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Tag Archives | Renovation

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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City launches storefront improvement grant program

olneyville-storefronts

From the City:


Mayor Taveras Launches Storefront Improvement Program to Revitalize Building Facades, Support Small Businesses

Program is a priority in Mayor’s economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras, joined by local business owners and business leaders, announced the launch of a new storefront improvement program this morning. The program will support the revitalization of building facades and small businesses across Providence. The initiative is one of the steps identified in Mayor Taveras’ 20-point economic development plan, Putting Providence Back to Work.

“Providence is known for its diverse, historic neighborhoods, which are anchored by small businesses,” said Mayor Taveras. “The storefront improvement program is designed to attract customers to existing businesses, revitalize local business districts, and enhance the beauty and safety of Providence’s neighborhoods.”

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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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Warwick Beacon: RI Mall to have new life as home to big box retailers

…Winstanley sees the potential to attract larger retailers that are not yet present in the area, though he said it was premature to name any specifically.

Depending on retailer demands, Winstanley said the building could house either two or four large stores.

The preliminary phases of the project will continue over the next six to nine months, but Winstanley said people shouldn’t expect to see the mall re-open for at least two years. He said it will take at least a year to design and plan out the project and at least another year for construction.

Hasn’t the recession taught us that the age of the Big Box is coming to a close? Are there any retailers left to attract that aren’t already on Route 2?

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Link

ProJo: $7-million Arcade revival taking shape

Seven months after unveiling a plan to transform the landmark Arcade building into a mix of retail and loft apartments, the owner of America’s oldest indoor mall says the project is taking shape.

Evan Granoff, of 130 Westminster Street Associates LLC, says four “unique” restaurants and 14 other small retail shops may occupy the first floor of the 1828 granite building as early as the end of September.

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Teste Block Christo’d

Teste Block

Teste Block at Dorrance and Weybosset Streets

Last month the Old Narragansett Hotel Garage was wrapped in plastic and now looks gorgeous! Today the adjoining Teste Block Building is getting wrapped and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the wrapping comes down.

All this building wrapping is part of an on-going project to convert all the buildings on the block to residential use. My understanding is the Teste Block will have a restaurant on the ground floor with a glassed in area at the back (along Weybosset Street).

My plan has always been to buy the Teste Block myself after I won the Powerball. While I’m disappointed to have never won the Powerball and bought the building, I’m excited to see it getting cared for.

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Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting – November 14, 2011

Narrow Building

George C. Arnold (aka Narrow) Building

Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, November 14, 2011 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development
1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence

Agenda

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 12, 2011 and October 17, 2011

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 11.18: 100 Washington Street (George C. Arnold Building) Continued review of the proposal to restore the building, including the installation of new storefronts.

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Community Works Rhode Island to renovate Broadway’s historic “Wedding Cake House”

Community Works Rhode Island has acquired a significant historic residence at 514 Broadway, to be renovated as five affordable condominium units.

January 24, 2011, Providence, RI – Community Works Rhode Island (CWRI) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the architecturally significant building at 514 Broadway in Providence, RI. CWRI will renovate this neglected and foreclosed property into five condominium units that will be set at a price that is affordable to income qualified buyers.

Carrie Marsh, Executive Director of CWRI said “CWRI is thrilled with the opportunity to acquire 514 Broadway, a significant property which retains its beauty, dignity and grace despite decades of neglect. It is a building that captures the interest of many people who wonder at its past and envision its potential. The federal and city funding allocated to this project will allow CWRI to save this foreclosed property and renovate it into bright, beautiful and energy-efficient living spaces, to be sold to homeowners at an affordable level. This project is a key piece of the ongoing transformation of Broadway as a vital main street of the West Side neighborhood.”

The property is believed to have been originally built in 1857, in a very elaborate Italianate Style. The house is often referred to colloquially as the “Wedding Cake House” with its “gingerbread” style of architectural detail. It is graced with a mansard roof, oversized “sunburst” gables, and an ornate tower that provides sweeping views of the city. This building is located in the Broadway Local Historic District, as well as the Broadway-Armory National Register District. CWRI will work with the Providence Revolving Fund as its consultant on the historic preservation.

The property has been in a state of neglect and abandonment for several decades, and was recently foreclosed on. CWRI is grateful to Chace Ruttenberg & Freedman, as well as the Law Offices of Ronald C. Markoff, for legal assistance in acquiring this significant property.

Clark Schoettle, Executive Director of the Providence Revolving Fund said “This is one of the most important buildings in the Broadway-Armory National Register District and it has been seriously threatened for decades by deterioration. It is wonderful that Community Works has purchased the building and will save it from the wrecking ball. This is a difficult project which Community Works is well equipped to handle, given its past experience with similar properties.”

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Coastway Community Bank on Washington Street


Rendering by Saccoccio & Associates Architects

Back in March Coastway Community Bank first appeared before the DRC to seek permission to renovate the old Washington trust location on Washington Street and move from their Greene Street location. I saw some renderings around that time, Coastway was back at DRC that April, then I heard nothing about it and had pretty much forgotten about it.

Well, this week work started up on the project.


Photo by Jef Nickerson

As you can see, they are doing a pretty major gut job on the building, but my understanding is that what you see in the rendering above will be built within the hollowed out shell of the existing building, so not a total demo. To recall what the building looked like, here’s a photo from late 2008 just after Washington Trust moved out.

Old Washington Trust Bank

It is so long ago that I saw that first rendering that I can’t really recall if this is changed at all from their original vision (I want to say it is). Either way, I think this is an improvement on the existing building for sure and have no problem with it. It’s not knocking my sox off, but I like it.

The building with more glass is more urban-friendly. Really, in an urban building, you want a lot of glass on the ground floor (DRC actually has rules about the amount of glass needed on new construction). The glass let’s the light and activity inside the building translate to the street and help animate and light the street.

Now of course we’re talking about a bank here, so the animation will end with bankers hours and will likely be nonexistent most of the weekend. But we can probably safely assume that there will be some lighting at night, both inside and likely on the facade, so it will at least alleviate the dark hole which is the current building.

It is also nice to see landscaping of the parking lot adjacent to the building. That particular arrangement of trees and shrubs could just be the renderist* making the drawing look pretty, but there is a landscape architect (Gates, Leighton & Associates, Inc.) listed on the sign outside the building, so I assume there is some green going in there (and knowing several members of the DRC, I assume that was something they insisted on).

So another bank, ho-hum, but an improvement to the streetscape and another vacant building put to use, I’ll let myself be satisfied with that.

*Did I make up renderist as a job title, or is that an actual thing? One who draws renderings?

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