Tag Archives | Historic Buildings

ProJo: Redeveloped Jewelry District building will include 57 apartments, restaurant space


Image from Google Streetview

Work will begin soon on the redevelopment of an historic Jewelry District building into 57 apartments and ground-floor restaurant space, and the new owners hope to have the building reopened by the end of 2016.


[Brian] Poitras [president of Waldorf Capital Management LLC] said architects Martha Werenfels and Ed Cifune of Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels are leading the design project. He said the building will include a restaurant space and some common areas on the ground level and apartments on all six floors.


City Plan Commission Meeting – November 17, 2015 – RI Hospital proposal to raze South West Pavilion building

City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

cpc-roundOpening Session

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

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3398 – 04-316 Branch Ave (Zone Change) – The petitioner is requesting that the properties at 304-316 Branch Ave and 19 Metcalf Street be rezoned from from C-1 to C-2. Continued from October 20 meeting – for action (Charles, AP 71 Lot 563 and AP 74 Lots 1, 3, 8, and 9)

Institutional Master Plan


Image from Providence Preservation Society

2. Rhode Island Hospital Institutional Master Plan Amendment – Presentation of amendment to Rhode Island Hospital’s Institutional Master Plan – for action (Upper South Providence)

From the Masterplan Amendment:

In our 2006 and 2011 Institutional Master Plans, we identified our South West Pavilion building as having effectively outlived its useful life as part of our camp us. After extensive study, and after holdin g a neighborhood meeting to discuss it, we have conclud ed we need to raze the building. We are the refore seeking to amend our approved 2011 IMP to allow for the removal of the South West Pavilion.

The South West Pavilion was constructed in 1900 and is one of the oldest remaining portions of the hospital complex.



Because Pawtucket doesn’t have enough parking


From The Valley Breeze, prepare for brain explosion:

Two old buildings that are part of the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District will be leveled to make way for parking.

The 1921 Adams Furniture building, at 65 East Ave., and the 1902 former Pawtucket Boys Club, at 53 East Ave., are both expected to be demolished to make room for a new parking lot for the Blackstone Valley Community Health Care.

Because you know what makes for a healthy community? Lots and lots of surface parking.

I can’t even.


Providence Preservation Society announces 2014 Historic Preservation Awards winners


Johnson & Wales University, Center for Physician Assistant Studies. Photo by Heidi Gumula for DBVW Architects from PPS

Celebrating Preservation in Providence

PPS 2014 Historic Preservation Awards

On Friday, November 7, 2014 the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) will recognize the recipients of the 2014 Historic Preservation Awards. The PPS Historic Preservation Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have maintained and enhanced the architectural heritage of Providence through preservation projects and new design. Eight preservation projects located throughout Providence will receive awards.

In addition to those projects receiving awards, PPS is honoring an individual whose vision for preservation transformed the Brown and Sharpe Company manufacturing complex into a thriving mixed use development. The late Antonio Guerra, who passed away on October 11, will receive a posthumous Community Preservation Award. Mr. Guerra purchased the complex shortly after Brown and Sharpe moved out in the 1960s, redeveloping the site’s many industrial buildings into The Foundry Corporate Office Center and Promenade Apartments. Mr. Guerra was previously recognized in the Providence Preservation Society’s 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame in 2006.

The PPS Historic Preservation Awards ceremony will take place on Friday, November 7, at 4:00pm on the first floor of the Industrial Trust Building, 111 Westminster Street, Providence. The Awards are being held in coordination with PPS’ Providence Symposium, Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience, November 6-8. To register, visit Tickets for the awards ceremony and reception are free, but advance registration is required.

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ProJo: Paul Graseck: City Council still has time to save Pawtucket landmark


A recent controversy instigated by the Pawtucket City Council betrays a shortsightedness that runs counter to the city’s effort to revitalize its downtown. City council members have proposed removing the leaky tower that rises above City Hall instead of repairing it.

Taking down the tower — a 1933 Art Deco landmark that decorates the building in which the mayor’s office is housed, a structure on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983 — would be a serious error in judgment, proof that the council members entrusted with the responsibility to promote and enhance Pawtucket have neither instinct for how to jump-start the local economy nor vision of what the city can become.

I’d contribute to a “Save the Pawtucket City Hall Tower” Kickstarter.


The New York Times: Historic Power Plant in Providence, R.I., May Get Another Chance at an Encore

The New York Times reports that Brown University may be interested in redeveloping the South Street Power Station, better known as the location of the stalled “Dynamo House” project.

According to James S. Bennett, director of economic development for Providence, “serious” possible tenants have looked at the building in recent months, though he declined to say who they were. Sources knowledgeable about the site said that Brown University might be interested since Dynamo House is in the city’s Jewelry District, where Brown has expanded in recent years.

Mr. Bennett said the city had made finding a new use for the building a priority, and would not consider the alternative: “It’s not going to be torn down,” he said.

See also:
Greater City Providence: What’s going on with the Dynamo House?
Via: Nesi’s Notes

Providence’s Heaton & Cowing Mill added to the National Register

Heaton & Cowing Mill

The state Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission announced yesterday that the Heaton & Cowing Mill located at 1115 Douglas Avenue has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Read information from the Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission about the mill and the designation below:

One of Providence’s ealiest factories, The Heaton & Cowing Mill listed on the National Register

A Providence mill built in 1832 has received federal recognition for its contributions to the history of industry. Edward F. Sanderson, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, announced that the National Park Service has added the Heaton & Cowing Mill to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the Federal Government’s official list of properties throughout the United States whose historical and architectural significance makes them worthy of preservation. Built for the manufacture of textiles, the Heaton & Cowing Mill is a rare representative of the small-scale textile factories that utilized the water power of Rhode Island’s smaller rivers and streams in the first half of the 19th century.

Located at 1115 Douglas Avenue in Providence near the North Providence line, the Heaton & Cowing Mill is a small, two-story factory built in 1832 with an addition built between 1926 and 1937. The primary block is a coursed rubblestone masonry structure with a shallow end-gable roof. The brick trim—quoins and rusticated window and door surrounds—probably date to a rebuilding project following a fire in 1861. The original building has a generally open plan with timber framing, typical of mid-19th century mill construction.

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Videos of Irene flooding

While many Rhode Islanders were out of power for up to a week, we escaped from the worst of Irene’s wrath.

Vermont was devestated by flooding related to the storm. In this video a 141 year-old covered bridge in Lower Bartonsville is swept away by flood waters.

This covered bridge built in 1870 could not survive the raging water of the Williams River in Lower Bartonsville village in the town of Rockingham, Windham County, VT. We were hoping all day the water would not reach the top of the abutment but the bridge lost its battle rather gracefully as it floated a bit down stream before breaking into pieces.

Our town has set up a fund to rebuild our historic bridge.

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Application to demolish Atlas and Sheppard’s Warehouses

Atlas & Sheppard's Warehouses on Allens Avenue in Providence

Image from Google Street View

From this afternoon’s Providence Historic District Commission agendapdf:

Project Review

1. CASE 11.070 • 338-350 ALLENS AVENUE – Terminal Warehouse Buildings (ICBD)
The applicant is requesting the demolition of the existing Atlas & Sheppard’s buildings. (PUBLIC HEARING)

Providence Historic District Commission Meeting
Monday, August 22, 2011 • 4:45 PM
Department of Planning and Development, 1st Floor Conference Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903


Community Works Rhode Island to renovate Broadway’s historic “Wedding Cake House”

Community Works Rhode Island has acquired a significant historic residence at 514 Broadway, to be renovated as five affordable condominium units.

January 24, 2011, Providence, RI – Community Works Rhode Island (CWRI) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the architecturally significant building at 514 Broadway in Providence, RI. CWRI will renovate this neglected and foreclosed property into five condominium units that will be set at a price that is affordable to income qualified buyers.

Carrie Marsh, Executive Director of CWRI said “CWRI is thrilled with the opportunity to acquire 514 Broadway, a significant property which retains its beauty, dignity and grace despite decades of neglect. It is a building that captures the interest of many people who wonder at its past and envision its potential. The federal and city funding allocated to this project will allow CWRI to save this foreclosed property and renovate it into bright, beautiful and energy-efficient living spaces, to be sold to homeowners at an affordable level. This project is a key piece of the ongoing transformation of Broadway as a vital main street of the West Side neighborhood.”

The property is believed to have been originally built in 1857, in a very elaborate Italianate Style. The house is often referred to colloquially as the “Wedding Cake House” with its “gingerbread” style of architectural detail. It is graced with a mansard roof, oversized “sunburst” gables, and an ornate tower that provides sweeping views of the city. This building is located in the Broadway Local Historic District, as well as the Broadway-Armory National Register District. CWRI will work with the Providence Revolving Fund as its consultant on the historic preservation.

The property has been in a state of neglect and abandonment for several decades, and was recently foreclosed on. CWRI is grateful to Chace Ruttenberg & Freedman, as well as the Law Offices of Ronald C. Markoff, for legal assistance in acquiring this significant property.

Clark Schoettle, Executive Director of the Providence Revolving Fund said “This is one of the most important buildings in the Broadway-Armory National Register District and it has been seriously threatened for decades by deterioration. It is wonderful that Community Works has purchased the building and will save it from the wrecking ball. This is a difficult project which Community Works is well equipped to handle, given its past experience with similar properties.”

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Providence Preservation Society Annual Meeting and Preservation Lecture (Jan. 20)

Providence Preservation Society

Annual Meeting and Preservation Lecture
featuring Kennedy Lawson Smith former Director, National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Program

The Providence Preservation Society is proud to announce its 53rd Annual Meeting will be held on January 20, 2011 at 5:30pm at Grace Episcopal Church, 175 Mathewson Street, in Downtown Providence, at the corner of Mathewson and Westminster Streets. Each year the Preservation Society invites a prominent speaker to highlight a preservation issue that is pertinent to Providence; this year, PPS is pleased to welcome Kennedy Lawson Smith, former Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Program. She will bring her experience and expertise to bear in an engaging lecture, “The Road Ahead: Main Street & the Economics of Downtown.”

Kennedy Lawson Smith is one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and development, independent main street businesses, and economically and environmentally sound community development. She joined the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center in 1985, and in 1991 she became its director, a position she held for 13 years. During her tenure, the Main Street program was widely recognized as one of the most successful economic development programs in the U.S., expanding to a nationwide network of almost 2,000 towns and cities. Click here for more information on Ms. Smith.

At the event, PPS will present the Volunteer of the Year Award, recognizing an individual for exceptional dedication to the projects and programs of the Society; the President’s Award, which honors an individual who has contributed significantly to the Society’s endeavors for an extended period of time; and for the first time, the Community Preservationist Award, saluting an individual who has contributed to the civic life of Providence through support of Historic Preservation. A reception will follow the meeting, giving attendees a chance to meet Ms. Smith and PPS trustees and staff. Grace Church has graciously offered a tour of their historic stained glass windows, a prominent feature of this landmark church designed by the American architect Richard Upjohn.

This event is free and open to the public.


PBN: RISD students re-imagine the Arcade

The Providence Business News ran this story the other day about students in RISD’s Architecture Department who presented design proposals for the vacant Arcade to the building’s owner, Evan Granoff.

Without having the proposals to look at, I didn’t really think there was much to talk about and just threw a link to the story up on our Facebook page. Perhaps after the winter break, I’ll contact RISD and see if we can get a look at what the student’s proposed. But in the meantime, I figure, what the heck, if people are bored over the holiday, here’s something to discuss.

PBN reports on the student project:

RISD professor Friedrich St.Florian said the proposals ranged from hotels to building a spa on the third floor, and restoring retail and restaurants to the ground level. All the proposals keep the more than 182-year-old Arcade as the hub of the development and the main entrance. The students also incorporated the lots on either side of the Arcade, including the one with the façade of the Providence National Bank Building.

Granoff told the PBN that the proposals were impressive, but not economically feasible (I have to wonder if economic feasibility was not part of the student’s design brief, or if Granoff is just being obstinate). The PBN article concludes that Granoff is working on a plan to reuse the building (which keeps it intact) and details of that plan should be revealed “early next year.”

Breath is not being held.

One of our readers forwarded his idea of how the building should be used:

My (rudimentary) idea ever since Granoff closed it.

  • Ground floor = small scale food concession/retail
  • 2nd floor = small office spaces or office condos -or- larger footprint sit-down restaurants
  • 3rd floor = 1-2 large commercial tenant(s) or mix of sit-down restaurants and commercial tenants

Providence would be wise to make this our version of Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market…

For some holiday weekend discussion, what would you like to see happen with the Arcade?


Historic District Commission Meeting, Dec. 6 – Proposed demolition of 95 Hartford Avenue

Notice of Regular Meeting
MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2010 – 4:45 PM
Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Auditorium
400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Public Hearing

  • Call to Order & Roll Call

1. Case 10.164 – 0 Manton Avenue/95 Hartford Avenue (ICBD)
The applicant will give a presentation on the demolition proposal for the building. Public comment will be taken.


Public Meeting

  • Call to Order & Roll Call

Executive Session (RIGL 42-46-5(A) (2))

1. Discussion with legal counsel regarding pending litigation:
Bank of America, N.A. v. MLG Properties, Inc., P.B. No. 10-2487

Project Review

2. Case 10.164 – 0 Manton Avenue/95 Hartford Avenue (ICBD)
The applicant is requesting the demolition of the existing building.

3. Case 10.170 – 238 Adelaide Avenue (South Elmwood)
The applicant is requesting the removal of the existing slate roof and the installation of an imitation slate roof.

4. Case 10.130 – 126-128 Congdon Street – House, c.1908 (College Hill)
The applicant is requesting the approval for the installation of replacement windows. This item is continued from the October 25th meeting.

Preliminary Application

5. 96 Bowen Street (College Hill)
The owner will appear to discuss replacement windows at the property.

Other Business

  • Approval of 2011 Meeting Schedule
  • Election of Vice-Chair, Deputy Vice-Chair



News & Notes

The Providence Journal: Endangered properties

Really ProJo? Really!? You’re running a list of the Providence Preservation Society’s 10 Most Endangered Buildings and not anywhere in the piece mentioning that you requested and were given permission to tear one down, making it now the list of 9 Most Endangered Properties?

Way to do some reporting there.

StreetsBlog: “Forgiving” Distracted Driving Won’t Keep Our Streets Safe

Over at the National Journal’s transportation experts blog, Greg Cohen, president of the American Highway Users Alliance, wasn’t convinced that enforcement and driver responsibility are the answer. Writing that “we should admit that we all get distracted sometimes” and “enforced legislation and education can only go so far,” Cohen argued that engineering cars and roads to be more “forgiving” of driver inattention and carelessness is the way to go.


The Urban Times: 1970s Space Colony Art by NASA

Rhode Island Secretary of State: Register to Vote

Saturday, October 2nd is the deadline to register to vote in the General Election. I’m sure everyone is already registered because you voted in the Primary right? Well, just in case, you have until Saturday.

Chicago Business: After Daley’s retirement, Chicago needs a new approach

What Chicago really needs now is fewer ideas and orders from the top and more proposals and initiatives from the bottom. In the same way that this city’s economy is much better at applying than innovating, its political culture needs to be opened up so that new, better policies can be implemented.

:cut: Chicago :paste: Providence

Human Transit: the perils of average density

Sustainability advocates want higher urban densities for a range of reasons, but viability of public transit is certainly one of them. Meanwhile, advocates of car-dominance want to argue that existing low densities are a fact of life; since transit needs high density, they say, there’s just no point in investing in transit for those areas, so it’s best to go on planning for the dominance of cars.

Mees calls on his fellow transit advocates to let go of the idea that good transit requires high densities.