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Tag Archives | Redevelopment

383 West Fountain Street Renovations

383-west-fountain

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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UPDATED: WPRI: RI moves ahead on $206M nursing school project

south-street-rendering

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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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – April 14, 2014

narrow-building

The George C. Arnold (“Narrow”) Building on Washington Street.

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, April 14, 2014 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 1st Floor Conference Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of March 10,2014
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 14.4: 250 Westminster Street (Alice Building) Proposal by Cornish Associates to replace the existing window system with a new window system, and to install a new awning system on the Union Street elevation of the building.

2. DRC Application No. 14.5: 100 Washington Street (Arnold Building) Proposal by David Stem to restore the entire building, including the installation of new storefronts on the Washington Street elevation.

Adjournment


Full disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates.
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PBN: ‘Superman’ developer submits revised proposal for state aid

superman-lobby

The owner of the vacant “Superman Building” at 111 Westminster St. downtown Wednesday proposed a new $39 million package of state assistance to renovate the tower.

In its second attempt to gain state financing for a rehabilitation project, High Rock Development said it would seek legislation to create a 111 Westminster Historic Redevelopment Program and Revolving Fund to finance converting the office building into a mixed-use project with 280 apartments.

Full disclosure: I work for Cornish Associates who are consulting with the building’s owner, High Rock Development.
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PBN: Riverfront revival in Pawtucket?

pawtucket

A central focus of Pawtucket and neighboring Central Falls for more than a decade, riverfront redevelopment slowed during the recession, giving local officials the chance to study, plan and prioritize for the recovery.

Now that the economy appears headed in the right direction, some of those plans are being put into motion[.]

An earlier city effort to redevelop [45 Division Street] focused exclusively on building a hotel there, but the winning bid from Carpionato Group stalled when the market collapsed and the city took back control of the land.

A hotel is no longer required and the city is open to a mixed-use project with apartments above first-floor shops.

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WPRI: ‘Superman’ building again seeks state support

superman-lobby

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: 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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Infill development in Quahog

The other night, watching an old episode of Family Guy on one of the 37 stations it airs on, as one does, I noticed something about the Drunken Clam.

clam-parking

The clam used to have a surface parking lot next to it. Looking at later episode one notices a new building on that surface lot.

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City announces transfer of ownership, redevelopment of the ‘Narrow Building’

narrow-building

I almost made this a What Cheer for 2013, but it all didn’t quite come together before the end of the year. If the renovations go forward as planned, expect to see a What Cheer for this project in 2014.


From the City:

Providence Transfers Ownership of Historic Arnold Building for Redevelopment

Top 5 Priority of Mayor Taveras’ Economic Development Action Plan; Mayor applauds action to redevelop key downtown property.

The Providence Redevelopment Agency (PRA) has transferred ownership of the historic and vacant George C. Arnold Building at 94-100 Washington Street and the City is providing $220,000 in federal block grant funding to help jumpstart the building’s redevelopment.

Mayor Angel Taveras praised the transfer of the building to a public-private entity for redevelopment. Removing barriers to redevelopment is a top goal of Mayor Taveras’ 20-point economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work.

“This is a new beginning for downtown Providence’s historic Arnold Building,” Mayor Taveras said. “The collaboration of the PRA, Providence Revolving Fund, Providence Historic District Commission and the owners demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together to revitalize historic buildings and grow our economy.”

The project is to be developed by 100 Washington Street LLC. Developers Dave Stem and Lori Quinn and the Providence Revolving Fund are partners in the project. The developers plan to restore the historic structure and construct three residential apartments and two ground-floor commercial spaces, eliminating a long-standing blight in the heart of the city’s business district.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – December 17, 2013

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the November 19th meeting – for action
  • Approval of the CPC meeting schedule for the 2014 calendar year – for action
  • Director’s Report

Redevelopment Plan

davol-site

Image from Bing Maps

1. City Council Referral: An ordinance to adopt the Davol Square Redevelopment Plan This ordinance would adopt a redevelopment plan that would designate a redevelopment project area consisting of approximately 10.5 acres of industrial and commercial property located along the Providence River in the Downtown neighborhood. The ordinance will be reviewed for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan – for action (Downtown, AP 21 Lots 429, 430, 438, 439, 440)

Re:Zoning Providence

2. Update on Re: Zoning Providence Presentation detailing progress on the zoning ordinance revision process and proposed zoning changes developed by the project consultants – for discussion

Adjournment


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News & Notes

Electric car charging.

Electric car charging station in St. Petersburg, FL. Photo (cc) CityofStPete

Grist: States promise to sell one new EV for every 24 people by 2025

They’re starting to step up. Eight states that represent, according to the New York Times, “a quarter of the national car market” just announced they’re going to work together on creating a better system for drivers of electric vehicles. They are, in descending order of population size, California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and they say their goal is to help get 3.3 million new EVs sold by 2025. With a combined population of 79 million people, that means one EV for every 24 people.

How are they going to do it? By creating a system that will give EV owners something only gas-guzzling car drivers have now: certainty about where and when and how they’ll be able to fuel up.

I’m all for things that help improve the environment, but I’ve got to say, I’m a little sad that the environmental press is not being more thoughtful on this story. Reduced carbon emissions are wonderful, but it is not simply the carbon which is problematic, it is safety (for people inside and outside of cars) land-use, household budgets, and more. These are among the things states are supposed to do to encourage electric cars:

  • More charging stations
  • Building codes that require chargers at workplaces and “multifamily residences”
  • Reduced tolls
  • Better parking
  • Cheaper electricity prices

These are all things that encourage more driving; encouraging sprawl, paving land, putting pedestrians and cyclists in conflict with auto-traffic (I don’t think you’re any less dead after getting run over by an electric vehicle than you are getting run over by a gas powered one), and leaving individuals and families tied to the expense of a car (granted, made less so by reducing the costs of powering the vehicle).

Rhode Island seems quite proud of itself for being part of this group of states, but Rhode Island continues to poorly support alternatives to automobile use, namely mass transit and cycling infrastructure.

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News & Notes

SPRAWL

Photo (cc) Mark Strozier

Project for Public Spaces: Mistakes by the Lake, River, or Sea

In cities around the world, waterfronts are showing new signs of life. Parcels once dominated by industry or highways are now opening up to redevelopment, offering enormous opportunities to create new public spaces and rejuvenate old ones. Too often, however, decision makers hungry for solutions latch on to uninspired design and development plans that constrict public use.


The Boston Globe: Worcester’s revival proving elusive

Ten years ago, Worcester’s downtown was going to hum. A consortium of city officials and investors pledged to turn 21 acres of blight into offices, stores, entertainment sites, and luxury residences. The $565 million project — to be privately and publicly funded — was named CitySquare.

Today, CitySquare is still a far-off promise, an unrealized revitalization effort that is all too common in the region’s old mill and manufacturing cities.

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News & Notes

Detroit - Renaissance Center

Detroit from Canada. Photo (cc) Patricia Drury

Spacing: Converting Alleyways to Livable Laneways and Country Lanes

Asphalt paving was removed and replaced with “structural grass,” rigid plastic honeycomb cells sprinkled with ordinary lawn seed and nurtured into green swaths. Concrete strips were embedded on two sides, creating a durable driving surface. Permeable brick pavers were installed in driveways and at the lane way entrances; these allow rain water to infiltrate between their joints and into the ground, reducing run-off, the bane of municipal storm sewer systems.


Newshour: Will Other U.S. Cities Follow in Detroit’s Footsteps?

Well, I think cities have realized they’re not going to grow their economies by bribing companies to come in[1].

Just as Bruce said, they’re going to build on their own strategic assets, and as specialized as they are — and Bruce knows this — they also to be diverse. Diverse economies grow. But in the United States, the cities and regions that are having trouble are the manufacturing regions that have not revitalized and developed their knowledge assets and diversified.

And Sun Belt regions that are dependent on real estate and construction, our economy is being reshaped around knowledge centers, big and small. Ann Arbor right outside of Detroit is doing fabulously well, and energy centers — and those are becoming the powerhouses of the U.S. regional economy. But there are very real winners and losers in this economy. And for those falling behind, they have to take steps to specialize, to focus on their niche, but also to diversify their economy.

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Brown presentation on the South Street Power Station project at JDA meeting – July 9, 2013

dynamo

Brown University will present information on the proposed redevelopment of the South Street Power Station at the Jewelry District Association Meeting on Tuesday, July 9th.

The meeting is open to the public, you need to be buzzed into the building for entry.

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 • 4:00pm- 5:30pm
Brown Continuing Education Building
200 Dyer Street, Classroom 131/133

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Brown University outlines plans for redevelopment of South Street Power Station

dynamo

The University plan includes student housing, retail, a URI/RIC nursing school, administrative offices for the University, a new parking structure, and additions to the riverwalk. The vacant South Street Power Station would be a redeveloped, student housing built on a parking lot along Point Street, and the parking garage across Point Street.

Update: Brown has a Press Release up on their site including a link to an Economic Analysis.

The following letter from Brown University President Christina Paxson, was forwarded to me by a member of the Brown Community:

I am writing to share news that Brown, together with the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Rhode Island College (RIC), is exploring the possibility of partnering with private developer Commonwealth Venture Properties on a comprehensive redevelopment project in Providence’s Jewelry District.

The centerpiece of the project is a renovation of the former South Street Power Station located at 360 Eddy Street, known as “Dynamo House.” Approximately one-half of this space (about 120,000 square feet) would be leased by Brown University for administrative and educational programs; the other half would be leased by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College to house a shared nursing education program. The proposed project also includes an apartment building suitable for graduate, medical and advanced nursing students; retail space; space for start-ups and other small technology-based companies; and a new parking garage.

This week, a joint resolution was introduced in the General Assembly that, if passed, endorses the project in concept and enables URI and RIC to work over the coming months with the developer on a long-term lease agreement, which would require approval by the State Properties Committee and the General Assembly in the next session. The Brown Corporation has endorsed the concept, directing the administration to enter negotiations with the developer on a long-term lease. Assuming the details of these leases are negotiated successfully, we anticipate that construction and renovation would begin in 2014 and the facility would be ready for occupancy in 2016.

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Mayor announces plans by the Omni Group to redevelop the C.J. Fox Complex

Mayor Taveras joined Omni Group CEO William L. DiStefano, Jr. and others this morning to announce that company’s purchase and plans to redevelop the C.J. Fox Complex on Federal Hill.


From the Mayor’s Office:

Mayor Taveras and The Omni Group Announce $1.6 Million Purchase of C.J. Fox Complex in Providence’s Historic Federal Hill

Anticipated $5 million renovation will transform vacant factory into upscale office space.

Mayor Angel Taveras joined The Omni Group President and CEO William L. DiStefano, Jr., and Dominic Shelzi, executive vice president of The Omni Group, Economic Development Director James S. Bennett and other city officials today to announce the developer’s $1.615 million purchase of the C.J. Fox Complex, at Two Fox Place in Providence.

The Omni Group will soon begin a $5 million renovation of the vacant manufacturing complex to transform it into upscale office space.

The C.J. Fox Complex includes 70,000 square feet in four buildings and accompanying parking lots, located on 2.17 acres of land in historic Federal Hill. The Complex was formerly owned by the C.J. Fox Company, which manufactured tags and boxes for the fashion jewelry industry.

“The Omni Group’s redevelopment of the C.J. Fox Complex shows confidence in our capital city and a recognition of the incredible opportunities that exist here,” said Mayor Taveras. “We look forward to The Omni Group’s work to transform the Complex into a vibrant new center of commerce in Providence.”

The Omni Group has restored a number of properties in the Federal Hill neighborhood, including nearly six acres of the West Exchange Center, with nine office buildings and several parking lots. The developer also owns several residential properties in the area. Last year, The Omni Group adopted Garibaldi Park on Atwells Avenue and improved it with landscaping as well as a bandstand area.

“We originally purchased West Exchange Center because we felt that this part of Federal Hill had a great deal of potential,” said William L. DiStefano, Jr., president and CEO of The Omni Group. “It is within walking distance to Downtown Providence and Atwells Avenue, there is an abundance of parking, and there is easy access to all major highways. The project has had continued success year after year, and that, along with our optimistic view of the City’s future, is why we have decided to expand once again.”

“When developers and site selectors travel through Providence and see the transformation of these properties, it will send a strong message that we mean business here in Providence and that there is great potential for growth and economic success in Rhode Island’s capital city,” said Mayor Taveras.

Of course you may recall that the Omni Group has proposed an office building with two levels of parking at 50 Cedar Street as well as a two-level parking structure along two blocks of Cedar Street. Neither of those projects have broke ground yet.

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PBN: Cornish tapped to convert Superman building to apartments

Cornish Associates has been hired to redevelop the Industrial Trust Tower at 111 Westminster St. in downtown Providence and turn the city’s tallest building into apartments, Cornish president and CEO Arnold “Buff” Chace Jr. said Tuesday.

The owner of the tower, High Rock Westminster LLC, picked Cornish to reinvent the property, known locally as the “Superman building,” late last year, Chace said, because of the Providence firm’s success revitalizing several blocks of Westminster Street.

Full disclosure, I work for Cornish Associates.
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