Downtown Design Review Committee Notice of Regular MeetingMonday, December 10, 2018 – 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903
- Call to Order
- Roll Call
- Meeting Minutes of October 1, 2018
- Acceptance of DDRC 2019 Meeting Schedule
- Annual Election of Vice Chair
1. DRC Application No. 18.38: 187?203 Westminster Street (Old Providence Journal Building and Kresge Building) – Proposal by Westminster Partners, LLC to convert both buildings into a new hotel. Work includes construction of a new rooftop penthouse, restoration of building facades, and installation of new storefronts and canopies.
More information about the proposal
Abdo Development of Washington, DC proposes the renovation of the historic Old Providence Journal and Kresge Buildings on Westminster into a 136 room boutique hotel. The hotel will carry the Hotel Hive brand, and feature a ground-level restaurant and bar, a rooftop bar, and a co-working office space on the Fulton Street side.
One of the reasons these buildings have been stubbornly not redeveloped over the years, is they lay out really poorly for apartments. There have been a number of office proposals for them, but our office market is historically weak, and none of those proposals ever came to fruition.
For residential, the layout of the windows and the floor plates are all wrong, and Kresge is downright impossible to do residential in. There are few windows on the street facing facades of the building, and it is very deep.
This hotel proposal is looking to get around the window problem in Kresge by introducing a new light-well at the east side of the building (between it and the Woolworth Building). This shaft, will allow for windows deeper in the building. It probably would not be a good solution for residential, as there will be windows looking at at a wall, but for a hotel, where you’re only staying for a night or few, it should work. The Old ProJo Building already has an atrium in it which will allow for interior rooms in that building to have windows.
Another option that had been floated for redeveloping these buildings was allowing the development of the air rights over them. Basically, the buildings would be hollowed out and a tower would be slid down inside the façades and grow out the top. Once the tower cleared the nieghboring Woolworth Building, it could have windows on that side and would potentially lay out much better. A use would just have to be found for the lower floors.
I don’t think there was ever a serious proposal for this sort of façade-ectomy. Thankfully we now have a proposal to restore the buildings intact. Best of luck to the developers on this project.