Greater City Providence

Fruit and Produce safety hazard

I can haz demo permit?

Read today’s article from The Providence Journal and prepare for your brain to explode.

Some choice nuggets from the article:

Carpionato had agreed to buy the warehouse from the state for $4.3 million in 2005, a price $10 million below what the state paid for it only seven years before.

State officials and preservation advocates say that Carpionato was allowed to buy it at such a low price only because it was sold with the understanding that it would not be demolished.

When the state sold the building to Carpionato, a preservation easement was to be included, contractually protecting the building against destruction. For reasons no one can explain, that key provision was “mysteriously absent” from the final agreement, according to Vicki Veh, interim head of the Providence Preservation Society.

Oopsie! The bankrupt state of Rhode Island sold the property at a rock bottom price and forgot to include the preservation clause. Silly state!

Read on about the usual back and forth between city officials and preservationist about the definition of “unsafe.”

I’m not even going to get into the typical nonsense from former mayor Pavalino in the article.

J. from ArtInRuins posted this rather prescient missive on UrbanPlanet a couple days ago:

  1. Acquire a building that was once used for industry, preferably an obsolete one. These buildings have been known to be situated close to water and shipping lanes, so will have great views which you can exploit later.
  2. Don’t worry if the building was on the National Register, or protected by the State. Don’t listen to the people who may have great ideas to redevelop the project. You don’t want all that hassle and all those “conversations”.
  3. Sit on it. For a long time. It would help if it was already derelict when you bought it because the previous owner was losing money as their industry was becoming obsolete.
  4. Let graffiti accumulate. Hipsters will love it, but they don’t vote. The neighborhood will soon forget about the activity that went on there and the buildings own “glory days”. It will start to look horrible, and they will start to complain about it.
  5. Keep sitting on it. It would help if you complained about the cost of potential renovations while you did so.
  6. Let security around the perimeter go lax. Teenagers will get in, wreck the place, and maybe start a fire or two. If you are lucky, that will take care of it. If not, it becomes a hazard and a public nuisance.
  7. Finally, after years of neglect, declare the place not worth saving, and suggest to the City that they let you demolish it. The city will go along because the neighbors have been complaining, and since you hold the checkbook, they will be too scared to demand anything more from you.
  8. (Optional) Build a parking lot while you “wait for the market to become ripe”
  9. Build something there that won’t last for as long as the building you just let go to waste, but instead will remain shiny and new for about five. Sell it to an out-of-town conglomerate once you’ve made your money, and let them worry about the upkeep.
  10. Rinse. Repeat.

I have more thoughts about all this, but only have the time/energy for this snarky missive at this point.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.