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Tag Archives | Redevelopment

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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