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Cornish Associates purchases The Providence Journal Building with Boston partner

75 Fountain Street – Image from Google Streetview

In a press release out today, Cornish Associates announces that they’ve purchased The Providence Journal Building and two neighboring parking lots with their partner, Norblom Company of Boston.


Nordblom Company and Cornish Associates Purchase The Providence Journal Building

Nordblom Company and Cornish Associates are pleased to announce their joint purchase of the historic Providence Journal Building located at 75 Fountain Street in the heart of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. This purchase also includes two adjoining parking lots at 78 Fountain Street and 1 Eddy Street. The Seller was A.H. Belo, who had owned these three properties and the newspaper until its sale in late 2014. The CBRE team, lead by Senior Vice President/Partner Alden Anderson, oversaw the transaction.

The building affords exceptional space in a terrific city location. Directly across the street from the Convention Center and Omni Providence Hotel, it also overlooks Kennedy Plaza, generally considered the heart of the city and the state’s transportation hub. Other notable neighbors include the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the 1 million square foot Providence Place Mall. The location also benefits from proximity to the flourishing retail stores and restaurants throughout downcity.

Cornish and Nordblom plan to commence immediately with improvements to the building. Their plan includes modernizing and revitalizing this iconic property while offering leases to a broad cross section of tenants ranging from full-floor users to 2-5,000 square foot occupants. With the building’s large windows and tall, bright spaces, it will provide exceptional new offices at very competitive rents in the marketplace. This is the first time, since its construction, that significant space has been available in this property and it offers an extraordinary opportunity for a wide range of prospective tenants. When renovations are complete at the close of 2015, the building will feature 160,000 square feet of renovated office space as well as over 10,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space facing the newly re-designed Emmet Square.

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Rhode Island PrideFest & Illuminated Night Parade – June 20, 2015

pride-2014

Rhode Island Pride kicks of tomorrow, Saturday, June 20th with the annual PrideFest along the riverfront on South Water Street starting at noon.

PrideFest is followed up by the Illuminated Night Parade through the streets of downtown starting at 8:30pm.

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WaterFire Providence – Full Lighting – June 13, 2015

waterfire

WaterFire will have a full lighting on Saturday, June 13th – Sunset: 8:21 pm

WaterFire describes itself as:

…an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

View the complete 2015 WaterFire schedule.

All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset and the event continues until half past midnight.
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PBN: Grace Episcopal undergoing exterior renovation

grace-church

Image from Google Street View

Encased on two sides by scaffolding, Grace Episcopal Church is undergoing a nearly $800,000 exterior renovation that will clean and restore its stonework.

In addition to cleaning and repairing the stone, and repointing the masonry, the renovation will repair and paint the metal roof, which has leaked for several years, according to the Rev. Jonathan Huyck.

[…]

Financed through congregant contributions, it will be followed by a major capital campaign, the first undertaken by the church in 25 years. The plan is to expand into a new building, built over a portion of the adjoining parking lot owned by the church, he said.

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WaterFire Providence – Basin Lighting – May 29, 2015

waterfire

WaterFire will have a basin lighting on Friday, May 29th – Sunset: 8:12 pm

WaterFire describes itself as:

…an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

View the complete 2015 WaterFire schedule.

Basin lightings include the circle of twenty-two braziers in the Waterplace Park Basin and the twelve braziers leading up to the Providence Place Mall.
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WaterFire Providence – Full Lighting – May 23, 2015

waterfire

WaterFire will have a full lighting on Saturday, May 23rd – Sunset: 8:06 pm

WaterFire describes itself as:

…an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

View the complete 2015 WaterFire schedule.

All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset and the event continues until half past midnight.
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WaterFire Providence – Partial Lighting – May 16, 2015

waterfire

WaterFire will have a partial lighting on Saturday, May 16th – Sunset: 7:59 pm

WaterFire describes itself as:

…an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

View the complete 2015 WaterFire schedule.

Partial lightings usually include all of the braziers from Providence Place Mall to Steeple Street.
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Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ seeks 2-year extension

public-safety-building-lot

Image from Google Street View

The owners of the Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ are seeking a 2-year extension of the non-compliant use at Tuesday’s Zoning Board of Review meeting:

PRI XIV, LP: 197-209 Fountain Street (bounded by Empire St., Greene St. and Broadway), also known as Lots 116 & 436 on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 25, located in a D-1 Downtown District, filed an application requesting a USE VARIANCE seeking relief from Article 12 – Section 1201, Use Matrix Table 12-1, to continue the use the subject property for surface parking. The applicant seeks relief from the use restriction; whereby, surface parking lots are not permitted within the D-1 district. The lots in question together contain approximately 44,547 square feet of land area.

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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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Downcity Cinco de Mayo Block Party – May 2, 2015

cinco-de-mayo-2015

From InDowncity on Facebook:


It’s back!

InDowncity and the Downcity merchants are excited to announce that the fifth annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party will be taking place on Saturday May 2nd 2015!

We’ve got tacos, we’ve got live music, we’ve got piñatas and SO much more this year!

Taking over Westminster Street between Dorrance and Mathewson, we are bringing you FOUR city blocks of color, excitement, music and Cinco spirit!

We’ll have more info for you soon so keep your eyes on indowncity.com in the coming days and weeks more more details, but for now: SAVE THE DATE!

SATURDAY MAY 2nd starting at 11am right on through until 6pm

Event page on Facebook
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PBN: Union Trust Co. building sold

federal-reserve

The Union Trust Co. Building aka The Federal Reserve Building. Image from Google Maps

I think most of us know this as the Federal Reserve Building, or, where the Dorrance is.

The landmark Union Trust Co. building downtown has been sold to the development group that produced the Providence G complex, with plans to convert its offices to apartments.

The building, at 170 Westminster St., includes The Dorrance restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant will remain, and a second floor converted to commercial space. The remaining 10 floors of the mid-rise building will be renovated over five years into rental apartments, according to Brendan Moran, property manager for both the Providence G complex and the Union Trust building.

The article says the full renovation will take 5-years, but they plan to start leasing the end of this year, which seems weird. It will be nice to have another 60 units downtown.

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Providence International Arts Festival June 11-14, 2015

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October 2012 FirstWorks Festival in Kennedy Plaza, Photo: Providence Department of Arts, Culture, + Tourism.

From the City of Providence:


Providence International Arts Festival To Bring World-Class Experience To Residents & Visitors June 11th – 14th, 2015

Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and FirstWorks are pleased to announce the Providence International Arts Festival taking place June 11th – 14th, 2015. Building off of Providence’s international recognition as a creative city, this first-ever signature event will be a jaw-dropping celebration featuring world-class arts, sculpture, music, food and spectacle in the heart of the city’s downtown. The centerpiece of Festival activities is Saturday, June 13, 2015 with events beginning on Kennedy Plaza at 4pm.

“This festival will be a way to connect the world-class talent we have here in Providence with artists and performers from around the world,” said Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza, “We are excited to welcome visitors to the City to explore all that we have to offer and look forward to partnering with so many great organizations and artists.”

The Providence International Arts Festival will literally transform the city with international artists in visual art, sculpture, music, public art, civic dialogue, educational workshops, community play, spectacle and parade. The Festival will be centralized around program hubs that unify the downtown into an arts corridor – PVD City Hall, FirstWorks on the Plaza, Public Art Transformations, Empire Street Gateway, and the Washington Street Corridor. Opening ceremonies will feature a specially commissioned first work, One Voice by Dr. Clarice LaVerne Thompson with RPM Voices of Rhode Island and a stunning 800 voices in a procession to City Hall from all points of the compass to kick-off the festivities at 6pm on Saturday, June 13, 2015.

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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?

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CANCELED: City Plan Commission Meeting – March 17, 2015

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
This meeting has been canceled.


Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from February 24, 2015 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3388 – Request for easement at 128 Mathewson Street The applicants, Heads Up Inc and the Mathewson Street Church are requesting an easement to provide handicap access for the church at 128 Mathewson Street – for action (AP 25 Lot 349, Downtown)

Major Land Development Project Public Hearing

3. Case No. 14-038MA – 181 Corliss Street (Preliminary Plan Approval) The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval to construct a four story, 124 room extended stay hotel on the former site of an abandoned Postal Service building. The lot measures approximately 2.01 acres. Public comment will be taken. Continued from the February 24 meeting – for action (AP 74 Lot 376, Mt. Hope)

Adjournment


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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – March 9, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, March 9, 2015 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 1st Floor Conference Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903
This meeting was originally scheduled for February 9th and was canceled due to snow.

Agenda

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of December 8, 2014 and January 12, 2015

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 15.03: 32 Custom House Street (Real Estate Title Insurance Co. Building) Proposal by HM Ventures 7, LLC to conduct exterior alterations, as part of the renovation and conversion of the building into residential with ground floor commercial.

Other Business

2. DRC Application No. 14.25: 342 Eddy Street Review of the ground floor elevation of the proposed parking garage, along Eddy Street, in accordance with DRC Resolution #15?01.

The applicant wants to not be required to build ground floor retail into the proposed garage.

3. Reconsideration of a Decision on DRC Application No. 14.27: 10 Dorrance Street (Howard Building) The applicant requests the DRC reconsider its decision on the application. The applicant is proposing to install new wall signage for ‘VP Fitness’ on the Dorrance Street elevation of the building.

Adjournment

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CANCELED: UPDATED: Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – February 9, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, February 9, 2015 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 1st Floor Conference Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903
Due to the winter storm, this meeting has been canceled.

Agenda

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of December 8, 2014 and January 12, 2015

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 15.03: 32 Custom House Street (Real Estate Title Insurance Co. Building) – Proposal by HM Ventures 7, LLC to conduct exterior alterations, as part of the renovation and conversion of the building into residential with ground floor commercial.

Other Business

3. DRC Application No. 14.25: 342 Eddy Street – Review of the ground floor elevation of the proposed parking garage, along Eddy Street, in accordance with DRC Resolution #15-01.

This is the parking garage for the South Street Landing project. My understanding is they are seeking to build the garage without the required ground floor retail component.

2. Reconsideration of a Decision on DRC Application No. 14.27: 10 Dorrance Street (Howard Building) – The applicant requests the DRC reconsider its decision on the application. The applicant is proposing to install new wall signage for ‘VP Fitness’ on the Dorrance Street elevation of the building.

Adjournment


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