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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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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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GC: Photos

Flickr totally changed the sharing function on their website, and frankly it sucks and causes me to have to rewrite a bunch of code to properly share people’s photos, and a bunch of great photographers who share in our group have changed their share settings; so I haven’t done a GC: Photos post in quite a while. But there’s some really great stuff in there, so I suffered through it. Some of these photos go back a while, hence the snow:

Photo © Donna St.Pierre

Photo © Anthony Nathan Photography

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City Plan Commission Meeting – June 17, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

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

City Council Referral

1. Referral No. 3377 – Petition to abandon a portion of Broadway The petitioner is requesting to abandon a portion of the width of Broadway between Dave Gavitt Way and Greene Street adjacent to Plat 75 Lot 460 – for action

Institutional Master Plan

2. Amendment of Brown University’s Institutional Master Plan The applicant is seeking to amend the IMP to reflect the School of Engineering’s expansion, property acquisitions, rehabilitation of the South Street Power Station, changes to parking and improvements to Thayer Street – for action

Public Hearing

PROVIDENCE TOMORROW – The Comprehensive Plan 3. Referral No. 3377 – Changes to the Comprehensive Plan Changes proposed include technical changes based on comments received from statewide planning and changes to the future land use map. Public comment will be taken – for action

Re:Zoning Providence

4. Update on Re: Zoning Providence A review of the organization and content of the draft zoning ordinance – for discussion

Adjournment


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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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The Providence Preservation Society’s 56th Annual Meeting featuring Jennifer Bradley – January 23, 2014

Brookings Institution Fellow and Co-Author of The Metropolitan Revolution JENNIFER BRADLEY to Speak at PPS’ 56th Annual Meeting

Second in PPS’ Yearlong Speaker Series entitled Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties List Announced

jennifer-bradleyThe Providence Preservation Society welcomes Jennifer Bradley, fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, to their 56th Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2014, 5:30 pm, at Brown University’s Salomon Center. The event is also the second installment of PPS’ yearlong speaker series entitled Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience, featuring dynamic urban leaders and experts on topics including government and development, open space and public land, and transportation. Ms. Bradley will speak to the context of her book, co-written with Bruce Katz, on how cities and metros are fixing our broken politics and fragile economy.

The Metropolitan Revolution is a thought-leading book on the shift back to our nation’s urban cores. Jennifer Bradley, along with her co-author Bruce Katz, is leading the dialogue on how cities can flourish and ultimately be the drivers for the next economy,” stated Brent Runyon, Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society. “The Providence Preservation Society has long contributed to the economic vitality of Rhode Island through its work in the capital city, preserving our important past while being a partner in the city’s growth. We are excited to have Ms. Bradley with us to share examples from other cities as our second speaker in the Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience series, and as we turn the page to another year of preservation in Providence.”

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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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What Cheer / What Jeer 2013

We’re running a little late this year but we’re finally ready to run down the What Cheers and What Jeers of 2013.

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WHAT CHEER: South Street Power Station (Maybe)

In 2013 we got another plan to redevelop the moribund South Street Power Station. While numerous plans for the building, which at one point was known as the Dynamo House, have come and gone, this latest plan engenders optimism as Brown University is involved now.

In January the New York Times and then The Brown Daily Herald reported on rumors of the university becoming involved in the project. Then in June Brown announced it’s plans for the building in a letter to the campus community.

Those plans include a home for the long talked about URI/RIC Nursing School, office space for Brown, and some sort of retail component in the former power station building. Brown also has a developer engaged in building a student apartment building in the neighboring parking lot along Point Street and the City is involved in plans for a parking structure across Point Street from that.

The latest news on the project comes from the ProJo just before Christmas with reports that the PRA is considering condemning the building so the project can move forward.

While this could all be looked at as another in a long line of proposals for the building, Brown’s involvement makes this proposal seem more promising. 2014 will show us if this project actually moves forward.

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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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195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – August 19, 2013

A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at the office of Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, Rhode Island, on Monday, August 19, 2013, beginning at 5:00 p.m., for the following purposes:

I. Public Session

Call to Order: The Chairperson

  1. Welcome by Chairperson: Chairperson Colin Kane.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings held on July 8, 2013. (Tab 1.)
  3. Ratification of Votes Taken at Meeting of July 8, 2013.
  4. Executive Director’s Report – Review of Activities in Past Month and Proposed Future Activities.
  5. Approval of License Agreement with Hecht Development Regarding a Portion of Parcel 30.
  6. Approval of Providence Downtown Improvement District Proposal for Corner of Parcel 41.
  7. Discussion of Preliminary 2014 – 2015 Budget.
  8. Report from Fuss & O’Neil, Commission Engineers.
  9. Discussion of Public Art Issues.
  10. Approval of Expenses – Commissioner Trip to New Haven.
  11. Discussion Regarding Selection of Communications, Public Relations and Urban Frameworks Consultants.
  12. II. Executive Session

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

  13. Informational Presentation by Brown University (subject to availability).
  14. III. Public Session

  15. Chairman’s Report – Review of Activities in Past Month and Proposed Future Activities/Tentative Agenda for September 9, 2013 Meeting.
  16. Vote to Adjourn.

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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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