing built on former Route 195 land.


Providence Business News: JWU begins site prep for $40M academic building downtown

Construction is expected to be completed by July 2016 and is expected to be the first development on the former Interstate-195 lands in Providence, which were made available following the relocation of the highway. The university purchased the site in 2012.

The project will place a 71,000-square-foot building at the corner of Friendship and Chestnut streets, and will house the university’s School of Engineering and Design, and College of Arts and Sciences biology program.


The Providence Journal: Editorial: Breaking new ground

This activity on the former highway land, coupled with nearby plans for a University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island College nursing education center and administrative space for Brown University in the former South Street Power Station, provides a ray of hope for a city and state that are looking to turn around the local economy and give college graduates and young professionals a reason to stay here. Add a new AAA ballpark, if feasible, and that neighborhood would be an extraordinary economic force.

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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – April 27, 2015

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on Monday, April 27, 2015, beginning at 4pm, for the following purposes
The 195 Commission was scheduled to discuss the PawSox stadium proposal with the team’s ownership in closed door, “Executive Session,” at this meeting. That discussion is now open to the public according to The Providence Journal.

I. Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Chairperson Joseph Azrack.
  2. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law), specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (5) (acquisition and disposition of public property).

  3. Presentation Regarding Acquisition and Development of District Property.
  4. III. Public Session

  5. Vote to Adjourn.
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PawSox Providence Stadium Proposal

Updating…

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PawSox Baseball Stadium News

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Proposed site of PawSox stadium. Image from Google Maps

PBN reports on PawSox President James J. Skeffington’s tour of the riverfront land in the Jewelry District he proposes to build a new home for the PawSox on:

In a tour of the site, overlooking College Hill and the Providence skyline, attorney James J. Skeffington said consultants had determined the seven-acre proposed site will support the baseball park that team owners want to build.

In addition, he said, team owners have reached an agreement to use the parking garage planned for the South Street Landing project, now under construction on an adjacent site. Under the plan, the parking garage will be enlarged to 750 spaces, to accommodate the baseball traffic, he said, and the PawSox owners will contribute financially to its construction.

The parking garage at South Street Landing has sought relief from City Zoning requiring ground floor retail uses in parking structures. With the increased size of the structure and the increased diversity of visitors (they won’t mostly be Nursing School students presumably) there should be no reason for the garage developers not to conform to City zoning regulations.

ProJo also has a report:

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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – April 6, 2015

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2015, beginning at 5 P.M., for the following purposes

I. Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Governor Raimondo.
  2. Welcoming Remarks by Mayor Elorza.
  3. Welcome by Chairperson Joseph Azrack.
  4. Executive Director’s Report and Review of Materials, and Introduction of Commission Consultants, Fuss & O’Neill and DK Communications.
  5. Presentation by Lisa Pinsonneault of Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office regarding Open Meetings Act.
  6. Discussion and Adoption of Revised 2015 Commission Meeting Schedule, May – December.
  7. Discussion and Vote regarding Adoption of the 2014 City of Providence Zoning Ordinance.
  8. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law), specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (5) (acquisition and disposition of public property).

    III. Public Session

  9. Chairman’s Remarks.
  10. Vote to Adjourn.
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ProJo: Developers say lack of state support stalled project for I-195 land

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A lawyer and a doctor who hoped to build life-sciences laboratories on former highway land in the capital city have given up on their efforts because they say they haven’t received necessary state support.

Timothy H. Ehrlich, a Boston lawyer who represents biotechnology companies, and Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, president of the Cambridge Biolabs project in Massachusetts, pitched a Providence Biolabs project last June to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. They hoped to encourage start-up companies to develop into viable entities whose scientific research might lead to new treatments for diseases and might otherwise improve people’s health.

“We had to suspend our Providence Biolabs initiative when it became clear that there was not sufficient state support available to bring a shared laboratory to Providence,” Fruehauf told The Providence Journal.

This article does not have any comment from the Governor’s office and only a non-specific comment from the 195 Commission’s spokesperson, so take that as you will. It however does not sound very good.

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ProJo: Raimondo administration steps up role on I-195 land

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State officials are looking at the wisdom of adding to the land that falls under control of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and the feasibility of allowing a stadium on the vacant state property in downtown Providence.

[…]

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which Pryor leads as commerce secretary, last Friday began the search for a consultant to help devise a real-estate development strategy for the land opened by the highway relocation project.

The agency released a request for proposal that contemplates the highway commission controlling development of property adjacent to the highway corridor in downtown Providence, as well as evaluating “special purpose uses” for the land, including “athletic/stadium/entertainment facilities, structured parking, etc.” The request was made in conjunction with the commission and the City of Providence.

It is good that this Governor is actively working to develop this land. I do however worry about the State’s involvement in developing downtown. I don’t have too much faith in the understanding of urbanism and what makes a good city at the State level (Exhibit 1: State House surface parking).

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PBN: Why is it so hard to build in Providence?

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Cranes constructing the Waterplace Towers in 2006.

Development is not predictable, to the point of being difficult. Companies that have built projects in the city, or who want to, describe a market beset by financial obstacles, administrative hurdles and, as a result, a yearslong paucity of new construction – even as cranes have seemingly dominated the skyline in Boston.

Despite the poor general economy and loss of jobs, however, Providence has construction costs that remain as high as in Boston, according to development professionals. But the rents that can be collected from buildings in Providence, whether from business tenants or apartment residents, don’t approach those of Boston.

And the property taxes are higher here – particularly for residential buildings. In Boston, an apartment building falls under the residential tax rate, currently $12.11 for each $1,000 of assessed value. In Providence, the same building pays the commercial rate of $36.75.

All of this amounts to what developers call a “feasibility gap” for Providence, the void between rents and costs of construction.

What do you think needs to be done (if anything) to jump start development in Providence?

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News & Notes

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Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo (cc) Dave Lawrence.

CityLab: Why Housing Is Key to Chattanooga’s Tech-Hub Ambitions

Chattanooga is aiming to build on the reputation it’s earned from its world-class broadband service. The goal is to make the city a sustainable innovation hub, showing that it’s a well-rounded city rather than a one-trick pony. Evidence of this forward-thinking strategy can be seen in an ambitious expansion of housing downtown—known locally as the City Center—which is aimed at attracting young professionals that value walkable urban cores.

The latest downtown housing effort began in 2013, three years after the city’s gigabit Internet was first introduced. The community was of course enthused by the changes they were seeing in the city. But to local policymakers, the level of housing density in downtown Chattanooga was far from ideal. Over 50,000 people showed up to work there each day, but a dearth of adequate housing prevented many of them from moving there. Over the course of several months, more than 70 local stakeholders came together to identify 22 downtown buildings that needed to be remodeled (some razed) to make room for new housing.


The Boston Globe: A new age for an old town

There have been three great ages of development in modern Boston. The first began after the Back Bay was filled in the late 19th century, a radical change that triggered a historic construction boom. The second came in the 1960s and ’70s, when a “high spine” of office towers — stretching from the financial district to the Pru — began to rise over an old town.

The third is now.

Its businesses and population on the rise, Boston is in the midst of a building spree whose enormity, pace, and geographic sweep are redefining the skyline faster than any period since the early Industrial Age.


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WPRI: Sources: New PawSox owners want to move to Providence

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McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Photo (cc) Drew Bennett.

The new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox want to move the team to a privately-financed stadium in Providence, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

The stadium would be paid for by the new owners, but they would require the state to give them land at no cost, according to sources. The owners are eying the vacant former I-195 land downtown, which the state borrowed $38.4 million to buy back in 2013. The money, plus interest, is supposed to be repaid with the proceeds from selling the land.

On Twitter there was speculation of them wanting to use the West Side 195 park, I would say absolutely not to that, we were promised parks, not ballparks.

“We were briefed last night,” [Pawtucket Mayor Don] Grebien said Monday. “It knocked the wind out of us.” The new owners told Grebien they want the team to play in an “urban district with transportation,” he said.

They said ‘urban’ and ‘transportation,’ :swoon: But wait, this needs lots of vetting, don’t try to trick me!

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