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What Cheer / What Jeer 2013

We’re running a little late this year but we’re finally ready to run down the What Cheers and What Jeers of 2013.

what-cheer-south-street-power-station

WHAT CHEER: South Street Power Station (Maybe)

In 2013 we got another plan to redevelop the moribund South Street Power Station. While numerous plans for the building, which at one point was known as the Dynamo House, have come and gone, this latest plan engenders optimism as Brown University is involved now.

In January the New York Times and then The Brown Daily Herald reported on rumors of the university becoming involved in the project. Then in June Brown announced it’s plans for the building in a letter to the campus community.

Those plans include a home for the long talked about URI/RIC Nursing School, office space for Brown, and some sort of retail component in the former power station building. Brown also has a developer engaged in building a student apartment building in the neighboring parking lot along Point Street and the City is involved in plans for a parking structure across Point Street from that.

The latest news on the project comes from the ProJo just before Christmas with reports that the PRA is considering condemning the building so the project can move forward.

While this could all be looked at as another in a long line of proposals for the building, Brown’s involvement makes this proposal seem more promising. 2014 will show us if this project actually moves forward.

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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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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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Arcade work!

ArcadeThe good news, it appears work is commencing at the Arcade. The bad news, said work is closing the sidewalk.

Of course this sidewalk closure comes just as we have hopes the sidewalk in front of the neighboring 35 Weybosset façade will finally be able to re-open. Though that project was stalled out for a bit, it seems there is renewed work happening on that site to building their parking lot (sigh) and move the façade bracing allowing the sidewalk to open.

Although it is of course great to finally see progress at the Arcade, it would be greaterer if the city had policies that accommodated pedestrians during such construction projects. You can bet your ass that auto traffic wouldn’t have been allowed to be restricted for the duration of this project. It would be simple to create a diversion for pedestrians (you know, like the guy with the backpack in the photo is doing all by himself).

Reader submitted photo of the Weybosset side of the Arcade last Friday.

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ProVide?

Apparently this was all anyone was talking about over the weekend and I completely missed it. Sometime this weekend posters were placed on the doors of the shuttered Arcade claiming that a new marketplace was “Coming Soon.”

Channel 10 ran with the story that a market is opening in the Arcade, ProJo however picked up the phone and called the owners of the Arcade.

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What Cheer/What Jeer 2010

What Cheer/What Jeer was originally supposed to be a monthly, or a quarterly thing, but you know what, it is a lot of work putting a list like this together, so it has become an annual thing. So join us as we take a look back at 2010, What Cheering the good and What Jeering the bad.

whatcheerProvidence River Pedestrian Bridge

Whether you love it or hate it, Providence will soon be getting a new pedestrian bridge over the Providence River. Design firms large and small from around the world entered the competition that led to the winning design. And the competition got people around the city interested in transportation and design.

providence-river-pedestrian-bridge-original-design

whatcheerRIPTA

Last year we declared that 2010 would be “The Year of RIPTA” and not to be too smug about it but, we were kinda right.

In December 2009 RIPTA and the City of Providence released the Metro Transit Study, which drew a lot of attention to its proposal to run a streetcar line through Providence. This year, RIPTA embarked on their Core Connector Study, the first step toward bringing streetcars back to Providence. In June, U.S. Sec. of Transportation Ray LaHood visited Providence and was very excited about our future plans. RIPTA also took delivery of a new fleet of hybrid buses and trolleys in October. This year also saw RIPTA unveil a 5-year plan for the future of transit in Rhode Island. Finally, RIPTA hired a new CEO, Charles Odimgbe. It is early days yet in Mr. Odimgbe’s tenure, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be What Cheered or What Jeered next year.

Certainly all was not good for RIPTA this year, 2010 saw the continuation of an annual tradition wherein RIPTA’s budget falls short resulting in the agency looking to cut routes and/or increase fares. This year they went with increasing fares yet again. Here’s hoping the incoming Governor and General Assembly can work to address the issues surrounding RIPTA’s budget.

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PBN: RISD students re-imagine the Arcade

The Providence Business News ran this story the other day about students in RISD’s Architecture Department who presented design proposals for the vacant Arcade to the building’s owner, Evan Granoff.

Without having the proposals to look at, I didn’t really think there was much to talk about and just threw a link to the story up on our Facebook page. Perhaps after the winter break, I’ll contact RISD and see if we can get a look at what the student’s proposed. But in the meantime, I figure, what the heck, if people are bored over the holiday, here’s something to discuss.

PBN reports on the student project:

RISD professor Friedrich St.Florian said the proposals ranged from hotels to building a spa on the third floor, and restoring retail and restaurants to the ground level. All the proposals keep the more than 182-year-old Arcade as the hub of the development and the main entrance. The students also incorporated the lots on either side of the Arcade, including the one with the façade of the Providence National Bank Building.

Granoff told the PBN that the proposals were impressive, but not economically feasible (I have to wonder if economic feasibility was not part of the student’s design brief, or if Granoff is just being obstinate). The PBN article concludes that Granoff is working on a plan to reuse the building (which keeps it intact) and details of that plan should be revealed “early next year.”

Breath is not being held.

One of our readers forwarded his idea of how the building should be used:

My (rudimentary) idea ever since Granoff closed it.

  • Ground floor = small scale food concession/retail
  • 2nd floor = small office spaces or office condos -or- larger footprint sit-down restaurants
  • 3rd floor = 1-2 large commercial tenant(s) or mix of sit-down restaurants and commercial tenants

Providence would be wise to make this our version of Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market…

For some holiday weekend discussion, what would you like to see happen with the Arcade?

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Oldest indoor shopping mall in America, closed

Arcade

ProJo:

The Arcade, the nation’s oldest indoor shopping mall, closed to the public this morning as its owners are preparing to transition the downtown landmark, which in recent years had been home to a handful of small, independent businesses and eateries, into a space for a single company or retailer.

Good luck with that.

“It’s gotten a lot scarier out there,” [Evan Granoff] said in his offices today. “There are not a lot of people thinking of expanding. Retailers are just trying not to have to hold onto a lot of inventory on their shelves, and other businesses are just trying to survive in this climate.”

It’s scary out there, we can’t afford to maintain the building, could we have an “emergency demo permit?”

The Arcade, which was built in 1828 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, is assessed at about $1.4 million, according to city records.

Really, how hard would it be for us to raise $1.4 million? I’m serious.

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