Greater City Providence

Brown Daily Herald: U. considers purchase of historic Jewelry District site

The vacant historical building known as the Dynamo House, located in the Jewelry District, has become the subject of renewed speculation as government and local university officials push to redevelop the neighborhood into a hub of science, technology and research.

The University has “shown interest in (purchasing the Dynamo House), but nothing definite,” said Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.


  • I wouldn’t say this is an ideal use of the building, but Brown would be a welcome tenant at this point. With the hospitals adjacent in South Providence, the Jewelry District is a no-brainer for medical research and education. I’m glad that Brown has been an enthusiastic booster of the area’s growth.

    This struck me:
    “The “profound challenge” of a lack of parking, a common issue in the district, presents another barrier to the building’s use, Kane said.”

    It’s as if no one had ever considered building a parking garage on the endless seas of surface parking that dominate the Jewelry District. It’s apparent that Rhode Islanders refuse to go anywhere without their precious vehicles and that reality needs to be handled in a way that ensures the most efficient use of our urban environment. Would love to see the Biltmore garage be a model for parking-related needs on the I-195 land. There’s already a great crop of small businesses in the Jewelry District and more retail and restaurant tenants would have a much greater effect than a surface lot.

  • It’d be great to see some of the open surface lots in the Jewelry District turned into a garage, but there are a couple challenges to building one over here.

    – Almost all of the streets you’d be using for entrance and exit to a parking garage are very narrow and rush hour loading/unloading of a parking garage is probably going to overload whatever street you put it on.
    – All the properties over here are lots of little parcels owned by different people (my understanding of the situation anyway). Land acquisition for a garage may be tricky. Would need to find a developer willing to take a long-term stance on the building of a structure like that, because I don’t think it’d pay off right away.

    I’m glad that Brown and others are making investments in the neighborhood and probably have a grand vision for it, but I don’t think it’s a great area to encourage more car traffic. The disconnect from Downcity kills a lot of the potential foot traffic too.

  • WPRI reports that Brown plans to expand their Engineering School on land the University already owns on College Hill. There has been speculation that Brown would locate the school in the vacant South Street Power Station (aka the Dynamo House).

    It should be interesting to watch the College Hill neighborhood’s reaction to Brown building 100,000 sq. feet of additional classroom space on this hill, even if it is on land the school already owns.

Providence, RI
5:14 am8:12 pm EDT
Feels like: 72°F
Wind: 7mph SSW
Humidity: 57%
Pressure: 29.86"Hg
UV index: 3
64°F / 50°F
73°F / 54°F
79°F / 57°F