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GC: Photos

Flickr totally changed the sharing function on their website, and frankly it sucks and causes me to have to rewrite a bunch of code to properly share people’s photos, and a bunch of great photographers who share in our group have changed their share settings; so I haven’t done a GC: Photos post in quite a while. But there’s some really great stuff in there, so I suffered through it. Some of these photos go back a while, hence the snow:

Photo © Donna St.Pierre

Photo © Anthony Nathan Photography

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Capital Center Commission Meeting, November 9

Capital Center Commission
Old Navy at Providence Place

Old Navy at Providence Place. Image from Google Street View

Meeting Notice
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 • 12:00 noon
Department of Planning and Development
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Meeting Room
Providence, RI 02903

AGENDA

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    • Acceptance of DRC meeting minutes of July 5, 2011 and June 14, 2011
    • Approval of Commission meeting minutes of September 14, 2011
  3. Parcel 13: Providence Place Proposal to modify Old Navy storefronts and install a new sign. Presenter: Doug Tailford
  4. Parcel 8: Gateway Center Proposal to install a new sign on the building for ‘Admirals Bank.’ Presenter: Nicholas Lazares
  5. Internal Operating Procedures: Application and Processing Fees Discussion of existing fees for Signage and Plan Amendments/Modifications
  6. Other Business
  7. Adjournment

Agenda [.pdf]

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What should go there? Providence Place Borders Edition

Borders Books at Providence Place

Image from Google Street View

Now that it is official, Borders will be liquidating all of their stores, it is time to play our favorite game; What Should Go There?

The Providence Place Borders will be closing down, creating a large hole in the retail environment at the mall. So, what should go there, Barnes & Noble would be an obvious pick, how about an arcade? Indoor roller derby? Reptile house? Russian sub?

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REBOOT: Providence Train Station

Schematic for a redesigned Providence Train Station area.

Click image to enlarge

REBOOT is an occasional series of posts on GC:PVD where we identify areas of the city that display poor urbanism and propose ways to improve them. Our interventions may be simple and quite easily realized, or they may at times be grand and possibly take years or decades to complete. Either way, we hope they generate interest and discussion.

Oh Providence Station… why are you such a dump?

Of course the short answer to that is that we have not taken care of it. But this post is not about the sad condition of the station, it is about the fact that the station was a mistake to begin with.

Of course we used to have the stunning Union Station which is now the home of the Rhode Island Foundation and other offices. The river and railroad relocation projects resulted in the tracks leaving Union Station behind and a new station being built.

When Providence Station was opened in 1986 we were deep in the heart of the automobile age. Gas supplies were cheap and seemingly inexhaustible, Amtrak was kind of a quaint hobby that we north-easterners insisted on keeping in service, and the MBTA did not reach Providence. This resulted in a station that is too small for our post-$4/gallon gasoline world. A station that is inconveniently located away from the city’s major employment centers (and with the removal of Route 195, the city’s employment centers are poised to move further from the train station).

Were it maintained properly, the station is certainly handsome. The clock tower nicely pierces the skyline, the low slung dome is handsome and adds a modern bent to the collection of domes we have in our fair city, the interior is attractive. However, the interior is not spacious enough for the passengers we have utilizing existing MBTA and Amtrak services, and the station will become more crowded as MBTA services expand southward and if a Blackstone Valley commuter service is ever instituted. And as the price of gas continues its generally upward trend, more and more people will turn to the trains.

Let’s not waste time blaming the planners from the 80’s for their shortsightedness on the station’s design, let’s instead consider what we can do to modify it for a world that is very different from 1986.

Bret wrote a post a couple years ago in which he cited me as referring to the station as a hundred-year mistake. He went on to highlight some of the short comings of Capital Center area as a neighborhood, and suggest some solutions. We were to write a Part II to that post and never got around to it, this is that Part II I suppose.

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Capital Center area dining

Panera at Providence Place looks ready to open any minute now. All the furniture is in, all the signs are up. I know I said that I don’t really care for Panera, but I actually wished it was open when I was there yesterday. I was feeling a little peckish.

Rumors have been swirling about the prime restaurant spot at the Waterplace towers and there is now a sign up revealing that “Jacky’s Restaurant” is coming soon. Apparently there is a local chain called Jacky’s Galaxie, all I know is there is a rendering in the window that simply says Jacky’s Restaurant, but I can’t imagine that someone would open a pan asian restaurant by the same name (that would be just asking for a lawsuit), so it is probably safe to assume that it is the same. ETA: Actually, I think that might be the Jacky’s Galaxie logo in the lower right corner of that rendering.

Like I said, I am not familiar with Jacky’s Galaxie, so those who are, what to we think? Is this a good fit for this prime location?

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Capital Center Commission Committee Meeting, Dec. 7

Providence Place
Photo (cc) Mr. Duckie

Though we heard before that Panera Bread was going into the Napa Valley Grille location, now the Capital Center Commission Agenda shows P.F. Chang’s looking to locate in that spot:

AGENDA (amended 12/2/10)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 7:30am
Department of Planning and Development
400 Westminster Street, 4th Floor Conference Room
Providence, RI 02903

1. Roll Call

2. Minutes
Meetings of August 3, 2010 and August 17, 2010

3. Parcel 13: Providence Place
Proposal by P. F. Chang’s to replace the existing storefronts (former Napa Valley Grille location) with new storefronts and to install new metal awnings, glass entry, entry doors and signage on the Francis Street elevation. The proposal also includes the installation of a blade sign on the west side (parking garage elevation) of the building.

4. Parcel 14: Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Proposal to construct a loading dock, restrooms and enclosed walkway on the west elevation (Park Street) of the building. The proposal also includes the installation of signage. This is a conceptual presentation for discussion only.

5. Adjournment

I have not been on the Francis Street side of the mall in a while. Does anyone know if Panera ever started work moving in there?

P.F. Chang’s was rumored to be looking to move into the GTECH Center when that building was under construction, but those plans never materialized.

Via: WRNI

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Capital Center Commission, Panera to Providence Place

To be honest, I am not a fan of Panera Bread, but people seem to love it. So, good news everybody!, according to the Capital Center Commission meeting agenda, Panera is coming to Providence Place. Word is it will be going to the space vacated recently by Napa Valley Grille. My personal feelings about Panera aside, this is good news for Providence Place and good news for Francis Street. Having that street side space in the mall vacant was doing no favors for the street life on Francis Street. Panera is a passive seating environment, so people will be able to grab their sandwiches and sit at tables on the street without waiting to be seated as they are at Cheescake Factory or Joe’s American or other Francis Street restuarants. People on the streets is good news in my book.

And, I may not like Panera, but I often hanker for an iced coffee when I’m in Providence Place and never want to drag my ass up to the 3rd floor to go to Dunkin Donuts. So likely, at some point, you will see me in Panera ordering an iced coffee.


Capital Center Commission – Meeting Notice
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 – 12:00 Noon
Department of Planning and Development
400 Westminster Street, 4th Floor Auditorium Providence, RI 02903

Capital Center Parcels

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    • Approval of Commission meeting minutes of June 9, 2010
    • Acceptance of DRC meeting minutes of April 13, 2010 and May 4, 2010

  3. Parcel 13: Providence Place

    Image from Google Street View

    Proposal by Panera Bread to alter the existing storefront and to install awnings and signage on the Francis Street elevation. Presenter: Jim Mandeville

  4. Parcels 3E, 3W, 4E and 4W: Parking Lots

    Image from Google Street View

    Request by Capital Properties, Inc for an extension of interim parking approval. Presenter: Todd Turcotte, Capital Properties

  5. Parcel 4W: Parking Lot Proposal by Capital Properties, Inc. to install a new concrete stairway in the existing slope to provide access from the parking lot to street level. Presenter: Todd Turcotte, Capital Properties
  6. Adjournment

The last two items are to do with the massive swathe of parking lots behind the Citizens Building. Surface parking is not allowed in the Capital Center District, so item 4 is requesting an extension of a waiver to allow for it. Item 5 creates a stairwell so people don’t have to crawl up the slope. I guess if we’re going to have parking, and in this economy, it seems we are (nothing is being built here for quite some time), we should at least make it easier for those drivers to transition into pedestrians.

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This & That

Hot, Hot, Hot

I went to the mall today and walked across the skybridge. It was easily 110° in there. I forget, is the skybridge at all climate controlled? It was so hot I was halfway across and started to wonder if I’d make it to the other side. It was so hot that I did not use it on the way out of the mall.

Spinnie sign

The new CVS in the mall has a wicked sweet rotating space agey sign at the top of the stairs at the mall end of the skybridge. Why I didn’t whip out my video camera and take a little video of it, I do not know (why do you even have a video camera?). It is so fun though, sadly it is inside. :(

Love that dirty water

Leaving the mall I walked through Waterplace and there was a crew surveying in the river. Are they finally going to dredge it? Where did we get the money? Stimulus? I hope dredging is happening, the water there is so skank.

Coming eventually?

Ardeo restaurant in the old Rafael’s space in Union Station Plaza has been “coming soon” forever. Anyone know what’s up? They are based on the Cape and my sister tells me the Hyannis location is one of her favorite restaurants, so I was looking forward to trying it. Hope they aren’t a recession victim.

I ♥ RI

Easily one of the top 5 best things about living in RI is small lemon Del’s on an 80+ degree day. Even better when the Del’s guy is absolutely thrilled about the weather and happy as a clam. Has to be a small though. The larges are too big, don’t try it. You get too much melting then the juice to ice ratio gets all screwy.

I go simple, I go easy, I go…*

greyhound-wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Has anyone else noticed the new livery for Greyhound buses. I think it’s sexy, nice retro look. I tried to snap a pic in Kennedy Plaza but it came out crap so I grabbed the one above from Wikipedia. Greyhound is very proud of them with a press release and everything, they gotz WiFi now.

Hairz cut

Unpaid ad for Jen at Extreme Cuts on Westminster Street in the Financial District. Love her. Need a cut? Stop in.

* Reference? Anyone? Am I too old?

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Retail Update: CVS at the Mall moving

cvsmall

In the windows of the large, street corner, sidewalk-fronting retail space that wraps around where Memorial Boulevard meets Francis Street are large “coming soon” CVS/Pharmacy signs. The pharmacy-less CVS on the third floor of the mall will be closing and moving to this new street level location with a pharmacy.

There is also a CVS in Kennedy Plaza without a pharmacy. Word is that this CVS will remain. Last year there were reports that the CVS in Kennedy Plaza was planning to expand into the neighboring retail space on Westminster Street (formerly occupied by the Christian Science Reading Room, now the home of the Boston Sports Club retail office and ArtTix). It is unclear what the status of those plans are now.

Certainly one of the things that is missing from Downcity being a fully functioning all inclusive neighborhood is a pharmacy. A strong urban neighborhood should have what it’s residents need within a short walking distance. Downcity’s residence now have to travel to North Main Street or Atwells Avenue to find a full service pharmacy.

One concern about this mall location is that the specific site has walkability issues.

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