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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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Providence City Plan Commission Meeting – August 15, 2017

Providence City Plan Commission Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – 4:45pm
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Proposed building at 1292 Westminster Street, 4th item on the Agenda. Rendering by ZDS.

cpc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from July 18, 2017, regular meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

Minor Subdivision

1. Case No. 17-016MI – 13 Cushing Street (Preliminary Plan) – The applicant is proposing to subdivide a lot in the R-2 zone measuring approximately 10,577 SF into two lots measuring 5,102 SF and 5,475 SF. Continued from the July 18, 2017 CPC meeting – for action (AP 10 Lot 232, College Hill)

2. Case No. 17-032MI – 121 Rutherglen Ave (Preliminary Plan) – The applicant is proposing to subdivide a lot measuring approximately 12,791 SF in the R-1 zone-which has an existing two family dwelling-into two lots measuring 6,531 SF and 6,260 SF. The applicant requires zoning relief for intensifying a nonconforming use by reducing the amount of lot area – for action (AP 61 Lot 320, Reservoir)

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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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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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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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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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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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“River View Hotel and Gallery” proposed for 195 east side parcel

Proposed ‘River View Hotel and Gallery’ on 195 District Parcel 1A

At last night’s 195 Commission Meeting, Cambridge, Mass. based GNF Associates presented plans for a 5-story, 52-room boutique hotel at 195 District Parcel 1A on the east bank of the Providence River.

The Providence Journal reports:

The proposed “River View Hotel” would be a five-story building of approximately 30,000 square feet. Fandetti said many of the rooms and suites would offer terraces with views of the water. The plans also call for an 1,800-square-foot art gallery, a 50-plus-seat restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a cafe/bar and 16 to 20 parking spaces.

[…]

The architectural concepts presented include “a strong street side presence via art gallery, cafe and restaurant; extensive use of brick to harmonize with existing buildings in the area; step back from the river to open up space at the boardwalk and river; and many hotel rooms will have open terraces to take advantage of the river view and view of downtown.”

Providence Business News reports:

In a brief presentation to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Monday, Gerald Fandetti said he wanted to build an arts-infused boutique hotel in Providence that would fit into the small site fronting the river. It would incorporate the public park running along the river, and be an inviting presence, he said. The proposed art gallery would include the work of Rhode Island School of Design students and faculty, he said, and draw on the artists in the region.

[…]

The schematic design includes a two-level restaurant and art gallery at streetside, with curtain walls of glass that would be inviting to pedestrians. The floors above would be tiered back from the river in levels, allowing for guest rooms and open terraces that overlook the river and Downtown Providence.

That design is so damn retro I feel like I have to like it. What it looks like from South Water Street is a very important question. I’d also like to see a rendering of it from afar, it sits all by itself right on the riverbank, feels weird.

I think this is also the thousandth proposed or under-construction hotel in the city.

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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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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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Providence Capital Improvement Plan

Dean Street sidewalk work in 2009

You may remember the Mayor and City Council could not come to an agreement on a bond issue for this last year. So here’s this.

Press Release from the Mayor’s Office:


Mayor Elorza Announces Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)

CIP submitted as part of the agenda for the next City Planning Commission Meeting

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Elorza today announced a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan to be submitted and vetted as part of the budget process in Providence.

“The presentation of this Capital Improvement Plan is part of my continuing commitment to long-term planning throughout the city,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “By outlining a 5-year plan, we can be proactive about repairs and maintenance, instead of waiting until things break to fix them. This plan achieves that goal and outlines the projects we need to invest in to keep our city strong from the ground up.”

The City’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan is a five-year program of planned improvements to Providence’s public infrastructure. The goal of the CIP is to facilitate and coordinate future capital improvements within the City’s current and future financial framework while creating a predictable and appropriate list of planned investments.

“We commend Mayor Elorza and his administration for taking an important step in planning for the city’s capital improvement needs,” said Council President Luis Aponte. “Our hope is for a plan that understands and addresses the infrastructure needs of each neighborhood equitably, and we look forward to reviewing this plan at length in once it’s presented to the City Council.”

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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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One Hundred Harris, Proposed Parking with Residences at Old Fruit & Produce Warehouse Site

A proposal by the Carpionato Group for 776 parking spaces and 459 residential units at 100 Harris Avenue (aka the Old Fruit and Produce Warehouse) is on the City Plan Commission Agenda for their meeting on December 20th.

From the CPC Agenda:

MAJOR LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT – PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL MEETING
6. Case No. 16-054 MA – 100 Harris Avenue (Master Plan) – The applicant is proposing to construct two buildings and a parking structure on three lots measuring a total of approximately 6.06 acres. The development will provide 459 residential units and 776 parking spaces in addition to residential amenities. The site is zoned M-MU 90 – for action (AP 26 Lot 368 and 370, AP 19 Lot 38, Olneyville)

So this is weird and ugly, and holy parking! But it is also in that tragic no-mans land behind the mall, so…

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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – December 12, 2016

PUBLIC NOTICE OF MEETING A regular meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2016, beginning at 5:00 P.M., for the following purposes:

Updated rendering of single tower proposal for Hope Point project

It was my understanding that Hope Point Towers was part of the Executive Session discussion, I’m told it is not.

195-roundI. Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Chairperson Azrack.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on November 14, 2016.
  3. Executive Director’s Report.
  4. Vote to adopt the 2017 Commission meeting schedule.
  5. Presentation regarding proposed Waldorf project on Parcel 30; Public hearing and Vote regarding approval of project plan and design, including proposed waiver.
  6. Presentation on proposed development on Parcels 22 and 25 by Wexford Science and Technology and CV Properties.
  7. Informational presentation by Cambridge Innovation Center.

  8. Continue Reading →
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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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