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ProJo: Land of opportunity: Route 195 panel close to seeking developers’ proposals

195-land-aerial-ridot

Aerial image of the 195 redevelopment area from RIDOT

The “meds and eds” complex that Rhode Island’s political leaders envisioned when they formed the commission in 2011 may not be what’s in store for the prime real estate, commission Chairman Colin P. Kane and Executive Director Jan A. Brodie say.

The market will dictate what goes onto the land, they say.

They talk about “live, work and play” uses — residential development, restaurants, laboratories and hotels — that would attract employees for jobs in biotechnology, food science, design and other fields.

Nice to see them steering the discussion away from “meds and eds” as some sort of secret sauce that is gonna save Rhode Island.

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ProJo: Residential construction, office space eyed for Fox Point land

The existing 3-story building on the one-acre lot now houses Vanity Restaurant. That portion of the development will house commercial tenants with the existing 11,000-square-foot structure expanded to 40,000 square feet of commercial space. The residential portion of the project will be new construction that includes 52 one- and two-bedroom apartments, including two penthouse suites. It will also have a rooftop garden. There will be 170 parking spaces for tenants and visitors.

vanity

Image from Google Maps

This project was on the Downtown Design Review Committee agenda in September. The project is being called, Esplanade at India Point.

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Providence Piers Proposal

allens-ave

A couple weeks ago we linked to an article in the ProJo about a proposal to build a medical facility at Pat Conley’s Providence Piers. Today, PBN has a more fleshed out account of that plan.

Rhode Island Medical Arts proposes to build a $350-400 million development to include an acute care center with 250 beds, a hotel, a marina, a floating restaurant, retail, offices, a parking garage, and public walkways.

Currently of course, the area is not zoned for most of these uses. The City Council Ordinance Committee is hearing testimony on changing that however.

What do I think about all this? Well, as I said before, I rather think the uses proposed here would be better suited on land closer to the hospitals or in the Jewelry District. Certainly it would be advantageous to have a hotel in the Hospital District so that loved ones could stay close-by to the hospitals. We have a vast amount of land available for development elsewhere.

That said, I don’t outright oppose these proposed uses in this area either. I think we can find a way to balance the industrial activity currently found on Allens Avenue with other economic development.

Aside from the zoning question, the site also needs environmental remediation. It sounds like the developers are waiting on the state to get that done. Zoning changes, environmental clean-up, funding in this economy… I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the groundbreaking to happen here anytime soon.

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