Categories

Tag Archives | Housing

→ WJAR: New apartments coming soon behind Garden City

garden-city

“It’s our belief that there is a movement out away from the big suburban house. People want to live in the heart of something where they can be a part of the community and where they have all the amenities and access to all the great things that are happening at Garden City,” said Jordan Durham of D+P Real Estate.

First, I think it is sad that Garden City can be described as having a ‘behind’. Great urban spaces shouldn’t have a front or back, they should be seemless. It is telling I suppose that Providence Place is also often descibed as having a ‘behind’ or ‘back’.

Second, as I said on Twitter the other day, I might pay a lot of money to ensure that I never had to go to Garden City ever again (I really cannot stand it there), of course I’m sure there are more than a few people who would say the same about Providence, so to each his own I suppose.

All that said, it is encouraging to see people putting real money into apartment living in the suburban sections of our urban core. This won’t be car-free urbanist living to be sure, the article describes the development as featuring underground parking with elevator access, but it will give people the option of dipping their toes into the environment of living closely with neighbors, the option to at least consider walking to Garden City to buy groceries or have dinner… a simulacrum of urban living. It is a start.

For more information on the development visit liveatgardencity.com.

3

News & Notes

IMG_8634.JPG

→ Bloomberg: Icahn Urges Family Dollar CEO to Seek Sale ‘Immediately’

The retailer has been struggling to compete with rival discounters, drugstores and big-box retailers such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. To combat slumping sales, Family Dollar embarked on a review of its business this year. As part of its turnaround plan, the company is closing about 370 underperforming stores and opening fewer new ones. It’s also lowering prices in a bid to entice shoppers.

‘Consistently Underperformed’

Family Dollar has “consistently underperformed its peers” in same-store sales, total revenue growth, sales per store, sales per square foot, operating margins and capital-structure efficiency, Icahn wrote in the letter, which opened by remarking on the “cordial nature” of the previous night’s discussion.

Meanwhile, in Providence we’re throwing out our zoning regulations to accomodate the “proven business model” of this “consistently underperforming” retailer. Olneyville risks ending up with an empty big box more craptacular than the building that was torn down to make way for it.

→ Providence Business News: Solomon proposes citywide 15-year tax stabilization plan

“I want to send a loud and clear message to the development community that Providence is open for business,” Solomon said in the news release. “If we don’t bring certainty to this process we are losing a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow our tax base, grow our population and create much needed jobs. I plan to reach out to the developers who have expressed frustration with the process to assure them my plan will remove the politics and uncertainty that has plagued this city for far too long.”

The new system would be based on recommendations issued earlier this year by an economic development task force formed by the city council partly in response to the continued vacancy of the Industrial Trust building.

Continue Reading →

0

→ PBN: Regency Plaza owners plan new addition to apartment complex

bing-regency

Image from Bing Maps

Richard Lappin, co-owner of Regency Plaza LLC and president of Lisco Development, said the new building would be either five or six stories, but declined to go into more detail because of the early stage of the project.

The owners are asking the City Plan Commission, at their meeting this evening, to abandon part of the width of Broadway (as well as the right turn lane from the Service Road) to make way for the project.

12

→ ProJo: Route 195 redevelopment panel hears pitch for life-science accelerator facility

195-land-aerial-ridot

ProJo gets some info about what took place in “Executive Sesion.”

A lawyer, a doctor and an architect met behind closed doors Monday night with the Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission and Governor Chafee to pitch their idea to build a life-sciences accelerator in Providence with laboratories and all the co-working space necessary for 15 to 20 nascent companies to work at any given time to build their companies.

They foresee health care, information technology and diagnostic medical companies working together on the former highway land now available for development, in a building on the western side of the Providence River. It would also have room for lawyers, venture-capital investors and others who work with such companies, the three told reporters after meeting with the commission.

0

Parking Lot-ification in Wanskuck

admiral-parking

At their May 28th meeting, the Zoning Board of Review will consider a proposal by Manni Realty and Admiral Smith Realty, LLC (owners of the building LaSalle Bakery on Admirial is in) to demolish three residential buildings for expanded parking said to support LaSalle Bakery.


MANNI REALTY, LLC, OWNER OF LOT 197 AND ADMIRAL SMITH REALTY, LLC, OWNER OF LOTS 198, 200 & 201: 685 Admiral Street (Lot 198, consisting of 8,184 square feet of land area), 697 Admiral Street (Lot 200, consisting of 3,100 square feet of land area), 782 River Avenue (Lot 197, consisting of 4,400 square feet of land area) and 85 Crandall Street (Lot 201, consisting of 3,600 square feet of land area) on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 79, Lot 198 is located in a Limited Commercial C-1 Zone and Lots 197, 200 & 201 are located in a Residential R-2 Two-Family Zone; filed an application requesting Use and Dimensional Variances pursuant to Section 200, seeking to demolish the existing residential structures on Lots 197, 200 & 201 and constructing two (2) parking areas to support the existing bakery located on Lot 198.

Continue Reading →

15

News & Notes

Kennedy Plaza

Two ProJo articles last weekend about Kennedy Plaza:

→ The Providence Journal: A View from Providence: Hangout or hub, Kennedy Plaza certainly is quirky

People get off buses. Others get on. Some stand in line, others stand around. They wear headphones and backpacks, some carry bags.
The plaza draws folks from all walks. Students. Workers. Homeless. Peddlers. Visitors.

→ The Providence Journal: Some argue that good parks and public spaces can revitalize RI economy

In Kennedy Plaza, bus and vehicle traffic compete with people wanting to use the park. There is too much hard surface; too few trees. There’s too much noise; too little to do.

“If you leave public spaces barren you get this blight,” Wood said. “You create a draw for all sorts of undesirable activity.”

Continue Reading →

0

Jane’s Walk – May 2-4, 2014

janes-walk-thumbOn May 2–4, Providence will participate in its second annual Jane’s Walk!

Jane’s Walk celebrates the ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods through free walking tours, led by locals. By walking together, communities engage in civic dialogue about what matters most in the places they live and work.

Last year, more than 800 walks were held in over 100 cities in 22 countries worldwide, including eight walks in neighborhoods around Providence, from downtown to the Jewelry District, Olneyville to Elmwood, College Hill to Smith Hill.

Anyone can lead a walk about almost any topic—all you need is a story, an interesting way of seeing the city, or hopes and concerns for your neighborhood. Just go to Janeswalk.org and click the “Create a Walk” button to get started.

I will be assisting with a walk on Saturday the 3rd. Do people live downtown? Yes. The walk leader is Steve Durkee, we will be meeting at noon at the Johnson & Wales Starbucks at the corner of Chestnut and Pine Streets. The walk will end at Grant’s Block where the Cinco de Mayo Block Party will be underway.
2

News & Notes

bikes-flickr

Photo (cc) Cristina Valencia

→ The Washington Post: Actually, cyclists make city streets safer

In the hysteria that predated the launch of New York’s bike-sharing system last year, many critics cried that the bikes would make the city’s streets less safe. All those cyclists wouldn’t be wearing helmets! They’d have no insurance! Accidents would skyrocket, and with them lawsuits against the city. Fatalities would triple!

The system’s safety record quickly turned out to be less sensational. But this was as bike advocates expected. Biking — as with walking — offers a prime example of the power of crowds. As more people bike and walk, cycling and pedestrian fatalities actually decline. That’s because the more people bike and walk, the more drivers become attuned to their presence (either on sidewalks or road shoulders), and the more cities are likely to invest in the kind of infrastructure explicitly meant to protect them (all of which further encourages more cyclists and pedestrians).


→ The Boston Globe: Boston’s parking solution is not more parking

Northeastern University professor Stephanie Pollack has studied gentrification around transit stops across the country, and she’s found that one of the biggest mistakes municipalities make is requiring too much parking. Pollack’s data show that, given the choice, residents will self-select: Heavy drivers choose to live in homes that provide parking, and residents who don’t own cars will choose transit-oriented, low-parking homes. This is especially true for renters. So the answer to an urban parking crunch isn’t adding supply. It’s recognizing that parking demand isn’t monolithic. Urban parking is a choice, and if Boston really does have too many cars already, the answer isn’t to build room for more.

Continue Reading →

0

→ ProJo: Reviving Olneyville: Providence plan seeks overhaul of public housing

atlantic-furniture

A strategy is being developed to give the low-income [Manton Heights housing] development an overhaul and link it to the rest of Olneyville — one of Providence’s poorest neighborhoods, but a community improving with a helping hand from residents, the city, business owners and nonprofit groups.

Called Build Olneyville, the ambitious plan calls for replacing the development’s buildings with contemporary housing and reconfiguring the layout so there are through streets and mixed-income families living side by side. They also want to double Manton Heights, create jobs and add community amenities for the whole neighborhood, including a new early learning center.

The goal is to inject Olneyville with $100 million — up to $30 million from a federal grant and the rest in public-private partnerships.

See also:

1

News & Notes

Electric car charging.

Electric car charging station in St. Petersburg, FL. Photo (cc) CityofStPete

→ Grist: States promise to sell one new EV for every 24 people by 2025

They’re starting to step up. Eight states that represent, according to the New York Times, “a quarter of the national car market” just announced they’re going to work together on creating a better system for drivers of electric vehicles. They are, in descending order of population size, California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and they say their goal is to help get 3.3 million new EVs sold by 2025. With a combined population of 79 million people, that means one EV for every 24 people.

How are they going to do it? By creating a system that will give EV owners something only gas-guzzling car drivers have now: certainty about where and when and how they’ll be able to fuel up.

I’m all for things that help improve the environment, but I’ve got to say, I’m a little sad that the environmental press is not being more thoughtful on this story. Reduced carbon emissions are wonderful, but it is not simply the carbon which is problematic, it is safety (for people inside and outside of cars) land-use, household budgets, and more. These are among the things states are supposed to do to encourage electric cars:

  • More charging stations
  • Building codes that require chargers at workplaces and “multifamily residences”
  • Reduced tolls
  • Better parking
  • Cheaper electricity prices

These are all things that encourage more driving; encouraging sprawl, paving land, putting pedestrians and cyclists in conflict with auto-traffic (I don’t think you’re any less dead after getting run over by an electric vehicle than you are getting run over by a gas powered one), and leaving individuals and families tied to the expense of a car (granted, made less so by reducing the costs of powering the vehicle).

Rhode Island seems quite proud of itself for being part of this group of states, but Rhode Island continues to poorly support alternatives to automobile use, namely mass transit and cycling infrastructure.

Continue Reading →

14

News & Notes

Bixi

Montreal’s bike share system, Bixi. Photo (cc) arcsi

→ CBC: Bixi to continue despite financial problems

A member of Montreal’s city executive committee says he cannot guarantee the municipal administration will put more money into Bixi if it requires financial assistance.

The bike-sharing program has struggled to make ends meet since it first hit Montreal streets in 2008.

Jean-François Lisée, the provincial minister responsible for Montreal, said Bixi was a valuable service and deserved to be helped out. He said the Quebec government is working on a $5-million bridge loan for the program.

See also: → The Atlantic Cities: In Paris, Thefts and Vandalism Could Force Bike-Share to Shrink


→ The Walking Bostonian: Car-free housing in Boston is natural

I feel strange explaining the concept of a market to someone as old as Tom Keane. The idea that residents could rent or purchase a parking space in a nearby garage should not be that difficult to grasp, and it’s not much different from the many other transactions which take place between residents and local businesses. For example, most apartment buildings are not constructed with grocery store requirements. However, most people seem to understand that when a resident wants a bottle of milk, they can walk down to a nearby store and buy one. We do not need to build “minimum grocery store requirements” into the zoning code because those products are handled perfectly well by normally operating markets. And parking spaces are no different. They are just one type of land use, among many, that can be purchased or leased on the real estate market.

Continue Reading →

0

Downtown Providence Living Tour – September 21, 2013

Downtown Providence Living Tour Showcases 9 Properties in the Heart of the City

Offering an Up Close and Exclusive Look at the City’s Newest Developments, including the Arcade Providence and Providence G

DLT-Postcard-Front_WebGet the inside view on downtown living! On Saturday, September 21st from 11 AM to 5 PM, The Providence Foundation and Downtown Providence Improvement District will host a Downtown Providence Living Tour showcasing downtown’s transformation into a desirable mixed-use district. Ranked by the real estate website Walk Score® as the most walkable neighborhood in the city and described as a “Walker’s Paradise,” downtown Providence offers residents access to restaurants, shops, cultural offerings, transportation options, and other amenities within a few blocks. The tour will feature nine properties in the downtown core, including The 903, Arcade Providence, Avalon at Center Place, The Promenade, Providence G, Regency Plaza, The Residences, Waterplace, and Westminster Lofts. The tour is self-guided, and people are encouraged to walk or bike from place to place, although shuttle service will also be provided.

Tour organizer Joelle Kanter, program manager for The Providence Foundation, says, “Whether people are considering a move into downtown Providence, or they simply want to preview city’s latest developments, we invite everyone to see how the neighborhood has noticeably evolved since our last tour in 2010.” In 2011 and 2012, 35 new retail businesses opened downtown, and this year, 10 have already opened. The quality and breadth of offerings are steadily improving, with new additions including popular eateries such as birch, Figidini, and UMelt.

Continue Reading →

1

News & Notes

Transportation Act Projects announcement

Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown announces improvement to Marc train Red Line by Brian K. Slack at Baltimore, MD. Photo (cc) Maryland Gov Pics.

→ The Baltimore Sun: O’Malley to announce $1.5 billion for Baltimore-area transportation projects

Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to announce $1.5 billion in new state funding for the Baltimore Red Line and more than a dozen other transportation projects in the area Wednesday, officials said, outlining for the first time how the state’s gas tax increase will be tapped to improve local infrastructure and mass transit here.

O’Malley also plans to discuss the state’s interest in attracting public-private partnerships to help fund the Red Line project, and a Dec. 7 start date for weekend MARC train service between Baltimore and Washington, which has never been offered before.

[Baltmore Mayor Stephanie] Rawlings-Blake said the new funding “says that the state is serious about being a partner with Baltimore” to improve connections between transportation options.

“They’re putting their money where their mouth is,” she said. “They’re recognizing that for the state to be strong, Baltimore has to be strong, and it has to be strong as a connected city.”


→ The Boston Globe: Menino pushes plan to boost housing

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is proposing to reach his ambitious goal of building 30,000 homes in Boston by allowing taller structures with smaller units, selling public land to developers at a discount, and using subsidies to spur development of more affordable housing, according to a blueprint to be released Monday.

Continue Reading →

0

PBN: City again tackles rezoning

Providence will try again this year to drag its zoning code into the 21st century.

Like many other communities across the country, Rhode Island’s capital hopes to remove barriers to urban growth within its 1950s-era, land-use regulations and this month begins a citywide public process to rewrite them.

The last time Providence tried a comprehensive zoning rewrite, in the midst of a building boom in 2005, the effort met community resistance and was drastically scaled back.

1