Greater City Providence

Downcity Design Review Committee – January 12, 2009

MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 2009 4:45 PM
Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Auditorium
400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

Call to Order
Roll Call
Approval of Meeting Minutes: November 10, 2008

Project Review

1. Case No. 09.01 159 Weybosset Street Smith/Mathewson Building
Proposal to renovate the exterior of the building, rebuild rooftop penthouse, and add new window openings on the east elevation of the building.


159 Weybosset is the building that American Apparel is in:

View Larger Map

I assume the east elevation is where the Downcity Diner Building used to be. Wanting to put windows in that elevation must indicate no one is too hopeful of that parcel being redeveloped soon.

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.


  • Safe to say that it could use a renovation. Good to see any amount of investment in the current economic environment.

  • Yes, given the economy I don’t think we’ll see anything built on the Downcity Diner site anytime soon. So it would be best to see the east facade of this building fixed. I did notice a while ago that new curb cuts were installed on the Eddy Street side of the Downcity Diner lot. 🙁

  • …how else can (parked) cars access the lot, silly!!

    Think of the children, I mean parking shortage.

  • OK, so the deal with the renovations and new facade really is to plan for a future expansion, just not right now. The same owner now owns this building and the adjacent corner lot where Downcity Diner was.

    There will be new stairwells that can serve a doubled building, and the current building is getting totally new internal structure so that the east facade with all the windows will be non-structural. Thus that wall can be taken away to create bigger floor plates with minimal fuss eventually. A smart plan akshuly.

    (And yes it was approved by DDRC).

  • Thanks for the update xine. It does sound like a good plan. Were they proposing any temporary use for the vacant lot?

  • Oh, parking of course.

    But they indicated they may submit a proposal soon for a very small “liner” building facing Weybosset which could potentially be incorporated into a future addition. Stay tuned, that would need to come before the DDRC separately.

  • Yay! The Parking Crisis will be over!

    I guess that liner building would have to be pretty damn small to leave room for parking behind it. Hopefully I can make it to DRC when/if they present that, sounds interesting. It is heartening to see that the owners of 159 Weybosset are looking to take care of it. That east facade (which wasn’t meant to be exposed) is in some pretty rough shape. They could just let it rot until the building became a “public safety hazard” and needed an “emergency demo permit” for even more parking.

Providence, RI
6:08 am7:23 pm EDT
Feels like: 50°F
Wind: 17mph S
Humidity: 95%
Pressure: 29.38"Hg
UV index: 1
55°F / 43°F
63°F / 48°F
68°F / 45°F