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Tag Archives | Preservation

Providence Preservation Society Symposium – November 6-8, 2014

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The 2013-2014 Providence Symposium speaker series is cultivating an important dialogue on preservation, development and quality of place, with a specific focus on Downtown Providence. From open space to transportation, economic assets to partnerships, we explore the key components in the making of a great city.

The series brings national experts to Providence to talk about creating healthy and successful urban environments. Join us and take part in this critical conversation about our city.

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

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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.

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383 West Fountain Street Renovations

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Way, way, way back in 2005 in the UrbanPlanet days, Armory Revival had plans for a new building at this site. As with many things in the middle of the last decade, that didn’t happen. Fast forward to today though and Armory Revival is doing a nice renovation of the block.

From their website:

This quirky collection of one and two story brick industrial buildings is quietly being transformed into one of the busiest places in the city by The Armory Revival Company. The 40,000 square foot former Waterman Stables and Combination Ladder Company buildings, featuring fabulous skylights, exposed ductwork, wood beams, private entrances and flexible, efficient floor plates are being developed for a variety of office and commercial uses. Modest rents, abundant on-site parking and immediate access to Interstate 95, Downcity and the Hospitals make this Westminster Crossing location a fantastic choice for your business. 383 West Fountain Street is now home to the most successful Planet Fitness in New England and Riverwood Mental Health Services.

There’s a floorplan on the site which is a little hard to read as displayed, but you can get an idea of the building.

It is nice to see some action happening in what I like to call the Near West Side.

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Providence to Create New Historic Landmarks District

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Broad Street Synagogue from the Providence Preservation Society’s 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties list. Photo by Jesse Burke for PPS.

As part of the Re: Zoning process, the City of Providence has designated a new historic landmarks district. Also, the City will remove buildings which have been demolished form the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District; which begs the question, why is there and ICBD if buildings in it are getting demolished? From the City:


City of Providence to Create Historic Landmarks District to Preserve Properties

New designation protects historic properties outside boundaries of existing historic districts; residents should seek designation by August 11, 2014

Mayor Angel Taveras announced today the City of Providence will create a new Historic Landmarks District to strengthen its preservation efforts and as part of the city’s Zoning Ordinance revision.

“We are working creatively to preserve Providence’s historic architecture,” said Mayor Taveras. “The new Providence Landmarks District will protect individual properties that having historic significance but that are not within local historic districts.”

The Providence Landmarks District will be composed primarily of residential and ecclesiastical buildings, function like other City historic districts, and include design review and demolition protections. The owners of these historic sites, such as those that have been recognized by the Providence Preservation Society, can ask that their property be designated as a Providence Landmark and request their building be included in the new district. Property owners interested in having their building designated should contact the Department of Planning and Development before August 11, 2014.

In addition to creating the Landmarks District, the City is modifying two of its existing historic districts: the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District and the Jewelry Local Historic District. Changes include adding about 30 properties to the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District, removing properties that have been demolished, and removing overlapping jurisdiction with the Downtown Design Review Committee in Downtown.

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PPS: Save Rhode Island’s Historic Tax Credits

The R.I. House Finance Committee did not include historic tax credits in the proposed budget fr next year. The Providence Presevation Society has issued the following call to action:


Act Now to Save Rhode Island’s Historic Tax Credits!

pps-logoLast year, the State Historic Tax Credit Program was reinstated, and 26 new projects are underway – including the rehab of the Tirocchi House on Broadway and the George C. Arnold Building in Downtown Providence!

However, there are 27 additional projects throughout the state still waiting to receive credits. Without funding for Historic Tax Credits, most of these projects will not happen. This would mean the loss of nearly $160 million in construction activity, an investment of jobs and revenue which our economy desperately needs. Rhode Island’s Historic Tax Credit program has an excellent track record. From 2002 to 2008, it generated $1.3 billion in new private investment in Rhode Island’s real-estate economy. This resulted in 22,000 construction jobs, 6,000 permanent jobs, and total wages of more than $800 million.

Last week, the House Finance Committee declined to recommend funding for this program. The House will take up the budget this week; only a groundswell of voices from around the state will convince representatives to include Historic Tax Credits in the budget. Time is short – immediate advocacy is needed.

PPS supports Preserve Rhode Island’s efforts to restore the State Historic Tax Credit. Contact your Representative in General Assembly to ask them to urge the Speaker of the House, Nicholas A. Matiello, and the Chairman of the House Finance Committee, Raymond E. Gallison, to pass a budget that includes funding for Historic Tax Credits. Email or call your Representative before Wednesday, June 11th (they are expected to act on the budget on Thursday).

We also urge you to contact Speaker Matiello’s office directly:

Nicholas Matiello
Speaker
House of Representatives
State House, Room 323
Providence, RI 02903
401-222-2466 • Rep-mattiello@rilin.state.ri.us

Lynne Urbani
Director, Office of House Policy
Room B43, State House
Providence, RI 02903
401-258-1760 • lurbani@rilin.state.ri.us


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PPS/WBNA: State cancels funding for Cranston Street Armory repairs

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Cranston Street Armory. Photo (cc) Sam Teigan

Reported by the Providence Preservation Society and the WBNA:


The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) announced last week that the State has pulled $3 million allocated for critical exterior repairs to the Cranston Street Armory.

Built in 1907, this magnificent building was designed as a focal point around which much of the West End of Providence was developed. The Armory has been on the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List five times over the last twenty years, and the State funds to repair the Dexter Street tower are essential to maintaining the integrity of this landmark building. According to the WBNA, work was scheduled to begin last week, and a contractor had already been hired by the State (owner of the building).

From the WBNA:

This building has the potential to be a significant economic development generator for the state of Rhode Island (and the neighborhood) but only if repairs are made to it. The plans are prepared, the project was bid and the contractor hired. It makes no sense to stop the project now when all the planning work is done. Your ACTIONS could make the difference and please ask your neighbors to also act for this castle for the people.

Please help WBNA and PPS advocate for Cranston Street Armory by sending an email to the officials listed below urging them to reinstate the funds for the exterior repair to the Armory.

  • Governor Lincoln Chafee – (401) 222-2080 governor@governor.ri.gov
  • Special Projects Coordinator Jonathan Stevens – (401) 222-2080 jonathan.stevens@governor.ri.gov
  • Director of Administration, Richard Licht – (401)-222-2000 richard.licht@doa.ri.gov
  • Speaker Nicholas Mattiello – rep-mattiello@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Senate President M. Theresa Paiva-Weed – sen-paivaweed@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Senator Paul V. Jabour, Senate District 5 401-276-5594 sen-jabour@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Senator Harold Metts, Senate District 6 401-276-5561 sen-metts@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Senator Juan Pichardo, Senate District 2 401-276-5561 sen-pichardo@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Representative John J. Lombardi, House District 8 401-453-3900 rep-lombardi@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Representative Scott A. Slater, House District 10 401-222-4433 Rep-slater@rilin.state.ri.us
  • Representative Anastasia Williams, House District 9 401-222-2457 rep-williams@rilin.state.ri.us
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UPDATED: WPRI: RI moves ahead on $206M nursing school project

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. Board of Education on Monday unanimously signed off on a proposed 15-year lease for the state’s two nursing schools to move into a new joint facility that would be built inside the decaying former South Street Power Station in partnership with Brown University.

The $206-million project, unveiled last year by developer Dick Galvin of CV Properties LLC, would redevelop the former power plant along the Providence River and adjoining property into academic space for the state; office space for Brown; student apartments; and a parking garage.

The parking garage and student housing would be in new buildings built on adjacent parking lots.

May 15, 2014: Press release from the Mayor’s Office

Taveras Administration Proposes South Street Landing Agreements Requiring Tax-Exempt Institutions to Pay Taxes

Development of former power station viewed as significant opportunity to expand city’s tax base, create jobs, spur economic growth in Knowledge District.

The tax-exempt tenants of the proposed South Street Landing development project will pay taxes to the City of Providence under agreements proposed by the administration of Mayor Angel Taveras.

“South Street Landing is a once-in-a-generation economic development opportunity for our Capital City,” said Mayor Taveras. “The project promises to expand Providence’s tax base and increase tax revenues, create construction jobs and permanent jobs, help jumpstart development in the Knowledge District, improve public access and recreation along our waterfront and assure the preservation of an iconic building in our city.”

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UPDATED: PPS: General Electric Base Plant Demolition Proposal

ge-plant

Image from Bing Maps

Update 4pm: The demolition has been approved on a technicality, we’re waiting on PPS to issue a statement and will post it when they do.
This post originally appeared on the Providence Preservation Society’s website. Reposted with permission.
Now I’m being told this afternoon’s meeting is canceled.

A special meeting of the Providence Historic District Commission will be held on Monday, May 5, at 4:15 pm at 444 Westminster to vote on a demolition application for the General Electric Base Plant complex at 586 Atwells Avenue. Built c. 1916, the GE Base Plant stands as a fine expression of post-World War I industrial architecture, and according to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission the plant was once the largest producer of lamp bases in the world – employing 500 people at the Atwells Avenue site.

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PPS “Yesterday’s News” – April 3, 2014

lennonSheila Lennon, author of the Providence Journal’s Time Lapse Blog will explore unique and revealing historic images from the Providence Journal’s archives that highlight extraordinary cases of urban renewal and landscape change throughout Rhode Island. An editor at The Providence Journal for nearly 30 years, the last 15 of them on the Web site, Sheila was the Journal’s first blogger. A native and nearly lifelong Providence resident, she studied American history at both Wellesley College and Brown Graduate School. Co-presented by the Governor

Henry Lippitt House Museum
5:30pm reception, 6:00pm presentation
Governor Henry Lippitt House • 199 Hope Street
Free for PPS & PRI members, $10 for non-members. Members can register by emailing info@ppsri.org.
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News & Notes

armadillos2

Image from Cyclehoop

Fast Company: These Recycled Plastic Dividers Can Create A Bike Lane In A Second

Painted bike lanes are safer for cyclists than riding in the middle of the road, but bike lanes that are separated with a curb are even better. For example, one study found that cyclists in separated lanes had 80% fewer accidents than those in regular bike lanes. But it’s often tricky to convince city governments to take the extra, more concrete step of separation. One product from a U.K. design firm aims to help.

The “Armadillo” is a low-slung recycled plastic bump that can be installed along the edge of a bike lane. Set at an angle, the bumps allow enough space for bikes to ride back out into the street if they need to, something that isn’t as easy with a full concrete curb. But it still keeps cars out.


Mashable: London to Test ‘Smart’ Crosswalks

The system, called Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) uses cameras to figure out how many people are waiting to cross the street and adjusts traffic signals accordingly. So if there is a large crowd waiting, for example, the signal to walk will last longer, giving the crowd more time to cross the street.

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R.I. Statewide Historic Preservation Conference – April 26, 2014

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Pride in Preservation: 29th Annual R.I. Statewide Historic Preservation Conference on Saturday, April 26 in Warren

The 29th Annual Rhode Island Statewide Preservation Conference will take place in Warren on Saturday, April 26. Organized by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), the conference considers the theme of “Pride in Preservation.” As statewide leaders and mom-and-pop shopkeepers urge Rhode Islanders to take pride in the local and homegrown, preservationists respond by taking pride in local places and working to reuse, restore, and interpret.

The town of Warren is the host for this year’s conference. The surest way to measure Warren’s pride in preservation is to take a walking tour of the storefronts on Main Street, the wharves along Water Street, the artists’ studios in old mills, and the houses, churches, and other distinctive buildings in the historic district. Other conference tours will venture by bike, bus, and boat to Warren’s more distant corners as well as to neighboring Barrington, East Providence, and Bristol. Panel presentations will discuss putting pride to work for effective advocacy on behalf of preservation tax credits, pedestrian-friendly design, community preservation education, and Warren’s working waterfront. Other sessions will feature historic cemetery landscapes, the archaeology and early history of the region, and social media.

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WPRI: ‘Superman’ building again seeks state support

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Superman Building banking hall. Image by Jef Nickerson

The owner of Providence’s tallest building said Monday he will again seek state support to help turn the vacant skyscraper into apartments.

David Sweetser, whose real estate investment firm High Rock Development owns 111 Westminster Street, is calling for a “public-private partnership” to renovate the building that he claims would create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.

- WPRI
Full Disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates who are consultants for High Rock Development.
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ProJo: R.I. agency opens bids for Cranston Street Armory repairs

armory-flickr

Photo (cc) Tom Bastin

The R.I. Division of Purchases received six bids Friday from companies seeking to undertake rehabilitation work on the Cranston Street Armory on the city’s West Side.

[…]

[Lincoln D. Chafee] called for the renovation of the historic, 165,000-square-foot, building and the relocation there of certain state agencies from leased properties.

But seriously, where will everyone park?

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Providence Preservation Society 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties

The Providence Preservation Society has released its annual list of the Ten Most Endangered Properties in Providence. The list will be highlighted with a photo exhibit at their annual meeting tonight.


The List:

57_FEDERAL_STREET_FINAL

All photos by Jesse Burke for PPS.

57 Federal Street (Early 19th Century) Federal Hill
PPS Most Endangered: 2014 Building type: Residential
Threat: Neglect

Among the oldest buildings on Federal Hill, 57 Federal Street is a two story, 5-bay-facade, center hall-plan house with a single interior brick chimney and a central entrance with sidelights, located between Atwells Avenue and Broadway. While Federal- era houses of this style are not uncommon on the East Side of Providence, the Federal Hill neighborhood was largely undeveloped grazing land before 1820. Although 57 Federal Street is likely one of the oldest remaining buildings in the immediate area, it is not included on any historic resource survey, and is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While the existing door head may be a modern replacement, several of the building’s details remain remarkably intact including the building’s clapboards and window sash. Unfortunately, the house has been abandoned for several years, with broken windows on the second story leaving the building completely open to the elements.

In the coming year PPS hopes to better document this unique building, and work with the City of Providence to fully secure the building and address maintenance and safety issues.

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The Providence Preservation Society’s 56th Annual Meeting featuring Jennifer Bradley – January 23, 2014

Brookings Institution Fellow and Co-Author of The Metropolitan Revolution JENNIFER BRADLEY to Speak at PPS’ 56th Annual Meeting

Second in PPS’ Yearlong Speaker Series entitled Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience 2014 Ten Most Endangered Properties List Announced

jennifer-bradleyThe Providence Preservation Society welcomes Jennifer Bradley, fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, to their 56th Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2014, 5:30 pm, at Brown University’s Salomon Center. The event is also the second installment of PPS’ yearlong speaker series entitled Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience, featuring dynamic urban leaders and experts on topics including government and development, open space and public land, and transportation. Ms. Bradley will speak to the context of her book, co-written with Bruce Katz, on how cities and metros are fixing our broken politics and fragile economy.

The Metropolitan Revolution is a thought-leading book on the shift back to our nation’s urban cores. Jennifer Bradley, along with her co-author Bruce Katz, is leading the dialogue on how cities can flourish and ultimately be the drivers for the next economy,” stated Brent Runyon, Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society. “The Providence Preservation Society has long contributed to the economic vitality of Rhode Island through its work in the capital city, preserving our important past while being a partner in the city’s growth. We are excited to have Ms. Bradley with us to share examples from other cities as our second speaker in the Not Always Easy: Building the New Urban Experience series, and as we turn the page to another year of preservation in Providence.”

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News & Notes

Christmas Tree & Ice Rink

Campus Martius in Detroit – Photo (cc) Per Verdonk

The New York Times: Small-Scale Developers, Big Dreams

These activist microdevelopers are different from the slumlords and absentee owners who buy properties in bulk, rent them to vulnerable communities and spend nothing on refurbishment or services, compounding Buffalo’s woes.

Recently, Mr. Abell, who grew up in Buffalo but left after high school, recalled what brought him home a few years ago and has kept him enthralled. “What’s drawn me in deeper,” he said, “is the D.I.Y., roll-up-your-sleeves community-building ethos that has taken over the entire city. Everyone has three charities they’re working on. I’ve never seen a group of people who give more of themselves.”


Project for Public Spaces: Detroiters Work: The Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Regeneration of a Great American City

Detroiters aren’t taking their city’s decline lying down—and a determinedly “can-do” attitude is driving everyone from individual activists to the community development groups, private investors, and philanthropic organizations that are reshaping the city. “Detroit is the type of city where you have to jump in and roll up your sleeves and do work,” says Community Development Advocates of Detroit Director Sarida Scott-Montgomery, a lifelong resident who will proudly tell you that she and her family chose to stay. “This is not an ‘easy’ city. But that, to me, has almost become an inherent part of being a Detroiter. Detroiters work. We are resilient.”


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ProJo: Providence Preservation Society hires new director

b-runyonThe Providence Preservation Society has hired a new executive director, Charles Brent Runyon, who will begin work in his new post on Nov. 11.

Runyon has been the executive director since 2005 of a nonprofit historic preservation organization in Georgia, Thomasville Landmarks Inc. He replaces James Brayton Hall, the society’s former director who left Providence in March to become deputy director of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. He will take over from the Society’s interim executive director, Karen L. Jessup, a local preservationist and former Society board member who took the reins after Hall’s departure.

Photo from the Providence Preservation Society

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