Greater City Providence
Rendering of 151-155 Chestnut Street

Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – September 9, 2019

drc-roundDowntown Design Review Committee Meeting

Monday, September 9, 2019, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903


Opening Session
  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of July 8, 2019
New Business

1. DRC Application No. 19.28: 144 Dyer Street (Dyer Street Substation) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by The Narragansett Electric Company requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 604.C.4, Fences and Walls, which limits the height of fences to six feet in height. As per Section 604.C.4, the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance relating to fences and walls. The applicant is proposing to install an approximately ten foot high security fence at 144 Dyer Street.

2. DRC Application No. 19.30: 45 Weybosset Street (Hall’s Building) & DRC Application No. 19.31: 94 Washington Street (G.C. Arnold Building) – Proposal by the Avenue Concept to apply paint to unpainted exterior masonry walls of both buildings for future mural installations.

Rendering of 125 Chestnut Street
Rendering of proposal for 125 Clifford Street by Torti Gallas + Partners

3. DRC Application No. 19.32: 125 Clifford Street (I-195 Redevelopment District Parcel 28) – Proposal by EM 28 Providence, LLC to construct a new building consisting of 249 residential units, ground floor retail, and on-site parking. The DDRC will conceptually review the project and make a recommendation to the I- 195 Redevelopment District Commission regarding the building design.

Download: EM 28 Providence, LLC Concept Review Drawing Set
Other Business – Pre-Application Review
Rendering of 151-155 Chestnut Street
Rendering of 151-155 Chestnut Street by Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects

4. 151-155 Chestnut Street – Proposal by Providence Chestnut 1, LLC to demolish the existing buildings and construct a new 12-story building, consisting of 148 residential units and ground floor retail. This item is for discussion only. No action will be taken by the DDRC at this meeting, nor will public comment be taken. The public will have an opportunity to comment once a formal application has been submitted.

Download Providence Chestnut 1, LLC Schematic Design Set

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.


  • Yea the look fantastic but will apartments in these buildings be affordable enough for anyone to live in them? The city of Providence should really be looking at inclusionary zoning. We can’t expect all rents in the city to go down just by relying on YIMBYism.

  • I am so tired of people objecting to a market rate project on the grounds of affordable housing. It is not “this or that”, we can have both. Some developers build affordable housing, some build market rate — stop the battle cry already.

    I could not be happier with this new building “deeper” into the Jewelry District. It is gorgeous and finally the design has balconies. This will pull people towards Point Street, which is a good thing.

    Downtown population keeps increasing, making it more sustainable — this is great.

  • Very happy to see more market rate projects moving forward in the Jewelry District!

    I know people love to see new and shiny buildings being proposed in dusty old Providence, but from a strictly environmental standpoint this design approach is an absolute disaster. Nevermind the extremely high embodied energy represented in all that concrete and steel, the walls of glass present a real problem. This is not unique to this building design, of course, but we need a real course correction for what we consider a cutting edge contemporary building.

    The energy code requires that “walls” have a thermal resistance in the R-20s, but allows “fenestration” to be R-2.6. When you turn all of your walls into fenestration, though, you reduce the thermal resistance of your building by like 90%. Even if they buy the fanciest glass available in this country (which they probably won’t because it is prohibitively expensive), it will top out at around R-6. This means that in the summer this building is going to severely overheat, forcing a super-reliance on mechanical cooling. And in the winter, it will act like a huge fin-tube radiator, pumping heat produced on the inside through the concrete floors (one foot of concrete has a thermal resistance of R-1 to R-2) into the cold outside air.

    Because increasing density is more sustainable in the fullest sense (economically, politically, environmentally) I’m still in favor of a project like this, but I hope architects, developers, and review boards get smarter about environmental design so the environmental gains of increased density don’t get lost out the window.

  • We would need 70 Fane Towers to be built in Providence for the city to recapture its peak population. Providence would also be the most dense of the Top 100 US cities.

    If that doesn’t put into perspective how small minded Rhode Island is at this point, relative to the great State that it was in the past — nothing will.

    These smaller projects should be shoe-in, auto approved. We have a housing crisis, a city solvency crisis, a property tax base crisis, and a wages crisis. We need more urban housing stock, a deeper tax base to offset freeloaders like Brown University, and more businesses to move here for the talent so we can be more self sustaining.

    80 years of Democrat rule has not worked — we have to do things differently, and that should start with a plan to attract more residents to the State of Rhode Island. Let’s support every project that adds density to downtown Providence.

  • @Kiteboarder … sorry to say but the “freeloaders like Brown University” – the colleges and universities in general – are virtually the only thing keeping Providence from being Fall River. Also, try naming a successful and prosperous American city that’s run by Republicans since you’re so quick to blame Democrats for Providence’s shortcomings.

  • Tim, are you saying the presence of universities differentiates Providence? Sure. Even though we have less colleges than Worcester, or Boston, or even Fairfield County, CT — I will agree. In those other cities, the colleges pay to be there, and contribute FAR MORE to the community. Brown couldn’t even raise a lousy $10 million for PVD schools with their $3.8 BILLION endowment. Brown’s annual responsibility should be nearly $40 million. Let’s call the nonprofit “burden” on PVD $80 million when you tally up all of the institutions. This would solve our fiscal issues overnight, and it would not effect the financial aid program for in-state students whatsoever.

    Don’t even attempt to argue Democratic controlled mayorships perform better in the US than Republican administrations. The numbers are not even close. To entertain you, here are the largest Republican ran cities greater than $500K population: San Diego, Jacksonville, Fort Worth, El Paso, Oklahoma City, Fresno, Mesa, Omaha, Colorado Springs, Miami, Virginia Beach, Tulsa, Arlington, Wichita.

    Facts are facts. The Providence fical reports are public info. I would suggest reading up on those before you virtue signal about the societal benefits of the presence of Brown University.

  • Your source that Democrats are bad at running cities is an editorial that cites as its chief data point a graph from the Koch-funded conservative think tank. LOL, okay.

  • Fully ageee…

    I could not be happier with this new building “deeper” into the Jewelry District. It is gorgeous and finally the design has balconies. This will pull people towards Point Street, which is a good thing.

    Downtown population keeps increasing, making it more sustainable — this is great.

    Send an email of support to the DDRC ASAP!!

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