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Tag Archives | Retail

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PBN: Boutique shops build momentum

The downtown boutique retail scene has been growing for many years and appears to be picking up momentum again after weathering the recession and end of the historic-tax-credit program that helped fuel it in the previous decade.

With major residential-commercial redevelopment projects soon to be completed at the Arcade and former National Grid buildings, downtown boosters are preparing for more growth on the horizon.

A good read for people who only come Downcity once every 10 years and think it is still 1982 down here.

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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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News & Notes

TriMet: MAX and Bus on Portland Mall

MAX train and bus in Portland, OR. Photo (cc) TriMet.

→ The Atlantic Cities: Can Light Rail Carry a City’s Transit System?

We often think of light rail as a single component of a larger transit system, but if it’s done right it can just as soon serve as the foundation. Since 1981 a dozen American cities have built light rail lines atop bus-only systems. In five of them — Dallas, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and San Diego — light rail now accounts for at least 30 percent of all transit ridership in the metropolitan area, even as it covers less than that much service space in the region.

Thompson and Brown settled on three key factors in the success of these systems. First, a great light rail system anchors a transit network that’s dispersed throughout a metro area. Second, it acts as an express regional alternative to the local bus network. And third, it promotes transfers between the bus and rail systems. The researchers believe these traits can serve as guides for future light rail planners “by setting forth attributes that these services need to possess in order to attract substantial ridership.”


→ Boston.com: Car-free commuting push pays off in Kendall Square

Doug Taylor used to get to work the way most Americans do, driving alone. Then he switched jobs to one of the many Kendall Square companies that offer financial incentives for employees to leave their cars at home. After trying the commuter rail, the 48-year-old Medford resident soon discovered he could pocket even more by biking.

Taylor is part of a set of statistics so surprising it looks like a mistake. ­Despite the rapid expansion in and around Kendall Square in the last ­decade — the neighborhood absorbed a 40 percent increase in commercial and institutional space, adding 4.6 million square feet of development — automobile traffic actually dropped on major streets, with vehicle counts falling as much as 14 percent.

Not for nothing but, modern day Kendall Square is a model City and State leaders are looking toward in regards to the (so-called) Knowledge District. Though leaders have not been looking enough at the transportation aspects of the area.


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Nikki’s Liquors seeks to move to Broadway

nikkis-broadway

Many beer afficianados across southern New England are familiar with Nikki’s Liquors on the North Providence / Providence line. Nikki’s is famous for originating the Mix-a-six whereby one can make their own six pack by mixing together any six bottles of the craft beer varieties available.

Owned for the last 12 years by David and Michael Iannazzi, Nikki’s is now fixing to move to the old DePasquale Pharmacy Building on Broadway where they hope to expand their reputation for beer into the fine wine and spirits markets.

On their website about the new location, the owners explain:

  • An area where Nikki’s can become a neighborhood partner and an active part of the community; an area with complementary businesses that attract customers with similar tastes and interests; ease of access to downtown and the highways to further develop our status as a destination specialty shop for craft beer enthusiasts; and more physical space to handle our increasing selection.
  • The facilities provided by 319 Broadway meet all of our criteria. The larger physical size of this location will also provide space to hold craft beer educational classes and seminars. This location will allow us to continue our quest to expand on our vision of creating the most unique specialty craft beer/liquor boutique in the city.
  • We need your support. We believe that the proposed project will be a “win-win” situation for Nikki’s, local area businesses and the Broadway neighborhood community.

As a Federal Hill resident, all I can say is, I can’t wait!

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Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting – July 9, 2012

Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, July 9, 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 May 14, 2012 and June 11, 2012

New Business

DRC Application No. 12.16: 130 Westminster Street (The Arcade) Proposal by 130 Westminster Street Associates, LLC, to re?open existing window openings and install new windows; install new signage; and install new exterior stair glass enclosures and security gates as part of the renovation plan for the building.

Adjournment


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Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting – April 9, 2012

Johnson & Wales to present plans for demolition of “Mirabar Building” (37 Richmond Street) for construction of new parking garage at Monday’s Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting.

Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, April 9, 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 March 12, 2012

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 12.6: 40 Westminster Street (Old Stone Bank Tower, now Textron Building) Proposal to enlarge an existing retail entrance on the Westminster Street elevation for a new tenant. Work includes the installation of a new storefront system, overhangs over the retail entrances, and signage.

Other Business

Mirabar

Mirabar Nightclub on Richmond Street

2. Pre-Application Review: Proposed Parking Garage at Pine and Richmond Street Proposal to demolish an existing building at 37 Richmond Street and to construct a parking garage on the site located at the intersection of Pine and Richmond Street. This presentation is for discussion only. No action will be taken by the DRC at this meeting.

Adjournment


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News & Notes

→ The Atlantic Cities: The Simple Math That Can Save Cities From Bankruptcy

We tend to think that broke cities have two options: raise taxes, or cut services. Minicozzi, though, is trying to point to the basic but long-buried math of our tax system that cities should be exploiting instead: Per-acre, our downtowns have the potential to generate so much more public wealth than low-density subdivisions or massive malls by the highway. And for all that revenue they bring in, downtowns cost considerably less to maintain in public services and infrastructure.


→ The Hill: Transportation advocates see little hope for pre-election long-term highway bill

Transportation advocates are losing hope for passage of a highway bill before the election following Congress’s decision this week to pass another short-term funding extension.

Instead of approving the multi-year transportation bill that passed the Senate, lawmakers adopted a temporary extension of legislation that already funds road and transit projects. The short-term measure, signed Friday by President Obama, extends federal transportation funding until June 30.


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Temporary uses for the 195 Land – your ideas

Betaspring

Photo blatantly stolen from Betaspring’s Facebook Page.

Two of my Facebook friends/pages-I-like posted photos of themselves recreating on the 195 Land during this week’s crazy heat wave. The above photo shows people from Betaspring playing a game of wiffle ball on the 195 Land next to their offices on Chestnut Street.

Bad economy or no, redeveloping the land left behind by the relocation of Route 195 is going to take years, decades even. So, unlike the lots in Capital Center behind Citizens which have been turned over to parking, we should be finding good temporary uses for the land.

Right now most of the land is just seeded, we’ll see as spring turns to summer if anyone maintains that grass and if pick-up games of wiffle ball will still be an option. If past is prologue, then I don’t have very much confidence that this grass will be mowed and that trash will be cleared, etc.

So the question is, what would we like to see as temporary uses on the 195 Land? Some of it can certainly just be grass that sits there and is hopefully cared for, we’re not going to have active uses on all the avaialable parcels. But what uses could we bring to the land? Which parcels should those uses live on? How can temporary uses be moved as they are (hopefully) displaced by development? And, how can we make it clear that these are indeed temporary uses, how can we avert the cries to save something that people have grown fond of, but was never meant to be permanent (the “park” which people cried was being taken away to build GTECH for example)?

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