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Olneyville development and Atwells demolition appeal on the June 25, 2014 Zoning Board of Review agenda

ge-plant

Two notable items are on the June 25, 2014 Zoning Board of Review agenda.

First, the proposed McDonald’s and Family Dollar Store in Olneyville seeks variances from Zoning:

RPS ASSOCIATES, LLC: filed an application requesting a Dimensional Variance and Special Use Permit in order to construct two (2) new commercial buildings: a 4,316 square foot quick-serve restaurant with two (2) drive-thru lanes and an 8,400 square foot retail store, along with any associated site improvements on the property located at 48, 50 & 54 Plainfield Street and 4, 6, 10 & 14 Atwood Street (bounded by Dike St.), also known as Lots 46, 47, 66, 98, 99, 100 & 101 on Tax Assessor’s Plat 105; Lots 46, 66, 99 100 & 101 being located in a General Commercial C-2 Zone and Lots 47 & 98 being located in an Industrial M-1 Zone. The applicant is requesting a Dimensional Variance for relief from Sections 305, 305.1(Footnote 10), 425.2, 425.2(A), 425.2(B), 604.3 and 607.3, which are regulations governing front yard setback, landscaping, and freestanding menu board signs. Further, a Special Use Permit is sought pursuant to Section 303(5.0)-Use Codes 57.1 and 57.2, to construct the proposed new restaurant at over 2,500 gross square feet and to permit operation of two (2) drive-thru lanes in the C-2 Zone. Together, the lots in question contain approximately 64,295 square feet of land area.


Next, the Providence Preservation Society and others are appealing the Historic District Commission’s decision to allow the demolition of the GE plant on Atwells Avenue:

APPEAL FROM THE DECISION OF THE PROVIDENCE HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

APPELLANTS: Providence Preservation Society; Green Lot, LLC; Monohassett Mill Condominium Association; Clay Rockefeller; Eagle Square Condominium Association, Erik Bright; and Steelyard

PROPERTY OWNER: General Electric Company

SUBJECT PROPERTY: 586 Atwells Avenue, also known as Lots 282, 556, 657, 30 & 634 on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 30

The Appellants are appealing the Decision of the Providence Historic District Commission issuing a Certificate of Appropriateness dated May 5, 2014, concerning the proposed demolition of the existing structure(s).

The Zoning Board of Review meets on Wednesday, June 25th at 444 Westminster Street in the First Floor Conference Room. The Olneyville item is on the 6pm agenda, the Atwells item is on the 7pm agenda.
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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

armory

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: 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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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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PPS A Yearlong Series Begins: Adrian Benepe – November 14, 2013

A Yearlong Series Begins: Join Us For The First Conversation On Open Space And Public Land

Adrian Benepe at the Iconic and Historic Industrial Trust Building
November 14, 2013 • 5:30 – 8:00 pm
111 Westminster Street, Providence RI
FREE

File Name : DA1_8307.JPG File Size : 3.3MB (3417416 Bytes) Date Taken : 2006/06/23 12:00:58 Image Size : 4288 x 2848 pixels Resolution : 300 x 300 dpi Bit Depth : 8 bits/channel Protection Attribute : Off Hide Attribute : Off Camera ID : N/A Camera : NIKON D2X Quality Mode : N/A Metering Mode : Matrix Exposure Mode : Manual Speed Light : Yes Focal Length : 30 mm Shutter Speed : 1/250 second Aperture : F16.0 Exposure Compensation : 0 EV White Balance : N/A Lens : N/A Flash Sync Mode : N/A Exposure Difference : N/A Flexible Program : N/A Sensitivity : N/A Sharpening : N/A Image Type : Color Color Mode : N/A Hue Adjustment : N/A Saturation Control : N/A Tone Compensation : N/A Latitude(GPS) : N/A Longitude(GPS) : N/A Altitude(GPS) : N/AKicking off the Providence Preservation Society’s yearlong series on downtown Providence and the making of great cities is Adrian Benepe, former New York City Parks Commissioner and now Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development at the Trust for Public Land. He will lead us in discussing the benefit and potential for open space and public land.

Adrian Benepe has worked in the public and non-profit realm as a leader in park and public space conservation, design, construction and operation, in the areas of city planning, arts, culture, historic preservation, and landscape and urban design for his entire career. As Parks Commissioner of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, he oversaw public-private partnerships that catalyzed the development of several signature city parks, including the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park. During his 12-year tenure, he created 730 new acres of parks and public space in NYC, and refurbished a number of existing ones. In 2012, Benepe became Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land and oversees the urban work of over thirty offices whose projects include parks, playgrounds, gardens, trails and greenways across the United States. Benepe earned a B.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship.

A Conversation with Adrian Benepe is a collaboration between the Providence Preservation Society and the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy.

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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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Providence Preservation Society statement regarding the Superman Building

Superman Building

Photo by Jef Nickerson

PPS’s Statement Regarding The Industrial Trust Building:

The Providence Preservation Society believes carefully considered redevelopment planning at the vacant Industrial Trust Building at 111 Westminster Street, Providence, is urgent and makes the following observations:

  • The Industrial Trust Building possesses a high degree of civic and architectural value.
  • The building is prominently located in downtown Providence, is an iconic visual statement in the Providence skyline, and its substantial bulk and idiosyncratic massing make it an important placeholder in the streetscape of one of the three main east/west thoroughfares in the City.
  • Given the very large scale of the building, its vacancy is a material drain on the fragile economy of downtown Providence and, by extension, on the economic vitality of the entire State.
  • The Industrial Trust Building is situated in Providence’s Financial District where recent private sector
    development evidences the beginnings of an economic renaissance. A vacant 111 Westminster Street places this renaissance in jeopardy.
  • For over 25 years, the Providence Preservation Society has participated in and sometimes initiated strategic conversations to facilitate challenging development projects in historic properties, particularly those large in scale. PPS has deep experience in this area of historic preservation planning and economic development and offers its assistance in moving the project to reality.
  • We well understand that development projects in historic buildings in Providence, especially those of a large scale, have required a public /private partnership in order to make them financially feasible. These subsidies have come in many forms. PPS offers no specific advice at this time as to the exact nature of any particular public role in the financing for redevelopment of this very important building.
  • Trustees believe that moving forward to create a vibrant, economically sound plan for the Industrial Trust Building is critical.

Continuing Engagement on The Future of The Industrial Trust Building:

The Providence Preservation Society is keenly interested in the future of 111 Westminster Street for the reasons outlined above. The organization intends to proceed with a high level of engagement in planning for the property’s re-use. It offers its expertise in preservation planning and development to the building owner and his development team, to the City of Providence, and to the State of Rhode Island and its agents. We look forward to tailoring the ways in which this engagement might take place to the particular circumstances of the property and its ownership. Our organization acknowledges that this may be the most critical development challenge currently facing any historic building in Providence, and one of the most important to resolve.

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