Street View is fun, let’s look at some of what Street View caught Providence building:
RISD Chace Center View Larger Map
Renaissance Providence Hotel | Masonic Temple View Larger Map
The Residences at the Westin Providence View Larger Map
333 Atwells Avenue View Larger Map
Dunkin Donuts Center View Larger Map
Peter Green House | Brown University View Larger Map
Angell Way View Larger Map
Rhode Island Hospital Bridge Building View Larger Map
Providence needs these projects . If your are an out of towner at RISD who thinks he or she knows whats best for our city ,go back home. This city was built on ideas.Providence is in it’s most invigorating period since the 1800’s Step back and go back to your mid-western rust towns and learn a bit of New England know how .Go build your Daytons and Youngstowns!
It would be interesting to see updated images of those now completed projects, plus the others were not shown in the Jan. 7, 2008 post that were built over the last couple of years. With the complaints all have made about the hand full of empty lots or stopped renovations that were not built there were plenty that were both public and private. Manhattan has well over 200 sites where old buildings were demolished and whose sites now sit as either empty lots, completed foundations with piles-caps, or empty cellars partly filled with water all surrounded by plywood sheet fences. There are empty finished residential towers in South Florida, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Seattle along with numerous half constructed projects. Providence is not alone in this plight and in some ways may be more fortunate that there wasn’t more damage done in the wake of the recent construction boom.
The issue isn’t so much that the vacant lots and parking lots exist right now, it’s the knowledge that even when the economy recovers, they’re likely to remain parking lots anyway, because there are absolutely no incentives to redevelop them once the buildings are gone.
For example: there used to be a series of 3 very early commercial blocks that occupied the block bounded by Weybosset, Chapel, Empire, and Snow Streets. They were built in 1830, 1840, and 1850 respectively, and were torn down in 1990 and turned into “temporary” parking lots right before the state credit union crisis. They are still parking lots today.
Cory, Agreed, there should be incentives such as tax abatements, increased or unlimited height limits, and increased number of dwelling units per lot area or even the adoption of a Zoning Floor Area system that would better create understandable value in properties to developers and the city. Also a relaxation of parking and loading requirements (on site or in the building), elimination of setback requirements and of the so called appropriate materials that is in the zoning text, that all add substantial costs. Even, creating some as-of-right districts within downtown that are not subject to any review process by a board would help development. Disincentives could be taxes or even fines on surface or vacant lots after a specified period of time, a daily parking space tax or surcharge on surface parking lots, or fines for the neglect or demolition of historic buildings.
The following quote is from a post, dated 11/18/2009 9:49 pm, from Pseudo_Work on Urbanplanet.org regarding surface parking lots, if true tragically no matter how much optimism there may be about rebuilding the city, there are interests that want the reverse to occur. Providence desperately needs its own Jane Jacobs to appear on the scene before more is lost and replaced by asphalt:
“Frankly, it would be as simple as changing the zoning so that parking was no longer a conforming use downtown, or instituting a tax on it. However, that will never happen because Joey P owns most of the lots. Let me tell you a story about him.
A few years ago, when he bought the Cranston Street trolley barn, a friend of mine had her letter to the editor of the Providence Journal published in the paper, where she talked about his pattern of knocking down buildings for temporary parking which becomes permanent, and how the trolley barn would fall soon if nothing was done to stop it. Shortly after that, she got a phone call from him at 6:30 A.M. on a Saturday, during which he said that “if she doesn’t like it, then she should get the governor to get his ass down here, and move the state police barracks into my building”, and hung up. It came down, predictably, after suffering a period of neglect.
Zoning will never change because Joey will put a hit out on every member of city council, or at least ruin every one of their careers personally (that is, if they’re not already in on it themselves). It sounds like a cartoonish and antiquated story, but it’s the truth, and I certainly don’t blame a single one of them for being scared of him. Until someone’s willing to take a bullet, we’ll just have to wait around until he and his thugs are gone by attrition. They’re the ones who are really running the city, not the mayor.”