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Brown Daily Herald: Federal, state officials break ground on Dynamo project

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Rendering of student housing building along Point Street

Private sector leaders gathered with federal, state and municipal officials in a ceremony Monday to kick off renovations to the Jewelry District’s South Street Power Station, popularly known as the Dynamo House.

The revamp — expected to be complete by the fall of 2016 — will result in a nursing education center shared by Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, as well as graduate housing and administrative offices for the University.

Officials joked that this would be “the last groundbreaking at this particular site,” said Dick Galvin ’79, president and founder of Commonwealth Ventures Properties, poking fun at failed past projects that attempted to renovate the former power station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Prior to the actual groundbreaking, officials ranging from Galvin to Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’17 P’14 P’17 voiced their excitement about the project to a crowd of more than 200.

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The Commons at Providence Station – aka Capitol Cove Building B

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View from intersection of Smith and Canal Streets

Today the Capital Center Commission approved plans for a new building in Capital Center, the second phase of Capitol Cove, now dubbed, The Commons at Providence Station.

The developer described the building in a presentation to the Commission:

Phase II – The Commons at Providence Station

The first phase of Capitol Cove was the construction of Building A in 2005. The current phase is development of Building B on Parcel 6, and the project has been renamed to The Commons at Providence Station. The project will consist of 169 units of residential apartments, approximately 169 enclosed parking spaces, as well as amenity areas, leasing office, and community spaces.

Site
The site extends the established street grid and breaks down
the scale of the building into an appropriate size for the site. The site boundaries are Smith Street to the North, Canal Street along the East, and the existing Building A along the South edge of the site towards Park Row. The West elevation of the building faces the catenaries and rail line of the Amtrak/MBTA commuter rail lines.

The entry to the site will be along an existing road which runs parallel to Building A. The drive entry up to Building B will consist of a circular courtyard and will provide a drop-off area, entry into the garage (west side), and an area set aside for van or truck parking for building deliveries. This space will also accommodate moving trucks to allow for clearance of any vehicular or pedestrian traffic within the courtyard entry. The Riverwalk will connect from Building A up to Smith Street.

Design
The approved design has been maintained for the new project. The approach to newer, more efficient building materials and finish materials has been considered in the current design. The shape of the building and surrounding area remain true to the intent of the original design approved by the Committee in 2003.

Facade
The design incorporates architectural variety in the approach
to materials to allow for smaller, distinct architectural districts rather than a monolithic development. Materials used in Building A will be incorporated in Building B. The buildings will be finished in two tones of brick, metal panel accents, and exterior painted cementitious panel system.

Parking
Two levels of parking are planned. Level P1 will enter from the East at the entry courtyard. Level P2 will enter from Smith Street. Level P1 will connect the entry, amenity, and community spaces. Both Level P1 and P2 will include residential units along the Canal Street side.

Summary
Building B is a challeng ing use of the undeveloped area of Parcel 6 because of the close proximity to the Amtrak/commuter rail lines, which generate noise and feature prominent catenary lines. These detrimental features make this parcel especially difficult and costly to develop. Taking these challenges into consideration, the team seeks to address these issues with design solutions. The development will include a continuation of the Riverwalk from Building A, and complete the connection from Park Row West to Smith Street, allowing uninterrupted pedestrian access. The area along the Riverwalk will include landscaping similar to that on the adjacent sites. The building will be designed and built to follow LEED Design Guidelines and will seek to meet LEED Silver criteria at minimum.


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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

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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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News & Notes

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Eddy Street in Providence. Image from Google Street View.

CityLab: Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

Unfortunately, trained to expect this sort of behavior, highway engineers apply the same logic to the design of city streets, where people behave in an entirely different way. On city streets, most drivers ignore posted speed limits, and instead drive the speed at which they feel safe. That speed is set by the cues provided by the environment. Are there other cars near me? Is an intersection approaching? Can I see around that corner? Are there trees and buildings near the road? Are there people walking or biking nearby? And: How wide is my lane?

When lanes are built too wide, pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit.
All of these factors matter, and others, too. The simplest one to discuss, and probably the most impactful, is lane width. When lanes are built too wide, many bad things happen. In a sentence: pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit.

As with most other State and County road departments across the country, RIDOT mostly insists that all roads should strive for 12′ lanes and the Providence DPW does not much disagree.


BuzzFeed News: The Hidden Reason Why Rent Is So Expensive In Cities: Parking Spaces

While many factors contribute to drive up the price of rents, parking is among the most significant, according to University of California Los Angeles professor and renowned parking guru Donald Shoup. BuzzFeed News sat down with Shoup during the CityLab 2014 conference in Los Angeles Monday to talk about how parking makes housing more expensive. His point: “It’s unfair to have cities where parking is free for cars and housing is expensive for people.”


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News & Notes

One proposal to combat sea-level rise in Boston, convert Clarendon Street into a canal.

BostInno: 6 Visuals for How Boston Can Adapt to Rising Sea Levels

Though Boston has historically grown outwards into the ocean, with landfill expanding its boundaries over the decades, the threat of it being submerged back into the Atlantic is very real. Though the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has introduced numerous legislation in an attempt to curtail rising sea levels, as has the City of Boston, there needs to be a shift in thinking from how we can combat the effects of climate change to how we can adapt to them.

A new report published by the Urban Land Institute’s Boston/NewEngland branch makes a number of municipal design suggestions and reaffirms on several occasions that the time to act is now.

The study, called The Implications of Living With Water, examines four specified areas dangerously at-risk should Mother Nature decide to unleash her wrath in the form of a hurricane not unlike Sandy, which devastated the Eastern seaboard from New York City down to Florida.


BostInno: It’s Official: Allston Is Going to Get a New MBTA Station

Tuesday afternoon Governor Deval Patrick announced that previously derailed plans for West Station are back on. When West Station is complete, commuters will be able to make direct trips back and forth between Allston and Back Bay or South Station – without having to suffer the misery of the Green Line.

Harvard University will help pay for the new railroad station in Boston’s Allston neighborhood.

The MBTA has long range plans to do short run subway-like service on some of it’s commuter rail lines within areas in and close to Boston using smaller DMU trains.

If/when the MBTA moves ahead with plans for purchasing DMU’s, Rhode Island should be ready to get on board with them (sorry). DMU’s would be perfect for running higher frequency intra-state service in Rhode Island.


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Providence PARK(ing) DAY – September 19, 2014

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Union Studio‘s parklet last year. Photo by Rachel Playe

From Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects:


September 19, 2014 8:00am – 4:00pm

Come out and join us for the second annual PARK(ing) Day Providence!

This year, PARK(ing) Day Providence will have 32 parklets in Downtown, the West Side, and the East Side and a protected bike lane on Broadway. We can’t express our thanks enough to the Downtown Improvement District, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, the Department of Public Works, the City of Providence, and all of our amazing sponsors.

Check out the maps to plan your tour of the parklets on the 19th!

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UPDATED: City Plan Commission Meeting – September 16, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the August 19th meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3382 – Petition to abandon a portion of Stanhope Street – The applicant intends to abandon the portion of Stanhope Street adjacent to AP 97 Lot 12 to add to the area of the lot – for action (Charles)

The Orange Street abandonment has been removed from the CPC Agenda.

orange-street

Orange Street from Weybosset Street. Image from Google Street View

2. Referral 3384 – Petition to abandon a portion of Orange Street – The applicant intends to abandon the portion of Orange Street located between Weybosset and Middle Street and between AP 20 lots 131 and 135 – for action (Downtown)

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Capital Center Commission Meeting – September 10, 2014

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

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Image from Bing Maps

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Approval of Meeting Minutes of May 14, 2014 and June 11, 2014
  3. Ratification of Approvals
    Ratification of approvals from the June 11, 2014 CCC meeting
  4. Parcels 3E, 3W, 4E and 4W: Parking Lots
    Request for extension of interim parking lot approvals
    Presenter: Todd Turcotte, Capital Properties
  5. Report of the Chairman
    – Waterplace Park
    – Transit Infrastructure Bond Referendum
  6. Adjournment

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News & Notes

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Kansas City. (cc) Zach Werner

The New York Times: Millennials Going to Kansas City, to Live and Work

On one of the hottest days of the year in mid-July, Michael Knight, a real estate developer, made note of the torn-up street outside Commerce Tower, which opened in 1965 as this region’s first modern high-rise office structure with a glass curtain wall.

Workers were preparing the road for Kansas City’s $100 million streetcar starter line, which will begin running in 2015. It will include a stop right outside the 30-story office building, and the streetcar is one reason among many that the Commerce Tower Group, of which Mr. Knight is a partner, acquired the property just 70 days after he walked through it for the first time a year ago.

In October, the company plans to begin converting the 500,000-square-foot tower into a $90 million vertical city of residential and office space, and retailing and restaurants. The renovation will also include a Park University satellite location, which already operates in the building, and an early childhood school, among other amenities like a fitness center and a rooftop gathering spot.

I think it is cool that Knight Rider went into real estate.

The number of people living in the central business district has increased about 50 percent, to 20,000, since 2000, according to the Downtown Council of Kansas City. Apartment developers added more than 6,130 units from 2002 through 2012, and occupancy is above 95 percent, according to the Kansas City office of Cassidy Turley, a real estate brokerage firm.

Officials would like to see the current number of downtown residents double.

Officials in Providence seem to have no goals whatsoever about increasing the population in Providence, even with similar demand for downtown living as what is seen in Kansas City.


Governing: Do Cities Really Want Economic Development?

So many cities and regions continue to struggle economically. Even within nominally well-performing places there are pockets that have been left behind. Most of the have-nots in the current economy have been struggling for an extended period of time, often in spite of enormous efforts to bring positive change.

Why is this? Perhaps we need to consider the possibility that these places are getting exactly the results they want: Maybe they actually don’t want economic development.

Jane Jacobs took it even further. As she noted in The Economy of Cities, “Economic development, whenever and wherever it occurs, is profoundly subversive of the status quo.” And it isn’t hard to figure out that even in cities and states with serious problems, many people inside the system are benefiting from the status quo.

This is a something that I’ve been hearing more of around Providence lately; some feel that people in Rhode Island don’t actually want anyone to be successful, especially if those people are from away. I think of the General Assembly reading the Jacobs quote.


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City Plan Commission Meeting – August 19, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from June 29th meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

adrianhallway

Adrian Hall Way – Image from Google Street View

1. Referral 3381 – Petition to abandon Adrian Hall Way The applicant, Trinity Repertory Company, is requesting to abandon the entirety of Adrian Hall Way including AP 25 Lot 179 – for action (Downtown)

2. Referral 3382 – Petition to abandon a portion of Stanhope Street The applicant intends to abandon the portion of Stanhope Street adjacent to AP 97 Lot 12 to add to the area of the lot – for action (Charles)

Minor Subdivision

3. Case No. 14-027 MI – 345 Harris Ave The applicant is requesting to subdivide a lot at 345 Harris Ave measuring approximately 183,884 SF into two lots measuring 29,585 SF and 154,299 SF respectively – for action (AP 27 Lot 284, Valley)

Public Informational Meeting Major Land Development Project

4. Case No. 14-028MA – 345 Harris Ave (Master Plan Approval) The applicant is seeking master plan approval to develop the subdivided portion of the subject lot as a parking lot that will provide 86 parking spaces. Public comment will be taken – for action (AP 27 Lot 84, Olneyville)

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ProJo: R.I. convention authority to fund parking garage construction behind Garrahy courthouse

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The R.I. Convention Center Authority said Tuesday it will put up the $43 million needed to build a parking garage adjacent to the Garrahy Judicial Complex on Dorrance Street in downtown Providence.

“The transformation of the current surface parking lot represents a unique opportunity to addres current parking capacity deficiencies and provide a mechanism to promote economic development,” said James Bennett, the convention center authority’s chairman.

Bennett also serves as economic development chief for the City of Providence.


No word on a possible RIPTA hub in the article.

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195 Redevelopment District Commission Meetings – July 21 and 23, 2014

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014, beginning at 5 P.M., for the following purposes

I. Public Session

  1. Welcome by Chairperson: Chairperson Colin Kane.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on June 16, 2014 and June 30, 2014.
  3. Executive Director’s Report – Review of Activities During Past Month and Business Plan for the Period July – December 2014.
  4. Discussion Regarding the Request by Mr. Stephen Beranbaum for Use of a Portion of Parcel 28 for Parking and Vote.
  5. Update from Counsel Regarding District Permitting Process.
  6. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law), specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (5) (acquisition and disposition of public property).

  7. Review of Proposals to Purchase and Develop District Property.
  8. III. Public Session

  9. Chairman’s Report – Review of Activities in Past Month and Proposed Future Activities/ Tentative Agenda for August 18, 2014 Meeting.
  10. Vote to Adjourn.

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014, beginning at 5 P.M., for the following purposes

Call to Order

  1. Review and Approve Minutes of Meeting of July 9, 2014.
  2. East Side Park: Conceptual Discussion of overall impact and design.
    Fixed Attractions: historic markers, walkways, furniture, art, play.
    Materials and Plan.
  3. Connections to CityWALK, Harbor Walk parks, Point Street bridge, bicycle lanes.

  4. West Side Park: Conceptual Discussion of overall impact and design.
    Fixed Attractions: Water Feature, for Ship Street Triangle; furniture, art, play.
  5. Built Structure(s): program of uses, “look and feel.”

    Flexible Program Spaces: performances, seasonal sales, pushcarts, art, music, theater, temporary installations.

    Community involvement: school children, Children’s Museum, public water access.

    Connections to CityWALK, bicycles lanes, River Walk existing infrastructure and in connection with South Street Landing.

  6. Schedule and timeline in connection with DOT’s I-195 overall schedule.
  7. Vote to Adjourn.

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Sign-up for Providence Park(ing) Day

parking-day-thumbProvidence businesses and residents can now sign up to be part of Providence’s Second Annual Park(ing) Day, which this year falls Friday, September 19th.

Park(ing) Day will feature the state’s first ever temporary protected bike lane from Dean Street to Tobey on Broadway. We hope the temporary installation will start a conversation on permanent changes that can be made to our city streets to better support biking.

For more information, you can email parkingdaypvd@gmail.com or go to the Rhode Island ASLA website.

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Capital Center Commission Meeting – June 11, 2014

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

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R.I. Credit Union parking lot in Capital Center. Image Google Street View

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Approval of Meeting Minutes of May 14, 2014
  3. Parcel 1: Union Station Parking Lot
    Request for Extension of Parking Attendant Booth and Pylon Sign Approvals
  4. Parcel 15: RI Credit Union
    Request for Extension of Parking Approval
  5. FY 2015 Budget
  6. Adjournment

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GoLocal Providence: 195 Bidder Carpionato Failed to Redevelop Providence Fruit Market

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Former Fruit and Produce Warehouse (left) in March 2005 prior to demolition.

The Carpionato Group, who recently submitted a proposal to the 195 Commission to develop the former highway land, has to date not developed a previous acquisition of prime Providence real estate — the former historic Fruit and Produce Warehouse.

Following its purchase of the warehouse from the state — and controversial demolition of the historic property in 2008 — Carpionato, the Johnston-based commercial real estate firm, had presented plans to turn the former fruit market into a mixed used office, retail and hotel development, which have not materialized. The city granted Carpionato preliminary approval for a surface parking lot at the location in 2013.

See also:
Greater City Providence: ProJo outlines developer’s vision for east side 195 parcels
Greater City Providence: Fruit and Produce safety hazard
Greater City Providence: Yes, you can haz demo permit
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