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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

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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?

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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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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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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.

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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


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New bike corral on Eddy Street, a first for Providence?

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Image from Downtown Improvement District Twitter.

The Downtown Improvement District installed a new bike corral today on Eddy Street, like literally, on the street. Is this the first time an on-street bike corral has been installed in Providence?

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PBN: Roger Williams University more than doubling downtown presence

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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.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – December 16, 2014

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from November18, 2014 meeting – for action
  • Approval of 2015 CPC meeting schedule – for action
  • Director’s Report

Major Subdivision – Public Informational Meeting

1. Case No. 14-031 MA – 440-460 Rochambeau Ave – The applicant is requesting to subdivide two lots at 440 and 460 Rochambeau Ave. measuring approximately 33,453 SF and 114,873 SF respectively, into 12 lots. Each proposed lot would measure more than 6,000 SF. The item was continued at the November 16 meeting. – for action (AP 93 Lots 14 and 339, Blackstone)

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New Providence Zoning Ordinance effective December 24, 2014

zoning-2014

Lots of information to digest in this new ordinance, some highlights as we see it; no parking minimums downtown, parking maximums in designated transit oriented development areas, special provisions for neighborhood commercial in residential areas, changes on Broadway to the Residential-Professional zone to allow more neighborhood commercial by right.

What does everyone else think?


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2014 Providence free holiday parking program starts Black Friday

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From the City:


Mayor Taveras Announces Return of Free Holiday Parking

City offers two hours of free parking for shoppers beginning November 28th

PROVIDENCE – To accommodate holiday shoppers and support local businesses during the busy holiday sales season, Mayor Taveras announced today that there will be two hours of free parking in designated commercial districts throughout Providence.

Shoppers will be offered two hours of free parking from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. beginning Friday, November 28, 2014 through Thursday, January 1, 2015 in the following commercial districts:

  • Atwells Avenue – Bradford Street to Knight Street
  • Broad Street – Public Street to Montgomery Street
  • Downtown Providence – bounded by Fountain Street, Memorial Boulevard, Weybosset Street, Empire Street and Friendship Street (from Dyer Street to Dorrance Street)
  • Hope Street – Rochambeau Avenue to Blackstone Boulevard
  • North Main Street – Thomas Street to Park Row
  • Olneyville Square – Route 10 to Sydney Street and Delaine Street to Atwood Street to Magnolia Street
  • South Main Street – James Street to Packet Street
  • Point St – From Eddy to East Franklin St
  • Thayer Street – Meeting Street to Bowen Street
  • Wayland Square – East Angell Street/Angell Street to Gano Street and Wayland Avenue from Angell Street to Pitman Street
  • Wickenden/Ives – Wickenden Street at Benefit Street to Ives Street at Preston Street

The holiday parking program is designed to make it easier for shoppers to patronize local businesses. The two-hour parking limit will be strictly enforced by parking enforcement officers. Cars parked illegally in prohibited areas, including crosswalks and tow zones, will be ticketed during this period.


So no excuse not to Buy Local this holiday season.

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Providence Rink opens Saturday, November 15, 2014

skating-center

From the City of Providence:


The Providence Rink Opens Saturday, November 15th for the 2014-2015 Season

The Providence Rink will be open for ice skating season starting on Saturday, November 15th at 10:00am. Regular hours of operation during the week are Monday through Friday, 10am until 10pm and new hours for Saturdays and Sundays are 10am until 10pm. The Rink is open on all winter holidays.

General admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors, $4 for children (12 and under), and $4 for military. Skate rentals are $5 and skate sharpening is $7. Season passes are available and priced as $90 for an adult, $200 family of four, $50 children and seniors. Special rates are available for birthday parties, school groups, business and social groups, and for full ice rental for private events. Visit www.providencerink.com for details and to make your reservations.

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