Greater City Providence

Capital Center Commission Meeting – December 10, 2014

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903


The second phase of Capitol Cove is proposed for the area to the right of the existing building. Image from Google Street View


  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of October 8, 2014
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of August 19, 2014
  3. Acceptance of 2015 CCC Meeting Schedule
  4. Parcel 6: Building B – Request for approval to construct a new apartment building (Building B). Buildings A and B of the Capitol Cove Project were previously approved by the Commission in 2003. Building A was completed in 2008.
  5. Parcel 9: GTECH Building – Request for approval to conduct exterior building alterations, install new signage and landscaping for The Capital Grille.
  6. District Maintenance Issues
  7. Adjournment

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.


  • Is the collapsed ped bridge being rebuilt as part of this, by the city or by the developer?

  • That was never meant to be a pedestrian bridge, it is a remnant from the building that used to span the river. It will probably be torn down, I believe the property owner has agreed to maintain the riverwalk, I don’t know where rotting building remnants fall in that agreement.

  • I’d imagine it has been worked on some since then, but something like that. The existing building has 96 units and my understanding is the new one has 169, so we could maybe expect it to be a bit larger.

  • Wow, Phase II is getting really close to the tracks. I wonder what the noise will be like.

  • People live above and next to subway and live rail in major cities across the county from NYC to Chicago. If anything the trans that run through Providence Station have a hum and a few bells (and dare I say whistles?). I think there were some variances related to the proximity of the track which should help to dispel any noise coming from below, however, people will pay to live close, if not above transit.

  • PS. I’m excited for this to be built and even more excited for when the future inter-modal comes to fruition next door.

  • I used to live near the B & O Railroad, about half a block away, and it wasn’t so bad. Came through at 4 AM, but never woke me up. The MBTA trains don’t even run that late.

    On the other hand, the front street is awfully fast! For me, if I was someone with money to move into one of these things, what I’d want was some traffic calming. I’d be way less concerned about the train (which is a positive, right?).

    I have no idea if the builders on projects read blog media related to what they’re working on, much less the snarky comments sections thereof, but I hope that the developers/city will strongly consider putting in a small ped bridge where those remains are. It would really improve the street. And that street is too wide. Protected bike lanes? Some ped islands?

  • The original plans for the project had a street running between the two buildings and over the river, we’ll see if that is still part of the plan I guess. I’d like to see some sort of structure at the other end to get pedestrians up onto Smith Street. On the project’s side of the river, Smith Street is already working its way up the hill to the the bridge over the tracks, so some sort of ramp structure would need to be created to get pedestrians up there.

  • There used to be a rickety little wooden staircase up to Smith St when that was a gritty weedy parking lot.

    I hate that 4 lane speedway south from Smith Street. Back when they were getting ready to move the rivers and all, I tried to suggest making Canal St zag across the river at Smith St so the park would be along the river. Remove the wall on that side and restore a natural shoreline.

  • The Capital Center Commission approved Capitol Cove Building B today. The new building is called “The Commons at Providence Station.” It features 169 apartments with 169 structured parking spaces. The developer will improve and maintain the riverwalk with a landscaped ramp and stair structure up to Smith Street.

  • I wonder how much the parking adds to the cost. If a tenant didn’t want to own a car
    (quite possible at this location) and thus not need a parking space, do they get a lower rent?

  • Barry – this building actually includes fewer parking spaces than the original 2003 proposal. In the current plans, there are 169 apartments and 169 spaces. In the original plan, there were only 164 apartments and 221 parking spaces.

  • @Eric. Do we know if the reduced parking is in response to the new re-zoning? Would be quite interesting and a good example as to why [parking] minimums shouldn’t be required if so. Just curious.

  • I think they simply decided they didn’t need to provide as much parking, from a business perspective, to apartment units as they felt they did for condos. Sadly, I imagine they will learn that they probably only need half as much as they are planning to build. They’ll likely end up renting the overage to other area residents and/or commuters.

    If they end up with a substantial overage, that should impact parking needs at the third phase, if ever built.

  • Does anyone remember the name of the building or company of years ago that took up the space where these two building are located? I want to say produce or meats. I was too young to remember. Were they connected to the railroads?

  • You know, there was a great article on this site a few months back about demanding more to get better development. Reading through the comments, I feel like some folks may have taken that message a bit too much to heart.

    Do I think this type of construction is ugly? Absolutely. But I think demanding more should be about use and utilization first, design a distant third.

    I wish it had less parking, especially with proximity to the train and busses that go up Main Street right to Whole Foods. I also suspect they will find that they overbuilt the parking on this round. But hopefully they will be successful and this can lead to the third Phase where parking can be lowered dramatically and take advantage of the excess.

    My guess is at least 50% of renters will want cars, but probably not more than 80%, particularly if they lowered the rent for those without cars. FWIW, my condo building has no problems selling or renting in the 18 (of 26) units without parking, although virtually all of those without a deeded spot in our small lot rent a space from the copious nearby surface lots.

  • I think someone who lives in your building may actually park in my copious Federal Hill parking lot, where no one who lives here has a car.

Providence, RI
5:33 am8:10 pm EDT
Feels like: 70°F
Wind: 0mph W
Humidity: 97%
Pressure: 30.07"Hg
UV index: 0
82°F / 61°F
84°F / 64°F
86°F / 66°F