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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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Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting – February 13, 2012

Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, February 13, 2012 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development
1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of November 14, 2011 and December 12, 2011
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

Biltmore Garage, formerly the New Parkade.

1. DRC Application No. 12.3: 51 Washington Street (The Biltmore Garage)
Proposal to create five new ground floor commercial spaces on the Washington Street elevation of the parking garage. The project includes the installation of new storefronts, signage and continuouscanopy.

Adjournment


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Historic Poirier’s Diner moving to Westminster Street

Poirier's Diner

Poirier’s Diner

The National Register of Historic Places listed Poirier’s Diner will be restored and re-opened at a new location at 1380 Westminster Street on the West Side.

The Poirier’s Diner is probably better known as El Faro to those who last patronized it when it was situated at Fort Thunder. It was removed from its Atwells Avenue location when Eagle Square was redeveloped and has been looking for a permanent home ever since.

Stack Design Build reports on their blog about restranteur Jon Özbek’s plans for the diner:

Developer Jon Özbek has begun a full scale renovation of the diner with the help of General Contractor Stack Design Build of Providence, the RI Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission, the Providence Revolving Fund, and MODA, LLC. This project represents a significant investment in the City, while it will also create new jobs. The Diner will be a welcome addition to the burgeoning West Side business community.

Continue Reading →

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Providence’s own Koreatown

Teriyaki House

Photo © AndyMrrs

Los Angeles has their Koreatown neighborhood, a 2.7 square mile area of 124,000 people where 23% of the population is Korean. Of course, being Rhode Island, our burgeoning Korean district is a little more diminutive.

Sura recently opened on Westminster Street and opening soon across the street in the space where Bowl & Board used to be is Teriyaki & Korean House by the owners of Formerly Solomon’s on Benefit.

OK, so two restaurants perhaps do not a Koreatown make, but I’d settle for half as many ice cream stores in Icecreamtown.

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Dining Out for Life, April 28

Dining Out For Life is coming Thursday, April 28, 2011! Put this date on your calendar, round up your friends, and dine out to support AIDS care and prevention services.

How it works: Participating restaurants donate 25% of your purchases on this one special evening to AIDS Project Rhode Island, for HIV/AIDS care and prevention services.

Get involved: Become a Restaurant Ambassador. Help us fill a restaurant! Recruit 25-30 of your friends, family, and colleagues to fill the seats. You’ll be in the restaurant throughout the evening thanking people and encouraging them to make personal donations.

Captain a Table: Plan to bring a party of 5 or more to one of the participating restaurants. Encourage them to make individual donations.

Spread the Word: “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and then share the details with your social networks!

Dine Out: Make plans to eat out on Thursday, April 28th! SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER NOW! Please contact Neil at 401-831-5522 x3196 or by email

Participating Restaurants

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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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News & Notes

Café Life, PDX Style: Recreating the Euro Bar

Nothing symbolizes the singular nature of European public life more than the ubiquitous neighborhood bar – a place where people of all ages gather for a variety of food and libations, including coffee, alcohol, ice cream and maybe a local delicacy or two such as anchovies or squid.

Such establishments, also known as snack bars or café-bars depending on the country, are more than community hangouts. Featuring ample outdoor seating, the Euro style bar is also an anchor for the lively street culture that is the envy of many an American urban planner.

[Enzyme PDX]

‘Piano Building’ tunes up

On the intersection’s northeast corner, Rhode Island-based CVS wanted to tear down existing businesses and homes to build a new store that neighbors criticized as not fitting with Dundee’s character.

That’s our CVS, destroying neighborhoods and soiling our state’s good name coast-to-coast. Good on ya. Oh, and in Norwich, CT they’re tearing down a building and 2 houses, and regrading a hill to build a 12,900 square foot store on a 1.78 acre site.

[Omaha World-Herald]

What Is It About 20-Somethings and Cars?

American young adults are driving less, says a recent piece in AdvertisingAge. Only 77 percent of 19-year-olds today have their license, compared to 92 percent in 1978. And the proportion of automobile miles driven by people aged 21 to 30 fell five percent in 2009, compared to 2001.

[The City Fix]

NYS Gov. David Paterson signs monumental smart growth bill into law
[Smart Growth America]

The Childish Folly of Dubai
[UrbanPhoto]

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Jake’s 2.0?

I used to love Jake’s in the Jewelry District and was so sad when it closed. So I was very happy today to see lots of work taking place in at the building today, inside and out. Anyone know the scoop? Is Jake’s coming back? Will there be cheesy fries and Prince on the jukebox?

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News & Notes

Providence office vacancy rates rise [Providence Business News]
Blue Cross move to new HQ opens up space downtown

Providence Restaurant Weeks [GoProvidence]

Safe passing in RI: Frank’s Law [Car-Free in PVD]

FAA chooses runway plan for Green [ProJo]

Subway on the Street [New York Magazine]
The MTA has a simple, not very expensive ticket for improving how the city gets around: Revolutionize the bus. But can even the most sensible ideas get implemented these days?

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Notes from the DNA

I’m on the Downtown Neighborhood Alliance mailing list and received their minutes from their last meeting today. Below are some items of interest from those minutes.

Parking lot formerly known as the Providence Public Safety Complex.

Once the former Police and Fire Station was demolished, certain promises were made on how to beautify and treat the land in the time before a buyer came along.

It’s been stalled for a while with all sides saying “Who us? We don’t know, ask them.” So we put Sue LaPidus on it. (cue: the Law & Order theme song).

First, Sue at least got them to shut off their painfully bright lights that were blasting into the Regency (probably saved them money too).

She also kept asking people with the city what was going on and checking in about next steps.

The space can only be kept a lot until next Sept and you can only plant things downtown before a certain day (or else they’d freeze and die) so we’re losing time!

But with Sue’s hard work we have some decisions, trees are being planted now and the planters we’ll need in warmer weather are being built. There will even be people assigned to keep it all clean. We’ll keep an eye on this to make sure it happens. But good news that there’s been some progress. Thanks Sue!

OK, promises weren’t made, there are actual laws on the books regarding landscaping requirements for parking lots. What I’ve heard is that TPG has been crying poor (up to $30 event parking poor) to get out of these requirements. I’m glad the DNA has someone on the case here and hope to see the fruit of their efforts soon.

On the retail/restaurant front, we learn about:

The new smallest restaurant in Providence, Tini. ProJo has the review, at least until our resident foodie Bret makes his way there.

Boston Sports Club opens on Westminster Street (and at Eastside Marketplace) in January. My boyfriend has signed up (I have not).

Mediterranean restaurant Ardeo is coming to the Union Station Plaza location most recently occupied by Rafael’s soon. Apparently Ardeo has a number of locations on Cape Cod, I’m from the Cape and not familiar with them, so they must be relatively new (relatively as in the last 16 years since I left the Cape).

And most importantly, Craftland opens December 5th at Union and Westminster.

Photo from Bravo website

And finally, let’s put a rest to the rumors about Bravo. Yes, they have had some financial difficulties due to some internal management issues. The business end is being reorganized and new management has been put in place. The restaurant is now open Mondays. So everyone get out and enjoy my favorite Downcity restaurant, mmmmm Croque-Madame.

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