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Brown Daily Herald: Federal, state officials break ground on Dynamo project

south-street-landing-housing

Rendering of student housing building along Point Street

Private sector leaders gathered with federal, state and municipal officials in a ceremony Monday to kick off renovations to the Jewelry District’s South Street Power Station, popularly known as the Dynamo House.

The revamp — expected to be complete by the fall of 2016 — will result in a nursing education center shared by Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island, as well as graduate housing and administrative offices for the University.

Officials joked that this would be “the last groundbreaking at this particular site,” said Dick Galvin ’79, president and founder of Commonwealth Ventures Properties, poking fun at failed past projects that attempted to renovate the former power station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Prior to the actual groundbreaking, officials ranging from Galvin to Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’17 P’14 P’17 voiced their excitement about the project to a crowd of more than 200.

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UPDATED: WPRI: RI moves ahead on $206M nursing school project

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. Board of Education on Monday unanimously signed off on a proposed 15-year lease for the state’s two nursing schools to move into a new joint facility that would be built inside the decaying former South Street Power Station in partnership with Brown University.

The $206-million project, unveiled last year by developer Dick Galvin of CV Properties LLC, would redevelop the former power plant along the Providence River and adjoining property into academic space for the state; office space for Brown; student apartments; and a parking garage.

The parking garage and student housing would be in new buildings built on adjacent parking lots.

May 15, 2014: Press release from the Mayor’s Office

Taveras Administration Proposes South Street Landing Agreements Requiring Tax-Exempt Institutions to Pay Taxes

Development of former power station viewed as significant opportunity to expand city’s tax base, create jobs, spur economic growth in Knowledge District.

The tax-exempt tenants of the proposed South Street Landing development project will pay taxes to the City of Providence under agreements proposed by the administration of Mayor Angel Taveras.

“South Street Landing is a once-in-a-generation economic development opportunity for our Capital City,” said Mayor Taveras. “The project promises to expand Providence’s tax base and increase tax revenues, create construction jobs and permanent jobs, help jumpstart development in the Knowledge District, improve public access and recreation along our waterfront and assure the preservation of an iconic building in our city.”

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PBN: Legal tangle hinders power station redevelopment

dynamo

Ownership of the vacant power plant is hampered by multiple stakeholders, mortgages, deed restrictions and up to 20 mechanics liens tied to one of the most ambitious and ill-fated public-private partnerships in the state’s history.

And then there are the $26 million in state historic tax credits attached to Dynamo House that the partnership between Commonwealth Ventures LLC and Brown University intend to use to help finance construction. The current owners of the power station control the tax credits.

With this tangled legal web in mind, the city’s Davol Square Plan lays out a strong case for seizing the power station using the city’s powers of eminent domain if clearing the title through negotiation fails.

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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.

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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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Brown University outlines plans for redevelopment of South Street Power Station

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The University plan includes student housing, retail, a URI/RIC nursing school, administrative offices for the University, a new parking structure, and additions to the riverwalk. The vacant South Street Power Station would be a redeveloped, student housing built on a parking lot along Point Street, and the parking garage across Point Street.

Update: Brown has a Press Release up on their site including a link to an Economic Analysis.

The following letter from Brown University President Christina Paxson, was forwarded to me by a member of the Brown Community:

I am writing to share news that Brown, together with the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Rhode Island College (RIC), is exploring the possibility of partnering with private developer Commonwealth Venture Properties on a comprehensive redevelopment project in Providence’s Jewelry District.

The centerpiece of the project is a renovation of the former South Street Power Station located at 360 Eddy Street, known as “Dynamo House.” Approximately one-half of this space (about 120,000 square feet) would be leased by Brown University for administrative and educational programs; the other half would be leased by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College to house a shared nursing education program. The proposed project also includes an apartment building suitable for graduate, medical and advanced nursing students; retail space; space for start-ups and other small technology-based companies; and a new parking garage.

This week, a joint resolution was introduced in the General Assembly that, if passed, endorses the project in concept and enables URI and RIC to work over the coming months with the developer on a long-term lease agreement, which would require approval by the State Properties Committee and the General Assembly in the next session. The Brown Corporation has endorsed the concept, directing the administration to enter negotiations with the developer on a long-term lease. Assuming the details of these leases are negotiated successfully, we anticipate that construction and renovation would begin in 2014 and the facility would be ready for occupancy in 2016.

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URI/RIC Nursing School at the South Street Power Station?

Dynamo House

Ted Nesi reports for WPRI about the possibility of the South Street Power Station (aka the Dynamo House) being used as the location for the proposed URI/RIC Nursing School.

Yesterday Brown announced their intention to build their expanded School of Engineering on College Hill, ending speculation that Brown would use the old power station located in the Jewelry District.

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ProJo editorializes support for nursing school in the Jewelry District

Kudos to Governor Chafee for sliding into his fiscal 2014 budget proposal $500,000 in state money for design work for an advanced-nursing school in Providence’s Knowledge District. (We still much prefer the more charming and evocative term “Jewelry District.”) The school would be a joint venture of Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. The concept calls for nurses in training to spend their first two years at the RIC or URI nursing schools and then to complete their program at the new facility, presumably taking a year or two to do that.

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ProJo: Six entities interested in 195 land

So far, Rhode Island developer Churchill and Banks has expressed an interest in land on the east side of the Providence River, while University of Rhode Island President David Dooley said the university was considering 195 land on the west side as a site for a nursing school to be jointly operated by URI and Rhode Island College.

Other interested developers have not been identified. Proposals will be announced prior to meetings they are discussed at (meeting notices tend to be posted the Friday afternoon before the Commission’s Monday meetings). Two proposals may be up for discussion at the next meeting which is scheduled for February 11th.

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PBN: URI looking to expand Providence presence

The University of Rhode Island plans to increase its presence in the state’s capital city, according to President David M. Dooley, as part of a strategy to better prepare its students for success as well as help Rhode Island’s economy grow out of the hole it is in.

Speaking at a Rhode Island Foundation media breakfast this morning, URI President Dooley among other things reiterated his desire to locate a joint URI/RIC nursing school in the Jewelry District and called expansion of Commuter Rail to South County ‘essential.’

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Harvard looks to private partners to jump start development in North Allston. A model for Providence?

 

The Boston Globe reports on plans by Harvard University to jump start development on its land in North Allston by teaming up with private partners. The University’s plan would bring in private investors to develop a life sciences complex in the Boston neighborhood across the Charles River from their main Cambridge campus.

Does any of this sound familiar, a large institution, crossing a river, developing life sciences”¦ Of course we’re obsessed right now with the Route 195 land, but the fact is, Brown already has numerous holdings in the Jewelry District, chiefly along Richmond Street, before even going after Route 195 parcels.

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News & Notes

A team of scientists from the University of Rhode Island (URI) has recently published an article describing a self-healing concrete that would be inexpensive to produce. Such concrete could help reduce structure repair costs, lower cement-production carbon emissions, and even save lives, as it will help design safer buildings. [The Future of Things]

Markets Investing In Neighborhood Health — Shop Here
Two corner stores on the Southside of Providence will get a healthy store “makeover” this week thanks to the Providence Healthy Corner Store Initiative (PHCSI), a new initiative that unites Rhode Island farmers, corner store owners, and community residents to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain items, low-salt and low-sugar canned goods, and healthier snacks available in Providence neighborhoods. [Providence Daily Dose]

Paul Krugman: America Goes Dark [The New York Times]

Traffic reduction: An urgent public health priority
Traffic is the leading cause of death among children worldwide and the leading cause of death among 1-34 year olds in the United States. So, why isn’t traffic considered the top threat to public health by the CDC, WHO and federal, state and local governments? [Greater Greater Washington]

The WPA’s legacy in Rhode Island [WPRI Blog]

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Film Screening, “Where Do the Children Play?” (03/30)


Photo (cc) J. Stephen Conn

Documentary and Discussion Ask
‘Where Do the Children Play?’

KINGSTON, RI – A provocative documentary film, “Where Do the Children Play?,” will be shown at a free public screening on Tuesday, March 30 from 7:00-9:00pm at the University of Rhode Island’s new Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences (Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881). The film examines an issue of growing concern among pediatricians, mental health experts, educators and environmentalists: more and more children are growing up today with few opportunities for unstructured play, especially outdoors.

An audience discussion about the ideas explored in the film will follow, led by Providence Children’s Museum director Janice O’Donnell; Meadowbrook Waldorf School faculty chair Su Rubinoff; RI Families in Nature founder and director Jeanine Silversmith; and URI Child Development Center director Sue Warford.

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Building Brown… and URI… and RIC

One of our Facebook fans shared this link with us.

A 40-minute video of Brown University’s assistant vice president for planning, design and construction, Michael McCormick discussing Browns recent campus building and near future plans, including much on the Jewelry District plans. There is a link to a 10-minute condenced version to give you the gist of what he had to say. The video is not embedable, so you’ll have to follow the link over to Brown’s site to view it.

In other Jewelry District News, ProJo reports today that URI and RIC are planning to team up to build a Nursing School on a portion of the land being vacated by Route 195 in the Jewelry District. The plan requires approval by the General Assembly to post a bond measure to voters.

If approved, construction could start in 2012 and be completed by 2013.

URI and RIC each seperately had plans to build nursing schools and will save $10 million by teaming up to build one $60 million facility in the capital city.

URI’s new President, David M. Dooley has stated that he would like to increase the university’s presense in Providence.

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4th Annual Marcia Marker Feld Lecture on Social Justice and the City (04/20)

4th Annual Marcia Marker Feld Lecture on Social Justice and the City
SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE FOR RHODE ISLAND

John Landis, PhD, AICP
Crossways Professor & Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning
University of Pennsylvania

Tuesday April 20th, 2010, 7:00 PM
The University of Rhode Island
Feinstein Providence Campus
80 Washington Street
Providence, Rhode Island

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – PLEASE DISSEMINATE WIDELY
For directions and other information, uri.edu/prov

RSVP: Rosa Carmona-Barros rbarros@uri.edu 401-277-5239

Professor Landis received his B.S. from MIT and his Ph.D. from Berkeley. He taught at URI during the 1980s, and was very popular with students and colleagues alike. He subsequently taught at Berkeley and Georgia Tech, moving to Penn in 2007. His interests span a variety of urban development topics; his recent research and publications focus on growth management, infill housing, and the geography of urban employment centers.

Together with several generations of Ph.D. students, Professor Landis developed the California Urban Futures series of urban growth models. He is currently engaged in a National Science Foundation-funded project to model, forecast, and develop alternative spatial scenarios of U.S. population and employment patterns and their impacts on travel demand, habitat loss, and water use through 2050. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Planning Association and Housing Policy Debate, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute.

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