Categories

Tag Archives | Development

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

ridot-195

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).

Continue Reading →

3

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

waterplace-cranes-2006

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?

11

The Valley Breeze: Officials: Luxury apartment project could be game-changer

pawtucket-division-street-parcel

City officials say a plan to bring 200 luxury apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space to vacant land at 45 Division St. is the big score the downtown has been waiting for.

[…]

Colin Kane, partner with the Peregrine Group, told GoLocalProv last week that his company was planning an “exciting” project of 200 apartments and extensive commercial space for this area on the riverfront. Kane did not respond to calls for comment.

Zelazo said city officials love the idea of luxury apartments with desirable waterfront views and “beautiful” look at the Pawtucket River Bridge.

Can we all just stop using the term “game-changer” right now thank you?

13

News & Notes

chattanooga-flickr

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.


Continue Reading →

0

Providence Planning Department seeks input on community development priorities

From the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development:


You Are Invited to Discuss Your Priorities For Our Communities and Neighborhoods

square-p-01The City of Providence, Department of Planning and Development invites you to a series of conversations about your priorities for housing and community development needs throughout the city.

The Community Development Division will be gathering the input from these meetings and using it to shape future spending and project priorities and to update the City’s Consolidated Plan – which guides the city’s spending on housing and community development.

Some of the topics covered will be: affordable housing; homelessness; senior services; parks and recreation; services for families, adults, and children; accessibility and mobility; persons with HIV/AIDS; lead paint and other unhealthy or unsafe housing issues; economic development; and public safety.

Plan to participate and make your voice hear!

Tues. March 3 – 6:30pm Webster Avenue School 191 Webster Avenue
Wed. March 4 – 6:30pm Fox Point Boys & Girls Club, 90 Ives Street
Tues. March 10 – 6:30pm West Broadway Neighborhood Association, 1560 Westminster Street
Wed. March 18 – 6:30pm SWAP, 500 Broad Street
Tues. March 24 – 6:30pm Washington Park Community Center, 42 Jillson Street
Mon. April 6 – 6:30pm DaVinci Center, 470 Charles Street
Thurs. April 9 – 6:30pm Dr. Martin Luther King School, 35 Camp Street

To RSVP, please contact Donna Miele at dmiele@providenceri.com.

Please complete our Community Needs Survey: http://tinyurl.com/ProvidenceCDBGSurvey

0

I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – January 12, 2015

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Design Review Committee will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, January 12, 2015, beginning at 11am, for the following purposes

Public Session

  • I-195 Redevelopment Commision: Commisioners Colin Kane, Barrett Bready, Diana Johnson – Jan Brodie, Executive Director
  • Commission Consultants: Shawn Martin, Fuss & O’Neil – Ted Sanderson, RI HP&HC
  • Development Team: John Cappellano, Phoenix Lincoln – Michael Liu, The Architectural Team

Call to Order

  1. Discusion regarding the zoning, planning, and design of the proposed buildings and site plan of Parcel 28.
  2. Vote to Adjourn.

3

Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – January 12, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, January 12, 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 December 12, 2014
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 14.25: 342 Eddy Street (Public Hearing) – The subject of the hearing will be an application by CV SSL Garage, LLC requesting waivers from D-1 Design Regulations for non-conforming new construction. The applicant is proposing to construct a new parking garage at 342 Eddy Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking waivers from the requirements for transparency and multiple entrances at the ground floor level on the Eddy Street elevation, and for the recess line requirement for buildings over 6 stories.

This is the parking garage being built as part of the South Street Landing project.

south-street-landing-housing

Rendering of student housing building along Point Street

2. DRC Application No. 14.26: 11-15 Point Street (Public Hearing) – The subject of the hearing will be an application by CV SSL River House, LLC requesting a waiver from D-1 Design Regulations for non-conforming new construction. The applicant is proposing to construct a new mixed-use residential development at 11-15 Point Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking a waiver from the recess line requirement for buildings over 6 stories.

This is the residential new construction at the South Street Landing project.

3. DRC Application No. 14.27: 10 Dorrance Street (Howard Building) – Proposal to install new signage for VP Fitness on the exterior of the building.

Adjournment


2

PBN: Elizabeth Mill in Warwick to be razed, redeveloped

integlia-warwick-002

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.

Continue Reading →

32

PBN: Roger Williams University more than doubling downtown presence

one-empire-plaza

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.

9

Capital Center Commission Meeting – December 10, 2014

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

capitol-cove-street-view

The second phase of Capitol Cove is proposed for the area to the right of the existing building. Image from Google Street View

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of October 8, 2014
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of August 19, 2014
  3. Acceptance of 2015 CCC Meeting Schedule
  4. Parcel 6: Building B – Request for approval to construct a new apartment building (Building B). Buildings A and B of the Capitol Cove Project were previously approved by the Commission in 2003. Building A was completed in 2008.
  5. Parcel 9: GTECH Building – Request for approval to conduct exterior building alterations, install new signage and landscaping for The Capital Grille.
  6. District Maintenance Issues
  7. Adjournment

20

Zoning for 210 West Exchange

Exhibit 10 - Zoning Ordinance

Did you look at the new zoning map and see a little piece of downtown zoning floating by itself on the back side of Federal Hill? I’m told this piece of downtown zoning in the midst of an otherwise mixed-use manufacturing zone was created by the City Council for a proposed development at 210 West Exchange Street.

The proposed building would top out at 185′, ~17 floors with 198 residential units and a 136 room Aloft Hotel. It would sit up against the highway between West Exchange Street and the former G. Fox building.

A study created for the developer, WestX Capital, describes the project like this:

Continue Reading →

41

UPDATED: ProJo: 195 Commission agrees to deal on $50-million, 500-bed student housing development

195-parcel-28

Image from 195 District Parcel 28 – Google Streetview

Updated: January 12, 2015

The Journal’s Kate Bramson reports from the 195 Commission Meeting that the developer of Parcel 28 has entered into an agreement to buy the nightclubs on the corner of Richmond and Friendship Streets. This will give the developers a full block to develop. It appears the developer plans to tear down the building where the nightclubs are and construct a second building.

Bramson also tweeted this rendering from the presentation.

parcel-28

Original post

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission voted behind closed doors Monday to sign a purchase and sale agreement with a Texas development firm that specializes in privatized student housing to build a $50-million, six-story housing development that will accommodate 500 renters on the west side of the Providence River.

Kane said the commission authorized him to sign the purchase and sale agreement, which will be a binding document requiring the firm to break ground by August 2015. Brodie said the firm expects to open its doors Sept. 1, 2017, ready for people to move into its rental units.


First, yes, it is going to be great to get something built on the 195 Land, and work is projected to begin next summer. With 20,000 square feet of retail space, this project should be able to provide some badly needed retail services to the Jewelry District neighborhood. And having 500 units of housing dropped from the sky has the potential to really have a positive impact on the neighborhood.

However, as the commenters at ProJo said, this deal literally took place behind closed doors. However, people involved in development and real estate all seemed to know this deal was coming, it was just the general public that may be surprised to hear about this this morning. So, if the people most involved in the process, pretty much know what is going on through industry chatter, where’s the need for the secrecy? I know there is a degree of discretion needed to complete a real estate deal, but the Commission really needs to do something about the perception that these Executive Sessions send to the public.

40

ProJo: Symposium offers wish list of ideas to spur development of Route 195 land

ridot-195

Photo from RIDOT

Jan A. Brodie expects there’ll be a groundbreaking in 2015 on the vacant former highway land in the heart of the capital city, but she unveiled a holiday wish list Friday afternoon for what she thinks would push forward pending development projects.

Brodie, executive director of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, would like no sales tax and no corporate taxes for projects built on the nearly 19 acres available for development after the state’s highway-relocation project. She’d like an “institutionalized, predictable” tax-stabilization agreement for city property taxes that would last at least 15 years, she told about 60 people gathered for the final session of the Providence Preservation Society’s year-long symposium, “Building the New Urban Experience.”

No one on the panel supported Chapel View as a vision for what should be done on the 195 land. Thank goodness.

0

Sim City writ large on the Providence Waterfront

cianci-waterfront

Screenshot from YouTube.

Today’s Providence Business News reports on the divergent visions of the Providence Mayoral Candidates for the Providence Waterfront.

As with many issues, Elorza wants to continue the Taveras position on Allens Avenue, which is to reserve the land there, through zoning restrictions, for industrial use only. Supported by the City Council under President Michael Solomon and existing Allens Avenue landowners, that position was a change from Cianci’s late 1990s plans and those of his successor, David N. Cicilline.

Elorza does want to increase exports from the working waterfront, through market studies and trade missions, activities normally handled by state economic-development officials.

Not to be overlooked, the people who currently own the land along the Allens Avenue waterfront support this direction.

Continue Reading →

20

News & Notes

Rendering of the Boston Public Market

Project for Public Spaces: Boston’s Public Market To Be a Hub for Local Food

PPS’ public markets team has just returned from Boston and is excited to announce that it has begun creating an implementation plan for the first floor of Parcel 7, a MassDOT-owned building that is slated to house a public market. Both local residents and vendors are energized by the decision to re-purpose Parcel 7 into a marketplace that will promote regional food, support the New England economy and foster social integration.

More on Boston’s new public market, set to open in 2015 at their website.

The American Conservative: What to Do With Waterfronts?

Many city waterfronts used to be seedy industrial spaces: Dickensian areas once characterized by water trade and commerce, marked occasionally by squalor or disrepute. But as cities have changed, grown, and gentrified, our waterfronts are changing too.

Nonetheless: changes, even good changes, have consequences. Waterfront projects—be they in wealthy, well-kept communities or in run-down spaces—need a sense of scale and structure in order to foster beneficial growth.

When I wrote about Alexandria’s waterfront project, New Urbanists Peter Katz and Philip Bess both offered a wealth of ideas and tips for excellent, human-scale waterfront development. There were a lot of things we discussed that I simply didn’t have room for in my story—so here are a few “bonus” comments from the two men. They explained five specific ways to help make a waterfront a good New Urbanist space:

I think the best piece of advise in this list is the building it for locals, not tourists. Tourists like local things, but locals do not always like tourist things.


Continue Reading →

3

UPDATED: Possible project at Parcel 12

parcel-12

Image from Bing Maps

The so-called ‘triangle-parcel’ in Capital Center adjacent to Burnside Park could soon see a new development.

On the October 9th agenda of the Providence Redevelopment Authority is a:

Motion to approve lease with option to purchase Parcel 12 located at 5 Exchange Street, to First Bristol Corporation.

According to the Minutes of the PRA July 10th meeting , the lease would be for the construction of a hotel. First Bristol are the owners of the Hampton Inn & Suites on Weybosset Street.

The last proposed development on Parcel 12 was way back in 2006 when The Carpionato Group also proposed a hotel on the site. Let’s hope this one is a little less ugly.

Update: ProJo reports:

The company envisions a six-story building with 120 suites, with an estimated cost of $18 million to $20 million, Karam said.

First Bristol seems to be leaning toward an extended stay hotel concept.

15

City Plan Commission Meeting – August 19, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from June 29th meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

adrianhallway

Adrian Hall Way – Image from Google Street View

1. Referral 3381 – Petition to abandon Adrian Hall Way The applicant, Trinity Repertory Company, is requesting to abandon the entirety of Adrian Hall Way including AP 25 Lot 179 – for action (Downtown)

2. Referral 3382 – Petition to abandon a portion of Stanhope Street The applicant intends to abandon the portion of Stanhope Street adjacent to AP 97 Lot 12 to add to the area of the lot – for action (Charles)

Minor Subdivision

3. Case No. 14-027 MI – 345 Harris Ave The applicant is requesting to subdivide a lot at 345 Harris Ave measuring approximately 183,884 SF into two lots measuring 29,585 SF and 154,299 SF respectively – for action (AP 27 Lot 284, Valley)

Public Informational Meeting Major Land Development Project

4. Case No. 14-028MA – 345 Harris Ave (Master Plan Approval) The applicant is seeking master plan approval to develop the subdivided portion of the subject lot as a parking lot that will provide 86 parking spaces. Public comment will be taken – for action (AP 27 Lot 84, Olneyville)

Continue Reading →

4

Better than nothing is not good enough

cvs-washington

New CVS in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood will feature two-levels of apartments and underground parking. – Rendering by Schemata Workshop

I’ve been hearing the same refrain lately when it comes to less than stellar development proposals in Providence, ‘it may not be great, but it is better than what is there now.’ The McDonald’s and Family Value in Olneyville is cited as better than the vacant lot that is there now. The LA Fitness on North Main is seen as better than the vacant building that is there now. And on it goes, there’s a defeatest attitude around here about having nice things.

As CVS starts to expand into Washington State, one Seattle neighborhood saw the company’s proposal and asked if they could build something better. Unlike CVS’s recent store back here at home in Edgewood, the company building the new store, The Velmeir Cos., said, ‘sure, let’s figure it out.’

The original proposal was for a one-story CVS at what the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce describes as a high profile corner is Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood.

Continue Reading →

22