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tocoto
01-27-2007, 11:48 AM
Since Providence is now officially part of the Boston metro, it seems appropriate to include new developments there in this forum. In case anyone is interested (and doesn't already know) there are a lot of interesting projects going on there.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=325040

justin
01-27-2007, 12:19 PM
I'd say it's more appropriate to put it under 'Architecture and Urban Planning'; official designation or not, it definitely is too far, physically and psychologically, from Boston to be included here.

justin

palindrome
01-27-2007, 12:36 PM
maybe a separate forum for its own. Even then, do we have anyone here who could really contribute enough to justify a new forum. Also with that, you open the floodgates to more forums being created which would make it messy around here.

kz1000ps
01-27-2007, 01:37 PM
Wouldn't "Northern and Greater New England" be the most logical place for a Providence thread? I think of "Architecture and Urban Planning" as a catch-all for anything outside of NE, so Providence wouldn't fit there but I definitely don't think it belongs in the main Boston forum for reasons Justin cited, and there currently isn't enough demand around here to justify creating an entirely separate sub-forum. Plus, when you break things up into sub-forum after sub-forum, people are less likely to click on each one which leads to some topics being neglected.

If we really need to, just drop "Northern and-" from the title.

czsz
01-27-2007, 02:25 PM
It is somewhat absurd to have a forum devoted to Northern New England when there's such an abundance of construction in Providence (and presumably other New England cities not in NH or Maine). I concur with "drop the Northern"...I was surprised when I visited Providence recently and the skyline seemed to have doubled itself without any representation on this forum.

briv
01-27-2007, 04:43 PM
It is somewhat absurd to have a forum devoted to Northern New England when there's such an abundance of construction in Providence (and presumably other New England cities not in NH or Maine). I concur with "drop the Northern"...

Done. If things are as happening in Providence as you make them out to be, I have no problem with giving the city its own forum, as well. I just havent seen many Providence posts around here, so the thought never really occurred to me.

KentXie
01-27-2007, 05:45 PM
I think we should make a sticky for all official development threads such as this one, similar to the way it is done on SSC so it will be more organized and would not fade away.

Ron Newman
01-27-2007, 11:48 PM
We used to have a regular contributor who posted about nothing but Providence. I miss him and wish he would return here.

Patrick
01-28-2007, 06:44 AM
1. There is already a providence construction thread in the greater and northern new england forum section. It is entitled "The Other "P" City" started by castevens

http://architecturalboston.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=88

2. The reason there is a separate forum for northern new england type cities and not necessarily for providence is because at the time the site was re-done a bit a few months ago (when the northern was added) there were tons of posts about portland, manchester, and nashua eating up the "other cities" section, and only a few off and on again posts about providence.

There is a lot of development in san dieago, too, a lot more than in maine and NH. why dont we make a san diego forum because of that fact? because no one would post in it.

There are ten times the posts for northern new england cities and their environs than there are for providence, regardless of the development disparity that exists between these two areas.

tocoto
01-28-2007, 02:42 PM
1. There is already a providence construction thread in the greater and northern new england forum section. It is entitled "The Other "P" City" started by castevens

http://architecturalboston.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=88

2. The reason there is a separate forum for northern new england type cities and not necessarily for providence is because at the time the site was re-done a bit a few months ago (when the northern was added) there were tons of posts about portland, manchester, and nashua eating up the "other cities" section, and only a few off and on again posts about providence.

There is a lot of development in san dieago, too, a lot more than in maine and NH. why dont we make a san diego forum because of that fact? because no one would post in it.

There are ten times the posts for northern new england cities and their environs than there are for providence, regardless of the development disparity that exists between these two areas.

I had some of the same thoughts you mention before posting this thread. Providence is part of the Boston metro while San Diego is not, making Providence more interesting to most of us here. Anyway, having threads for individual, active New England cities makes sense because a lot of people interested in development frequent these sites. By having a thread especially for Providence, I hope we can get some interest and contribution from people who live in nearby cities. It's no disparagement of other cities. I simply wanted to add one of the bigger cities that, although they are experiencing a boom, we hear almost nothing about it here.

Patrick
01-28-2007, 05:25 PM
Makes sense. However I can imagine a scenario in which a new Forum is made for providence and nobody posts regularly, while Portland (by far the second most active topic on the board) remains lumped in with "everything in new england outside of boston." Just seems odd to make a forum for providence when there is no demand for it, at least no visible demand. But I will not mind either way, whatever works for everyone else is fine by me.

Ron Newman
01-28-2007, 05:44 PM
If we get lots of threads for Providence or any other single city, it can have its own forum. Until then, let's just leave it all here.

czsz
01-28-2007, 08:57 PM
Solution: those obsessed with Portsmouth, Portland, and Manchester three-decker construction can move to Providence and post copiously about the massive construction happening there. :)

czsz
01-28-2007, 08:57 PM
Solution: those obsessed with every new Portsmouth, Portland, or Manchester three-decker can move to Providence and post copiously about the massive construction happening there instead. :)

Scott
01-30-2007, 03:20 PM
There is a lot of development info about Providence at Urban Planet:
http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showforum=141

kmp1284
12-31-2007, 12:05 AM
I was in Providence on Friday and Saturday and took a few seconds to grab these shots of the Westin addition, something that's name escapes me and the GTech building, all completed of late. It's too bad we don't have anybody from Providence on this board, it's quite the city, definitely second only to Boston in New England in terms of development, culture, dining and everything else really. I haven't been there much lately as I've been spending most of my time between Boston, New York and Houston(vomit) but it's really improved a lot since I last spent a night there in 2005.

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s12/kmp1284/1228071459.jpg
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s12/kmp1284/1228071455a.jpg
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s12/kmp1284/1228071455.jpg
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s12/kmp1284/1228071338.jpg

TheBostonian
12-31-2007, 06:24 AM
I make excuses to visit Providence now and then. The city seems very healthy when it comes not only to new development but also a number of major downtown renovation projects. Impressively, though, Providence would be a delightful city even without the new stuff.

ablarc
12-31-2007, 03:16 PM
Have they gotten rid of all those parking lots yet?

TheBostonBoy
01-01-2008, 12:26 PM
Ya, Providence is a great city, I like the downtown, and the atmosphere in Federal Hill is great. I love the prominent Italian culture down there, maybe it's just because I am Italian, but it still helps make the city very vibrant. I was excited for One Ten to be built, but I heard on skyscraperpage that it got canceled. Is this definitely true? If so, that is very disappointing.

kmp1284
01-01-2008, 06:06 PM
It's true, but they are still going to build a 22 floor W hotel on the site. There was a link off the Wikipedia page but the page seems to have been deleted.

Corey
01-02-2008, 12:33 PM
Things are looking good down there, I would love to visit.

czsz
01-02-2008, 04:05 PM
Lost parking lots are wonderful, but I think Providence needs to start thinking about its streetscapes as much as its canals: the Fidelity building could hardly be more indifferent to its surrounds (or, at least, does very little to contribute to them). It screams "I am anywhere, I am everywhere".

castevens
05-07-2008, 07:55 PM
We used to have a regular contributor who posted about nothing but Providence. I miss him and wish he would return here.

Meh, I moved to Boston from there and never looked back until now. But I'm back outside of Providence for the summer, so I guess I'll start up again! I might take the camera into the city tomorrow

Lrfox
05-07-2008, 08:01 PM
Good. As a SouthCoast resident, I spend a lot of time in providence (I live 25 minutes from town). I also lived for 2 years on George St. so I'm very familiar with the town. I actually didn't even know we had a Prov. thread here. castevens, i think you'll find that the downcity skyline has changed drastically over the past few years, the G-Tech building (with a Ruth Chris Steakhouse), the new Westin residential tower, and the the new Waterplace towers really add some depth and scale. While OneTen was cancelled, there are plans to build a 22 story tower on the site.

I look forward to updates here.

castevens
05-09-2008, 02:23 PM
I didn't go yesterday because it was overcast all day (I hear it was sunny in Boston though). I had to go to the Providence Place Mall today for Mother's Day shopping, but it was pouring the whole time I was there, so I left the camera in the car. I'll go again soon though.

castevens
05-14-2008, 04:59 PM
I parked in the Providence Place Mall today and spent about an hour walking around the city and taking a few photos along the way.

The first thing I noticed after emerging from the mall was some new construction going on behind the Waterplace buildings:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4775.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4776.jpg

This is looking the other way from the construction.

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4777.jpg

All four major buildings in the shot (Westin tower, blue GTECH building, PP Mall, and the Marriot) were built within the last few years. The city is really getting much larger, more urban, and better.

So then I turned the corner and was right underneath the two brand new (still being finished) Waterplace towers (Waterplace I and II)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4778.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4780.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4782.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4784.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4785.jpg

After crossing the river, I came across this sign. I wonder how it got there... I guess someone hit it?

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4786.jpg

behind the Waterplace towers, there was another construction site. This building was fairly large and seems to be made entirely by wood (with some concrete on the very end only?)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4787.jpg

More Waterplace while heading to Kennedy Plaza

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4788.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4789.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4790.jpg

A fountain in Kennedy Plaza with the City Hall in the background:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4791.jpg

The just-completed new Westin tower. I guess Arnold Swartzenegger's kid who's going to Brown has the top floor, or something?

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4795.jpg

This is what's there so far in the construction site of the canceled tallest building in Providence, one ten providence. It will now be replaced by a much much smaller W hotel (22 stories)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4796.jpg

The county courthouse across the river

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4797.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4799.jpg

In the foreground is the current I-195 bridge, and in the background is the new I-195 bridge. Westbound traffic coming from 95N can already use the new bridge.

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4798.jpg

The city from the south

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4801.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4802.jpg

and the reflections in the water:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4804.jpg

Now I'm walking up N Main street back toward the Mall

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4807.jpg

I come across the first Baptist Church in America

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4809.jpg

and a pretty house next to it...

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4810.jpg

I thought this might be a movie prop too, it doesnt look like a normal police car:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4811.jpg

More pictures:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4814.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4816.jpg

The backside of that almost-all-wood building from before:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4817.jpg

The other side again, from the train station:

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4821.jpg

And back to where I started!

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/castevens12/DSC_4820.jpg



There!

palindrome
05-14-2008, 05:03 PM
Wow, what a cool little city. Those waterplace towers are gorgeous IMO (wish those were going up at FP!)

Thanks for the pics!

TheBostonBoy
05-14-2008, 06:00 PM
Providence really is beautiful...it is great to have a medium sized, good looking city like Providence right near Boston. I wish One Ten didn't get canceled though! That would have been a great tower for Providence.

Frankie811
05-15-2008, 04:36 AM
Another hotel proposed for Providence


Warwick Mall owner and former Cranston City Council President Aram G. Garabedian is partnering with Massachusetts and New Hampshire developers to build an extended-stay Residence Inn across from the Garrahy court house. http://www.projo.com/ri/providence/content/MC_RESIDENCE_05-13-08_NNA438P_v41.3576e03.html

shawn
05-15-2008, 06:49 AM
Waterplace came out so well, those towers are gorgeous! Why cant we get something of that quality in the Seaport? Their heights are within what's allowed . . .

Lrfox
05-15-2008, 12:15 PM
I love Providence. Since I'm home I may go take some photo's of my old stomping grounds (George St. on the East Side) and the surrounding areas (heck, maybe I'll head over to Atwell's Ave and shoot some of Federal Hill too) tomorrow if there are no objections. I do love the Waterplace Towers, and It's incredible what's been going on downcity in the past 5 years or so. The new Ruth Chris at the G-Tech Building will give Flemming's across the way a run for it's money too, but a little competition isn't bad.

Great photo's KZ, I've always loved that house next to the baptist church.

castevens
05-16-2008, 10:17 AM
Does KZ take so many photos that you just assume that it was him that took them?!? hmph.

Lrfox
05-16-2008, 10:24 AM
ehem.... my bad. I had just finished going through all of his photos of all of the other Boston developments when I posted that, so apparently, yes; I do just assume that it was him.

No, I knew it was you, just for some reason I typed, "KZ."

Allow me to correct myself: *THANK YOU, CASTEVENS FOR SHARING YOUR PHOTOS****

castevens
05-16-2008, 03:22 PM
haha thanks!

Corey
05-20-2008, 08:01 AM
Yes, thanks for the nice shots Castevens, Providence looks like a great city, especially in the summer.

Frankie811
05-20-2008, 09:20 AM
The new Waterfire Providence schedule is up. http://www.waterfire.org/season-schedule/2008-schedule

Frankie811
05-27-2008, 11:19 AM
Projo.com photos from this weekends Waterfire:

http://www.projo.com/slideshow/2008/0524_daily/

Lrfox
05-28-2008, 02:36 PM
^Good pictures. I have to get back to one of those.

Frankie811
06-21-2008, 06:31 AM
Bill would resuscitate downtown skyscraper plan.

The One-Ten Westminster Project was first proposed in 2005 as a 32-story, 130-condo development costing $90 million. Its original completion date blew by last year, but the construction site on Westminster Street is still an empty lot.

http://www.projo.com/ri/providence/content/DOWNTOWN_HOTEL_06-20-08_D2AJ87V_v14.40422f6.html

Frankie811
06-21-2008, 06:37 AM
Bill would resuscitate downtown skyscraper plan.

The One-Ten Westminster Project was first proposed in 2005 as a 32-story, 130-condo development costing $90 million. Its original completion date blew by last year, but the construction site on Westminster Street is still an empty lot.

http://www.projo.com/ri/providence/content/DOWNTOWN_HOTEL_06-20-08_D2AJ87V_v14.40422f6.html



http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3105/2597659766_51ec8c63c3_o.jpg

Frankie811
06-21-2008, 08:44 AM
A last-minute plan to grant a tax break for a proposed downtown hotel project seemed to have fallen apart yesterday afternoon after legislators realized that the developer was seeking a tax break larger than what had been previously approved.

http://www.projo.com/news/content/HOTEL_PROJECT_06-21-08_U2AJKVF_v17.3cce569.html

Lrfox
10-09-2008, 03:55 PM
A few updates.

I think it's been mentioned that OneTen, the proposed tower on Westminster has been cancelled and will likely be replaced by a different 22 story tower.

Blue Cross Rhode Island Headquarters will be 325,000sqft and 12 stories when completed. It's immediately adjacent to the New Waterplace Condos which are in the background of the photo. (Both the rendering and the photo are from wikipedia.org):
http://img32.picoodle.com/img/img32/3/10/9/f_bluecrossprm_0f9ee27.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/10/9/f_bluecrossprm_0f9ee27.jpg&srv=img32)

and construction status as of Aug 2008:
http://img32.picoodle.com/img/img32/3/10/9/f_bluecrossprm_153a339.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/10/9/f_bluecrossprm_153a339.jpg&srv=img32)

Empire at Broadway is a 22 story office tower slated for completion in 2010. It will repace an abandoned fire station. Wikipedia incorrectly states that it will be the "tallest office building in Providence" when completed when in fact it will only be the tallest in a few decades. It'll likely be the 5th or 6th tallest when completed following the Bank of America Building, One Financial, both Weston towers, and the Textron tower. Both renderings are taken from wikipedia:

http://img33.picoodle.com/img/img33/3/10/9/f_Empireatbrom_856ef24.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/10/9/f_Empireatbrom_856ef24.jpg&srv=img33)

**Edit** I also figured I'd mention that the "Prince of Providence" himself, Buddy Cianci, makes his home in the new Waterplace Condos now. A movie based on the book, "Prince of Providence" is due in theaters in 2009 staring Oliver Platt as Cianci and starring Robin Williams as an unnamed character (Prince of Providence on IMDB).

I have to say I love Providence. I think that aside from Boston (and probably Cambridge), no other New England city rivals it in terms of Arts, Culture, Dining, Entertainment, Education, etc. The varying architecture of the different, distinct neighborhoods is stunning; and the cultural and ethnic diversity really make Providence a fantastic place to be. I make a point of going every time I'm home for a weekend and I'll start trying to remember to bring my camera.

TheBostonBoy
10-18-2008, 12:20 PM
I wish OneTen hadn't ever gotten canceled =(
But thanks for all the info!
and please do remember your camera, I would love to see some newer pictures of Providence! It really is a great city, definitely my favorite in New England after Boston

Frankie811
12-21-2008, 06:21 AM
Notice to Lrfox: " Buddy " Cianci does not live in the Waterplace condos. He lives at Providence Place, which was formely named Jefferson at Providence Place before being sold to another former mayor, Joe Paolino. It only took me two months to notice your post. :) Oh, Buddy is also a salesman for the condo building.

Lrfox
12-23-2008, 05:11 PM
^Good to know. I read that somewhere online... guess not everything on the internet is true after all! thanks.

Also, I "found" a GREAT site from Providence development (much more active community than on here) called Greater City: Providence. It's not all develpment, but much of it is and includes some great photos as well as blog entries. One of the more recent posts was complete with photos of the facadectomy and construction of a new downtown hotel... it looks nice so far. here's the link: http://www.gcpvd.org/

Recently, a member posted this terrific shot of the Federal Hill neighborhood: http://img33.picoodle.com/img/img33/3/12/23/f_31219058666m_93ed818.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/12/23/f_31219058666m_93ed818.jpg&srv=img33)

also a good prov. community over at urban planet:
http://www.urbanplanet.org/UP.Dynamic/providence.php

Josh
12-27-2008, 01:50 PM
Anyone know anything about the InterContinental Providence? It says that it will be 17 stories but in the renderings it looks more like 10 :confused:

Frankie811
01-01-2009, 09:43 AM
Anyone know anything about the InterContinental Providence? It says that it will be 17 stories but in the renderings it looks more like 10 :confused:

I wouldn't count too much on that project getting dome. It's been in the works by two different developers for years. There's a problem with the foundation. Remember this land use to be a part of a river years ago. It may be too difficult and expensive to develop parcel 12 in the capital center district.

http://www.carpionatoproperties.com/propspec.asp?PID=hot-10102&Type=2http://http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3262/3155712411_3d7224e1b1_o.jpg

Josh
01-01-2009, 05:17 PM
Ah that's too bad.

Lrfox
01-19-2009, 06:36 PM
Update on the South Street Power Plant Conversion:


The transformation of South Street Station

http://img19.picoodle.com/img/img19/3/1/19/f_lr0118dynamm_21dcf3c.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/1/19/f_lr0118dynamm_21dcf3c.jpg&srv=img19)

01:00 AM EST on Sunday, January 18, 2009

By Philip Marcelo

Journal Staff Writer

The new hotel, once a power plant owned and operated by the former Narragansett Electric Co., will offer a panoramic view of Providence and the upper Bay.

The Providence Journal / Frieda Squires

PROVIDENCE ? On a frigid afternoon last week, Kenneth Orenstein stood on the icy ground inside a vacant power station and tilted his head upward.

The wind howled through massive spaces in the building?s brickwork where sunlight will one day illuminate through large glass windows.

This space, he signaled with a wave of his hand, is to be a soaring atrium, the great entryway and showcase space of Heritage Harbor, a museum that will tell Rhode Island?s history through the eyes of the diverse cultures that created it.

?It?s going to be dramatic,? said Orenstein, the museum?s interim executive director.

After months of work gutting the insides, there are outward signs that the project to reinvent the hulking former power plant on South Street is taking shape.

A 100-ton capacity crane has taken up residence on South Street. Steelworkers are laying beams atop the 100-foot high building for a hotel that will have views of the downtown skyline.

But the Dynamo House, the given name for the hotel-restaurant-museum envisioned for the Jewelry District property, is not yet all there.

The 350,000-square-foot space is more cavernous now that all the remnants of the building?s previous incarnation ? the structural supports for boilers and steam turbines ? have been removed. The ground floor, which is just bare ground in places, is a skating rink of rock solid ice. Viewed from afar, it looks very much like the same abandoned power plant.

It has taken a year to get to this point. By the end of 2009, officials hope, the building will be a fully realized, seven-story structure, although one not ready for occupation. The museum won?t open until June 2010, and the hope is the hotel will be open by March 2010.

The bustle of construction, especially through the coldest part of the year, are welcome sights and sounds in the city, which once had a skyline filled with such cranes and a glut of building projects that provided a steady stream of work.

Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse, the company that is developing the project, says it is expected to bring in 150 construction jobs over the next year (there are currently 35 workers on site). When it opens, the museum will have a staff of at least 50. So when Joseph Alex, the project?s development director, opens a recent conversation with the line ?this is an exciting and challenging project,? it?s an understatement.

The project is, in fact, one of the most significant things happening in the city, the silver lining in the gloomy overcast. The symbol that Providence, the Renaissance City, has still got it.

Outside, the Dynamo House appears to be one solid mass of brick, but it?s actually a complex of three buildings that dates back nearly a century under the ownership of the Narragansett Electric Co., now part of National Grid.

Decommissioned in the 1990s, it had been in disuse for so long that the company intended to demolish it. But the building was donated in whole about a decade ago to the Heritage Harbor Museum, a then-newly formed coalition of 19 historical preservation and cultural societies in the state.

The goal was to build a museum and a permanent home for all those disparate organizations. The state went to voters for approval of a $25-million general obligation bond for the project in 2000, but it was rejected.

The museum group soon found it was financially in over its head. Struever Bros., a major for-profit developer, stepped in and the Dynamo House, a name echoing the building?s days as a power station (dynamo is the original moniker of the electrical generator), was born.

A Baltimore-based company, Struever Bros. has made its name in the city with major redevelopments of historic structures, including the Rising Sun Mills apartment lofts in Olneyville and the American Locomotive Works, a mixed-use development under construction on Valley Street.

The company agreed to purchase the building from the museum, developing about 55,000 square feet on two floors for the museum and allowing the organization to operate there rent-free once it?s open.

The rest of the former power plant will house a 171-room hotel on the top two floors, a restaurant on the ground level, and leased office space on three levels. The total cost of the project is at least $150 million.

Alex, the project?s development director, says the company is finishing up the initial ?stabilization? phase of work, in which it poured a new foundation and removed a latticework of steel beams and columns. The next phase is the interior improvements for the hotel and museum.

?There?s been an extraordinary amount of work done by Struever that just can?t be seen from the outside,? says Orenstein, who has been taking tours of people curious about the building?s progress onto the site for the past year. ?They removed an inordinate amount of steel and this massive floor in the turbine room. It took a great amount of time and labor to remove everything.?

Massive glass windows are being specially fabricated and should be in by mid-February, he says.

The Dynamo House hotel is slated to bear Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide?s aloft brand, a type of hotel that, according to Starwood, aims for a generally hip, social atmosphere. It features loft-like rooms with tech-savvy touches.

The return of the plant?s smokestacks, as decorative pieces, is still up in the air, however, Alex says. Those stacks, which are shown in all the promotional material of the museum and hotel, were removed by the power company prior to the station?s decommissioning.

Alex says the project, despite rumors to the contrary, is on secure financial footing.

The project?s primary financial lender is Citibank Community Development Bank, a division of the troubled Citigroup, of New York. The turmoil of that financial corporation has not affected the developer?s cash flow, says Alex, and the Dynamo House project is moving as scheduled.

?The overall economic conditions are affecting us, we?re certainly no different from anyone else, but we?re dealing with it,? he says.

The other major sources of revenue for the project were federal and state tax credits for historic preservation, which are basically direct, dollar-for-dollar discounts on the amount of tax owed to the state and federal governments.

But Rhode Island made major revisions to its tax-credit program effective last year that reduced the tax discount, forcing developers such as Struever Bros. to rethink the way they financed their projects.

Struever lost nearly $8 million in savings as a result of the changes, according to Edward F. Sanderson, executive director of the state Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, which manages the federal and state tax-credit programs.

Alex says the company has made financial adjustments as a result of the decrease in anticipated aid, but declined to elaborate.

Meanwhile, there are big plans for the state museum, which is an idea that has been floated for nearly two decades.

Albert Klyberg, a member of the museum?s board of directors, says the museum will be an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, the national museum foundation based in Washington, D.C.

It will house a permanent collection of artifacts about Rhode Island?s history. There will also be a 10,000-square-foot space for traveling exhibits on loan from the Smithsonian, the only sort of arrangement in the state. ?The association with the Smithsonian elevates us to a New England regional attraction,? he says.

The museum has about $6.3 million more to raise of its $30 million costs toward the project. That includes the amount it will take to build exhibits.

Last month, the museum issued its first quarterly newsletter, the Heritage Voyage, and mailed it to potential donors, members and grant foundations. On its cover, the headline: ?The museum begins.?

In other news the office building at 380 Westminster sold for $22 Million
http://www.projo.com/ri/providence/content/BZ_WESTMINSTER_SALE_16_01-17-09_QQCVMBC_v18.3831aa9.html

Also, Providence Place Mall is for sale according to the owner, General Growth Properties:
http://www.projo.com/ri/providence/content/BZ_PROVPLACE_FORSALE_01-13-09_D9CUCMF_v9.315372e.html

*EDIT* For those who don't know, THIS is the Power Plant in Question:

http://img37.picoodle.com/img/img37/3/1/20/f_southstreetm_53603bc.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/1/20/f_southstreetm_53603bc.jpg&srv=img37)

(picture by "madpics" on flickr... link: http://flickr.com/photos/madpics/1527971124/)

G-Man
02-03-2009, 09:36 PM
Nice to see some coverage of my hometown. Just for clarification, the Dynamo House is not the power plant with the three smokestacks. That's the Manchester St. Station, still an active power plant that was repowered from coal to natural gas about 10 years ago. The Dynamo House is a couple of blocks north and is one of two massive early 20th century power plants along the Providence River. Pics here:

http://www.artinruins.com/arch/redevelop/hharbor/

Josh
02-04-2009, 05:57 AM
Wow, both impressive structures! While we're on the subject, how is development in Providence going these days? Any news? Progress?

G-Man
02-04-2009, 06:41 AM
Lots of stuff happening in Prov though development mania has slowed somewhat.

One piece of news is that while there has been no visible progress on the lot where the W Hotel is supposed to be downtown there has been talk from reliable sources that a scaled-down building (I think still a W) is in the works and the now vacant Arcade next door will be renovated to fit a single large tenant.

Lots of small but cool things happening downtown including MIT's FabLab opening a space in AS220's Mercantile building.

The biggest project now going on in PVD is by the same company that is doing the Dynamo House (Struever out of Baltimore). That project is the American Locomotive Works (ALCO) complex in the Woonasquatucket Industrial Corridor west of downtown. It's something like 30 acres and $300 million. They just got the go ahead to start phase two of the project. Mixed use, mainly rehabbing of mill buildings. http://www.americanlocomotiveworks.com/

BCBS of RI and the Capitol Cove condo project right next to the train station are nearing completion as is the last unrenovated building of the Foundry complex across from the Mall. Quite a bit of construction going on despite the economy, which is even worse in RI than in MA. The Obama stimulus package might fund renovating the train station, installing light rail downtown and College Hill and the Hospitals, and a bunch of other projects.

The big development issue in the near future is what to do with the land freed up by the relocation of 195. Brown and other colleges are eyeing it and it might end up being the new campus for Brown's medical school which got $100 mil from a grateful alum.

Lrfox
02-04-2009, 09:23 AM
G-Man, Welcome!

Thanks for the correction. I haven't lived in Providence in over 10 years, so I'm fuzzy with some locations at times.

Thanks for the update and I look forward to seeing more.

Josh
02-04-2009, 09:11 PM
The ALCO project is an interesting one. I've seen that before, but I'm glad to hear its moving ahead.

Uh oh. A scaled down W Hotel? Hasn't it been scaled down before?

G-Man
02-05-2009, 11:27 AM
Thanks for the welcomes. THe W project has only been scaled down once from the original 110 Westminster design as far as I know. I don't believe there are any renderings yet. Nothing firm as far as announcements. FWIW, the W site does mention PVD as one of the future sites for a W hotel.

Other hotel news which some of you guys might already know: an aLoft is slated to go into the Dynamo House and the Hampton Inn is close to opening (if it hasn't already) downtown.

Lrfox
04-13-2009, 11:10 PM
Just passing through the other day (Easter) and snapped a few crappy cell phone shots from the car.

Downtown from the old section of 195 (only Westbound remains open here)
http://img19.picoodle.com/img/img19/3/4/13/jfoahs04/f_IMG0157m_6acd28c.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/4/13/jfoahs04/f_IMG0157m_6acd28c.jpg&srv=img19)

The Westin Complex from I-195 West
http://img19.picoodle.com/img/img19/3/4/13/jfoahs04/f_IMG0158m_9cc5d18.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/4/13/jfoahs04/f_IMG0158m_9cc5d18.jpg&srv=img19)

Finally, A crappy shot of the New 195 Bridge (College Hill/ East Side in the Background). I like it.
http://img19.picoodle.com/img/img19/3/4/13/jfoahs04/f_IMG0161m_d485110.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/3/4/13/jfoahs04/f_IMG0161m_d485110.jpg&srv=img19)

vanshnookenraggen
04-13-2009, 11:20 PM
Oh yeah that new bridge is very nice.

czsz
04-13-2009, 11:32 PM
PoMo Deco?

I like it, in any case.

GMACK24
04-22-2009, 08:09 AM
I think one day they MAY Redevelop the Former Bootleggers / shooters But I doubt it : )

Broken Glass Everywhere .............. abandoned nightclub
Myself, Suzy and Nate all took last Thursday off of work.

We walked around by the new I-Way bridge and stumbled upon Shooters / Bootleggers.

Pretty cool chill place. It's totally trashed but hey if ur in the Providence, RI Area GO check it out.
We just walked right in. Sat right down. And danced. um.. no we didn't dance but we took a few photos.

Enjoy ! ! !

Shooter?s was the brainchild of Joseph Cerilli and came about as a result of the stock market crash of 1987. A condominium tower was proposed for the site, which was at the time the boat repair yard of Maloney & Rubien. Two model units were constructed and many units were presold, but when the stock market crashed in October, 1987, the financing could not be consummated. Cerilli obtained a franchise from Shooter?s and built the club at great speed and cost because of time limits in the franchise agreement. The cost of the failed development and the construction costs were too much for the restaurant to support, even with new partners. - from ARTINRUINS


Trashed
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3623/3451190177_2a37719489.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmack24/3451190177/
Snitches get stitches
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3387/3451190175_35b760dff3.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmack24/3451190175/
Party Time
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3663/3451190173_10c387e29d.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmack24/3451190173/
Party Like a Rock Star
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3580/3451190171_b51552f9e3.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmack24/3451190171/
Party Lights
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3324/3451190167_914d3a2605.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmack24/3451190167/
Drink Anyone ?
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3639/3450222250_43a9c0883a.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmack24/3450222250/

Lrfox
06-16-2009, 12:33 PM
The Westbound Section of the new 195 Bridge is slated to open Thursday thus moving all of 195's traffic off of the old section closer to downtown. The next step afterward is to demolish the old elevated section of the highway and create a string of green park space and open some parcels for development (hmmm... where has something similar to this happened before?).

Here's an example of one such proposed park/pedestrian bridge along the River downcity:
http://img29.picoodle.com/img/img29/2/6/16/jfoahs04/f_195parkm_5a8aecc.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/)

I'm hoping they learn from Boston's shortcomings with the Greenway. This will be an EXCELLENT way to rejuvenate that entire section of downcity. Rumor has it that Brown, RISD and JWU are all interested in expanding in that area. I'm hoping some sizable residences and maybe a hotel or two gets built in the area as 24-7 activity is what will really be the kicker in revitalizing that section of town. Despite the economy, I'm VERY impressed with Providence's right now. It feels that more is happening here than in any other city in New England.

Detailed info can be found here: http://www.dot.state.ri.us/engineering/construction/projects/195relo/I-195WB_to_I-95SB.asp

This is a map of where the Old section of 195 is (red) and where the new section is (green)... the blue is the Washington Street Bridge and I-195 East of downcity.
http://img27.picoodle.com/img/img27/2/6/16/jfoahs04/f_2009SummerTm_1fffb8e.jpg (http://www.picoodle.com/)

Here is a youtube clip from greater city: providence showing the new bridge (blue, to the left) with current Eastbound traffic using it. You can see Westbound traffic on 195 branching off to the right on the old section. This will change Thursday.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr3o8kGNmBk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gcpvd.org%2F&feature=player_embedded


Ok, I'm heading down to the Southcoast early today (Dinner with the parents tonight) to snap some photos of the new courthouse in Fall River and the Demolition of the Fairhaven Mills (started today) building 4 in New Bedford as well as the progress on the construction of the waterfront hotel in New Bedford. I should have those pictures up by tonight or tomorrow at the latest. The plan is also to get some shots of new construction (particularly the BC/BS building) in Providence (where I have a meeting) on Friday and I'll add them.

vanshnookenraggen
06-17-2009, 08:20 AM
I think this should be more sucessful since they are planning more buildings and the park will not cut through downtown but rather connect it to the river (which the Greenway fails to do with the harbor). That is if any buildings get built.

Frankie811
10-27-2009, 04:14 PM
America's Safest Cities

Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA area comes in at #6

These metros have the lowest rates of violent crime, workplace deaths, fatal crashes and natural disasters.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/26/safest-cities-ten-lifestyle-real-estate-metros-msa_chart.html?partner=yahoore


http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/americas-safest-cities.html

Frankie811
10-27-2009, 04:43 PM
Brown plans a $ 45 mil renovation of an historic building at 222 Richmond Street for the new Alpert Medical School building. The expansion highlights Brown�s aggressive push into the downtown area.

http://www.projo.com/news/content/BROWN_MEDICAL_SCHOOL_05-23-09_FTEFNB0_v17.3dbe0b0.html

http://www.browndailyherald.com/corporation-members-discuss-priorities-outlook-for-tough-times-1.2026219

http://pbn.com/detail/45580.html

"Brown seeks support for medical school building in downtown Providence"

http://www.projo.com/news/content/BROWN_MEDICAL_SCHOOL_10-26-09_RKG64ST_v32.3a65d22.html

Frankie811
10-27-2009, 05:21 PM
Here's a very interesting article from projo on downcity construction projects.

Did Downtown Providence�s boom go bust? The construction cranes that towered over downtown for years are gone. There are empty lots where buildings once stood. Plans for boutique hotels and office towers have evaporated.

http://www.projo.com/news/content/PROVIDENCE_DOWNTOWN_10-15-09_G7FVRA6_v80.3a6417e.html

Lrfox
10-28-2009, 11:25 AM
Interesting stuff, Frankie. I read that last article the other day. I would venture a guess to say that most cities' "booms" have gone bust at this point in time. Buildings financed before the recession got underway, but those looking for it as the recession began generally went belly up. I would expect to see more progress in a few years.

The Brown University situation is going to be an example of what's going to keep Providence afloat through rough patches. Providence, like Boston, is a college town. Even during downtimes, education and healthcare are big. They don't go away. Providence's major role in those fields always keep it relevant.

As far as the safe cities thing goes, I'm surprised... I never would have guessed that. then again, I tend to detest and "safest, best, worst, etc" list Forbes puts out due to the crazy parameters they set. One year Springfield was the best family city and the next it was one of the worst... it's all subject to whatever restriction they want to place on it.

Patrick
10-28-2009, 11:38 AM
Interesting stuff, Frankie. I read that last article the other day. I would venture a guess to say that most cities' "booms" have gone bust at this point in time. Buildings financed before the recession got underway, but those looking for it as the recession began generally went belly up. I would expect to see more progress in a few years.


Exactly right. All across the world. Same thing.

Muns1990
11-01-2009, 02:06 PM
I have a question about the Providence downtown "boom", it lasted a while, but what exactly caused it to start? Considering that Providence was in pretty poor shape for a while.

czsz
11-01-2009, 02:34 PM
Good question. You could probably attribute some contextual factors, like a renewed interest in city living/life in general, but the immediate cause was probably the investment in restoring the rivers and canals and the events planned along them, like Waterfire.

Ron Newman
11-01-2009, 07:01 PM
Seemed like Buddy Cianci, whatever his flaws, had a lot to do with the city's success as well. The city has always had its urban attractions -- Benefit Street, Brown University, RISD, Thayer Street, Federal Hill -- and it is eminently walkable.

Lrfox
11-01-2009, 07:02 PM
Good question. You could probably attribute some contextual factors, like a renewed interest in city living/life in general, but the immediate cause was probably the investment in restoring the rivers and canals and the events planned along them, like Waterfire.

Good answer. In short, that is the bulk of it. The renewed interest in city living/life also helped lure corporations like G-Tech and BC/BS downtown too. The artistic culture of college life (particularly Brown, JWU and RISD) has also added some character and progressive attitude to Providence. In many ways, Providence has a similar feel to Cambridge in that regard.

I would also add that the raw materials were already in place. Providence has good access to education in the many colleges in town. It also had a pretty good urban core which was spared from a good deal of Urban Renewal (though, of course, it was hardly untouched). Providence had great architecture with which to inspire revitalization and good density downtown. The healthcare industries didn't hurt either... between the colleges and healthcare, you have two industries that really have constant demand.

In addition, Providence adapted. Providence was able to change from dominant city in a region to secondary satellite city. It did this well. The convenient rail access helped transform downtown Providence into the transit oriented commercial hub it is now.

Can't forget Providence Place. That became a major retail and dining center that lured people out of the 'burbs for activities. It helped Providence overcome the "desolate" after-hours downtown area (the college presence was a positive here too).

Ron Newman
11-01-2009, 07:07 PM
The convenient rail access helped transform downtown Providence into the transit oriented commercial hub it is now.

Although the train station actually got moved from the heart of downtown to several blocks away, as part of the general project of moving railroad tracks and rivers.

czsz
11-01-2009, 07:52 PM
It doesn't seem to have mattered; it's even fueled a boomlet of condos that are connecting downtown to the train station.

Muns1990
11-01-2009, 10:48 PM
The schools are definitely a major player, I'm sure Providence would be a completely different place if say Brown wasn't there. Just like Yale is to New Haven. Providence Place is such a beautiful mall, and I guess they must of thought "if we build it they will come". Seems like it was a perfect choice, but I've sort of looked into it, and plans for it started coming about in the early 80's, too bad it took so long.

Lrfox
11-02-2009, 10:14 AM
It doesn't seem to have mattered; it's even fueled a boomlet of condos that are connecting downtown to the train station.

Exactly. It's close enough to the rest of downtown to still be pretty oriented to the city's core. With the exception of the Waterplace buildings, the bulk of the newer condos are unfortunately mostly "blah." The station has been the major catalyst of growth west of downtown. East of downtown (where 195 is/was) hasn't had the same type of boom (kentxie noticed this in another thread)... in larger part due to 195 bisecting it; but the absence of a transit hub right there hasn't helped either.

Providence Place is a good mall, but I've heard some rumors that it could be in trouble. I read that Nordstrom was lured there with steep discounts on a ten year lease. The lease is nearly up and it'll be interesting to see whether or not they stay. Their presence is really what keeps Providence Place an "upscale" mall. Even if they do go, Providence Place's significant role in Downtown's revitalization and continued success cannot be denied. The mall alone brought tons of traffic to the area (both vehicular and foot) that wasn't there before. It brought people to local businesses and kept people there on weekends and after 5 on the weekdays. It brought a good number of "destination" restaurants (yes, chains) to a street that wasn't particularly urban before. It brought a major movie theater downtown (as well as a separate Imax theater), nightlife entertainment (Dave and Busters) and major shopping. Obviously bringing people in from outside the city was huge, but providing lots more options for people who already live there was a major plus and a big player in making downtown Providence a good place to work AND live.

Brown's presence is obviously huge in Providence. Nearly as big as Yale in New Haven. However, other schools play a huge role in the transformation as well. RISD has done a lot in the way of giving some unique local character to the city. Not only is the creative presence felt in the vicinity of the school (take a walk down Thayer and you'll know what I mean), but it's quite obvious in the sculpture, murals, and decor in many of the local shops downtown on Westminster, Weybosset, Washington, etc. They've done a great job in counterbalancing the chain feel of Providence Place and adding some local, creative character. Johnson and Wales role in the hospitality and culinary arts has translated to some really cool boutique hotels and some excellent restaurants.

While it's easy to pinpoint some major pieces of the transformation, the whole deal can be attributed to a multitude of different things coming together at the right time.

Ron Newman
11-02-2009, 10:30 AM
Federal Hill seems to do well despite being nearly cut off by freeway overpasses from downtown.

Muns1990
11-02-2009, 10:52 AM
Before Providence Place was built, did the city have any sort of mall that sat on the outskirts or neighboring towns, and if it did, did it close down because of Providence Place?

Ron Newman
11-02-2009, 10:56 AM
Emerald Square Mall (http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=335) was and still is in North Attleboro, about 10 miles north of Providence Place.

Muns1990
11-02-2009, 11:02 AM
Checked it out, seems to be a decent sized place, in MA though. Its funny how it is with RI being so small that it overlaps so so much with the surrounding states. Providence doesn't really seem to be more than 30 or so minutes from most parts of the state.

Lrfox
11-02-2009, 11:59 AM
Before Providence Place was built, did the city have any sort of mall that sat on the outskirts or neighboring towns, and if it did, did it close down because of Providence Place?

Also the Warwick Mall (http://www.warwickmall.com/index.php) which is struggling. The Swansea Mall ( http://www.visitswanseamall.com/ ) about 10 minutes East of Providence in Swansea is nearly dead too (dead as in when I was there about 2 months ago, nearly 25% of the stores were vacant and it was close to devoid of people). As someone who grew up in the area, I think most people won't miss Swansea... don't know much about the sentiment for Warwick.

Emerald Square seems to have escaped nearly unscathed as it does serve the suburbs pretty well. I do find it a bit difficult to understand as it's relatively close to Providence as well as Wrentham and Patriot Place. I would expect it to be struggling a bit worse.

Federal Hill is different than the club district area in that it's a very residential neighborhood. It's not a downtown area. It does have the shops and restaurants that thrive along Atwells Ave. (closest to downtown) which connects about as seamlessly as an area separated by a highway can (it's an overpass that crosses over a relatively submerged highway, similar to how Brookline Ave connects Fenway to Kenmore Square). The mix of uses keep it from falling into the trouble that the club district (really not so much diversity there) has. Furthermore, it's bounded by more residential area whereas the club district area is surrounded by 1) I-195, 2) the river, 3) the Industrial Waterfront/warehouse district 4) I-95. It's much more isolated.

czsz
11-02-2009, 10:48 PM
Federal Hill also managed to brand itself as a destination neighborhood.

Lrfox
11-08-2009, 12:03 PM
If you liked Puma City, you'll probably love "Box Office 360" which is under construction in Providence. Regardless of what you think, it's creative and different. This project deserves some significant attention. It's made out of recycled shipping containers.
http://img37.imagefra.me/img/img37/2/11/8/f_emo80u5vqm_99d70d9.jpg (http://imagefra.me/)

official site: http://www.boxoffice460.com/

and some progress photos from Jef Nickerson on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/woneffe/sets/72157622624749607/

vanshnookenraggen
11-08-2009, 11:05 PM
I love shipping container architecture! Way to go Providence. Is this temp or perm?

Ron Newman
11-09-2009, 06:37 AM
I'd definitely keep walking down Atwells Ave to see this. What's the surrounding neighborhood like? I've never ventured beyond the end of the Federal Hill commercial strip.

Lrfox
11-09-2009, 08:54 AM
This is a permanent structure. It's in a strange location though.

Ron, Atwells is nice even after the commercialized stretch. It's a pretty decent urban neighborhood until you get to the Route 6/10 overpass. That's really a barrier separating Fed Hill from Olneyville. This project is located next to a busy intersection (Atwells at Harris) just on the other side of that overpass. It'll be easy to walk down and see, but there's very little around it (parking lots, a 7/11, and older industrial buildings).

JoeGallows
12-09-2009, 01:49 PM
A desire named streetcar: Providence seeks major transit overhaul

01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, December 8, 2009

By Bruce Landis

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE ? State and local officials have put together a plan that would remake the metro area?s transit system, increasing and improving bus service and adding a major and expensive new element, streetcars.

The draft proposal would improve and redeploy the existing bus system, moving parts of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority?s central hub at Kennedy Plaza outward to four smaller ?hubs? encircling the downtown, and try to shift more commuters from cars to buses by doubling the number of park-and-ride commuter lots.

The authority also wants to increase bus service by 10 percent and to initiate what it calls ?rapid bus service,? measures aimed at letting buses move passengers more quickly, initially on two heavily used routes.

The proposal, written by planners at the authority, expands on many of the elements recommended by the Transit 2020 study group created in 2006 by Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, a longtime and vigorous transit proponent.

It also reflects a newly ambitious RIPTA that is trying to shift gears and look ahead after years of being battered by budget deficits and threatened service cuts.

The study is called the Providence Metropolitan Transit Enhancement Study. The final version is to be issued Thursday. Some of the elements are under way now, while the earliest that officials think a streetcar system could start operating is 2015.

The proposal is focused on the city and six communities around it, East Providence, Pawtucket, Central Fall, North Providence and parts of Cranston and Warwick. However, one part of it would also double the existing 28 RIPTA park-and-ride lots. .

Mark Therrien, RIPTA?s deputy general manager for planning, said the study is the first serious look at building a streetcar system here. At an estimated cost of $76 million, it would be by far the biggest expense in the plan.

In all, the proposal includes $127.6 million in capital costs ?? long-term expenses like construction and rolling stock ?? and $18.9 million in added annual operating expenses such as salaries and fuel.

The distinction is important. RIPTA?s capital costs are often paid by the federal government, while the authority?s operating costs come largely out of the state budget and fares. It is those operating costs ? notably for the bus drivers and, particularly, the cost of diesel fuel, coupled with an undependable revenue source, the state gasoline tax ? that have regularly left the authority?s budget in tatters.

Comparing the transit plan costs with other expensive public projects, the total capital costs are somewhat less than the winning $167.3-million bid for the new Sakonnet River Bridge now being constructed. The streetcar system would cost somewhat less than Providence?s new $90-million Career and Technical High School.

The estimated annual operating cost of all of the recommendations, $18.9 million, would add about 20 percent to RIPTA?s $96.5 million annual budget.

RIPTA has scrambled for money for years just to keep its existing buses running, and the plan acknowledges that the cost of the proposals ?is beyond any near-term funding capacity.? In fact, revenue from a critical present source of money, the gas tax, has been declining for several years. At the same time, RIPTA?s ridership has jumped to 25 million trips per year from roughly 19 million trips in the years before 2004.

?We don?t know how it?s all going to be paid for,? said Amy Pettine, RIPTA?s special projects manager.

The report says that Providence is an excellent candidate for streetcars. In the range of transit options, streetcars fit between the state?s existing two public transit systems, bus service and its growing commuter rail service.

Streetcars are electrically powered, usually through overhead wires. They operate on tracks and share the road with other vehicles. That distinguishes them from more-expensive ?light rail? systems, which have separate rights of way.

The American Public Transit Association says that new streetcar and light rail systems opened in 16 cities between 1995 and last year, along with dozens of extensions of existing systems. One recent national tally found 32 operating streetcar systems, 2 more under construction and 34 proposed or being planned.

The study proposes a ?starter? streetcar system operating within a roughly two-mile corridor. . It would operate from Rhode Island Hospital north through the Jewelry District, downtown and Kennedy Plaza. It would split there, with one branch going to the Providence railroad station and the other to Thayer Street, on the city?s East Side near Brown University.

The arguments in favor of streetcar systems start with transit ?? they carry more people than buses while polluting less than buses and stimulating more transit use ?? and go well beyond it.

The difference, they say, is that a bus line can move or disappear entirely with a single decision by a transit agency. A streetcar line, on the other hand, is built permanently at considerable expense and won?t move. That commitment encourages developers to invest. Supporters say that, given the development they can attract, streetcars are cheap.

The study estimates that the streetcar system would bring ?a huge economic benefit? including roughly 3 million square feet of development on vacant and underutilized land, most of it in the Jewelry District and downtown. It also estimates that the plan would add 4,333 jobs and 2,200 residents to the downtown area.

The plan suggests possible extensions of the streetcar lines down the major streets heading southwest of downtown, Atwells Avenue, Broadway and Broad Street, or south on Allens Avenue.

The streetcars would add only slightly to RIPTA?s ridership, however, one to two million trips per year, compared with the bus system?s total ridership of about 25 million trips per year.

How to pay for them isn?t clear and may depend in part on federal transportation legislation whose shape isn?t clear, either. Pettine, however, said federal policy seems to be leaning in directions that would favor a Providence streetcar system.

?We anticipate there?ll be money for streetcars,? she said.

The plan calls for partially decentralizing RIPTA?s ?hub-and-spoke? route system centered on Kennedy Plaza. It calls for construction of four new bus ?hubs,? on Capitol Hill, Cahir Street to the west of downtown, Thayer Street at the upper end of the College Hill bus tunnel, and at the hospital complex south of downtown. Therrien said that the Pawtucket Transit Center, where 10 bus routes terminate, already amounts to a hub.

The hubs are also intended to make the system more convenient. Most bus routes now start and end at Kennedy Plaza, forcing riders going elsewhere to transfer. Pettine said the hubs would allow routes to stop at Kennedy Plaza and then continue on to one or more of the hubs. ?It gives people a one-seat ride,? she said.

The plan also calls for ?rapid bus? service, which means improvements to move existing buses along faster. One important element, preference for buses at traffic lights, which allows drivers to prolong green lights, passed at the last session of the General Assembly.

That would be applied to the most heavily used bus corridor in the system. It begins at the Cranston city line as the 11 Broad Street bus. At Kennedy Plaza, it becomes the 99 North Main Street/Pawtucket line. Together, the study says, those lines carry more than 10,000 riders per day, more than any other.

KEY POINTSWhat the transit plan would do

Build a streetcar system: The streetcars would serve the hospital complex, Kennedy Plaza, the East Side, the West Side and the railroad station.

Speed up bus service: Institute ?rapid bus? service on the heavily used Broad Street and Pawtucket/North Main Street lines.

Increase service overall: Add 10 percent to existing service to make it more frequent, available more hours on extended routes.

Increase park-and-ride capacity: Double RIPTA?s 28 existing park-and-ride parking lots to provide more opportunities for commuters to travel partway by bus.

blandis@projo.com


Link (http://www.projo.com/news/content/RIPTA_metro_plan_12-08-09_KRGNGKJ_v26.3c1be29.html)

czsz
12-09-2009, 04:33 PM
Providence beats Boston in urban planning / design yet again.

Forget streetcar, though. To climb College Hill, Providence needs a funicular.

Lrfox
12-09-2009, 08:37 PM
Forget streetcar, though. To climb College Hill, Providence needs a funicular.

At least a small cable car. The funicular is fun in Quebec (only place I've ever been on one) but it's on a cliff. I don't know where you'd put one in Providence as College Hill is not as steep and a lot more settled.

Streetcars are a great idea. It just makes perfect sense in New England. Many of these cities inner rings were developed as streetcar suburbs so it only makes sense that they would function well by bringing back the streetcar. I can picture a streetcar running down Wickendon, Hope, or even Thayer (how cool would that be?!) and then turning and heading into/out of Kennedy Plaza on Angell and Waterman (Or South Main in the case of Wickendon). You'd also have routes spreading outward on roads like Broadway, Atwells, Douglas, Broad, North Main, etc.

Many cities in the region have plans (in some form) to bring back streetcars (New Bedford, Portland, Manchester, New Haven, etc). I'm interested to see who will be the first and in what form?

czsz
12-09-2009, 09:57 PM
It probably makes the most sense for cities with large college populations, because they have the most commuters without cars.

There are also a number of regional clusters where it could conceivably work. A Pioneer Valley line connecting Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee and Amherst-Northampton makes the most sense, followed by a standalone system in Worcester and then maybe regional connections in the Merrimack Valley or New Bedford/Fall River.

But it works in Providence because the RI transportation budget isn't as tied up in the MBTA clusterfuck. MA just doesn't have the money to built more transit networks.

I can't see it happening in libertarian New Hampshire just yet. Maybe after a few more decades of Democratification.

kennedy
12-09-2009, 10:06 PM
I can't see it happening in libertarian New Hampshire just yet. Maybe after a few more decades of Democratification.

Can you vote if you have a ski condo? Whatever passed in Massachusetts would pass straight away in New Hampshire. We'd be like, insider trading buddies in Congress!

Muns1990
12-09-2009, 11:08 PM
I don't think New Hampshire is as libertarian as people may think, well the NH government isn't at least. We only get that because of The Free State Project. I think more people outside of NH have heard of it then the people who live here have. I don't think something like a street car would work for us, maybe in Providence, but I think the vast majority of people wouldn't use it. Something like this would be more recreational then practical I think, even though Providence has such a high pedestrian rate. Before investing such a huge amount of money in a street car, maybe they should invest it into a top of the line bus system if their goal is an affective public transport.

blade_bltz
12-09-2009, 11:35 PM
Man, if Providence were a bigger city, College Hill would be the perfect place for a legit heavy rail subway station. Just like Downtown Berkeley, e.g, and Harvard to a lesser extent (no topography, and nowadays much less funk).

Lrfox
03-14-2010, 09:03 PM
A little more detailed info on Providence's Streetcar Proposal.

http://img37.imagefra.me/img/img37/2/3/14/jfoahs04/f_232nad9rtj1m_5a83866.jpg (http://imagefra.me/)

This is the .pdf file of the "Transit 2020" Transit Study (http://www.transit2020.com/study/reports/RIPTA%201pg%20build%20streetcar.pdf). This particular file is just the Streetcar proposal. Still, it has a few more renderings and a map of the proposed starter route which will go from the hospitals (South of Downtown), through Downcity, and utilize the tunnel from downtown to Thayer St./ College Hill (can we call that a REAL subway?!). IT also shows where proposals for additional lines feed into the center of the city and the starter line. It appears that Washington St./Kennedy Plaza will be the hub of the system which isn't surprising. Anyway, cool stuff to look at.

Here's the map:
http://img40.imagefra.me/img/img40/2/3/14/jfoahs04/f_13dauc4ek89m_b64c329.jpg (http://imagefra.me/)

palindrome
03-15-2010, 11:42 AM
I have said it before, but i am so jealous of their Waterplace condo towers when compared with our fan pier.

Boston02124
03-24-2010, 06:55 PM
they are nice! http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%202010/206.jpg (http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%202010/?action=view&current=206.jpg)

Lrfox
03-25-2010, 02:41 PM
^Yeah, they're not bad. They REALLY benefit from being on the river basin like they are.

Lrfox
06-17-2010, 09:13 PM
A new proposal for Providence Piers on the waterfront:

http://img40.imagefra.me/img/img40/8/6/17/jfoahs04/f_10r15fvoo7qm_1096b61.jpg (http://imagefra.me/)


A newly formed company, Rhode Island Medical Arts LLC, has proposed building a long-term care hospital for patients recovering from major medical illnesses or injuries.

The $300-million development would include an extended-stay hotel for the families of patients, a marina and a marine terminal for cruise ships and ferry boats, according to a proposal that has been informally presented to the mayor and City Council members in recent months.


link: http://www.projo.com/news/content/CONLEYS_WATERFRONT_06-01-10_3GIKN3I_v25.14cb8da.html

Anyone familiar with this site can agree that it's a wasteland currently (it's a brownfield site). This would be a BIG improvement.

Josh
06-24-2010, 01:25 AM
:o

That IS a big improvement...any thoughts on how the city will take it?

Patrick
06-24-2010, 11:10 AM
Providence is full of a lot of dumpy wasteland. I don't mean to crap on it, because I know it is the so-called renaissance city of new england, and it has gotten better (and has some pretty nice parts to it, too) but as an overall place the city has a LONG way to go before it is a nice place to be in general. that said, the proposal above looks nice, and I wish the tower a few years back was built.

found5dollar
06-24-2010, 01:39 PM
this would be a great development, but where would all the big concerts go to now?

Lrfox
06-24-2010, 10:08 PM
Providence is full of a lot of dumpy wasteland. I don't mean to crap on it, because I know it is the so-called renaissance city of new england, and it has gotten better (and has some pretty nice parts to it, too) but as an overall place the city has a LONG way to go before it is a nice place to be in general. that said, the proposal above looks nice, and I wish the tower a few years back was built.

You do mean to dump on it. You don't like Providence and you've been clear about that. That's fine, you're more than entitled to your own opinion.

I do have a few questions though. How is it "full" of dumpy wasteland? This stretch of the working waterfront is, well, a working waterfront. Where are the other stretches of dumpy wasteland? The East Side (an umbrella term for the area larger than Portland's peninsula containing a number of very different neighborhoods), Federal Hill, Elmwood, Downtown, etc are all VERY nice urban neighborhoods. As with any real urban area, there are trouble spots. I'd stay away from South Providence. The Jewelery District is rebounding nicely still and is receiving a BIG shot in the arm from the relocation of 195. So, again, where are the "lots of dumpy wastelands" in Providence?

"A nice place in general?" Really? Define a "nice place in general." Is it Portland? I'd take Providence over Portland any day. Portland is a larger than average tourist town. It's quaint, picturesque and charming but for most, it's not worth more than a weekend "getaway" out of town just like Newport RI, Burlington VT, or Portsmouth NH. Providence has it's trouble spots like any real city, but the flip side is that it has far more amenities from an urban standpoint than a city like Portland ever could. It's a trade off. Me? I'll take the few pockets of trouble for all that Providence offers over the quaint, quiet of a town like Portland any day of the week; but others are different. Many people prefer the smaller town/outdoorsy atmosphere in Portland. By the way, there are TONS of neighborhoods in Providence that are far nicer than what you'd find anywhere in Portland. Take a walk down Benefit Street or S. Main in Providence and find me something "nicer" in Portland. Walk around Wayland Square, Thayer St. or Atwells Avenue and tell me there's a better non-downtown neighborhood center anywhere in Portland. For many, real urban neighborhoods in a truly urban environment make for a "nice place in general." Providence has those things.

The tower a few years back wouldn't have done much for the city other than add a little more height to the skyline which is really unimportant for anything other than ego. Providence doesn't need height, it needs more residents in the Jewelery District and other areas in and adjacent to downtown. It's getting that already (Westin residences, Foundry, Waterplace, etc, etc, etc) and will get more with all of the expansion plans in the old I-195 space. Is Providence perfect? No. No city is. But you're really underestimating the city as a whole. Maybe you need to go back and take another look.

Patrick
06-25-2010, 10:48 AM
easy does it. Don't assume this is some Portland v. Providence perspective I'm coming from. I don't even know where that came from. I do have my opinions about Providence, which I retain, but when I said I don't mean to crap on the city (just before I dumped on it) it was specifically aimed at avoiding the type of response you just wrote. Does it have nice parts? I'm sure. Are there more urban things to do there than smaller cities? I'm sure (obviously there would be). Again, don't think I am in any way comparing Providence to any other place in New England or elsewhere, because I'm not. I'm just sharing my visual perspective and observations. This is not meant to be a debate. You clearly know more about the city than I do, so just calm down. I may not have seen the areas to which you referred me. But, I can say that I have been there several times and not once been impressed. Kind of like a big city that isn't really big, if that makes sense. I'd rather drive 40 minutes north and be in Boston. Again, I don't want a debate on this, but if you want to have a conversation I am open to it. Your last post seemed like I hit a nerve, which is precisely what I tried to avoid by saying I didn't mean to crap on the place. I have my opinion, but I know not everyone shares it.

Patrick
06-25-2010, 12:35 PM
Okay, I have to add something. So I thought about it, said maybe this guy's right, maybe I just haven't given the city a fair chance. I looked up Wayland Square. Looks like a more commercialized Deering Highlands (outer Deering Ave and the "uphill" portions of Oakdale) in Portland. I looked up Benefit street, too. Looks like Exeter, NH, or Concord, MA or parts of Portsmouth, NH. Not bad. looked at s main street on local.live and all I saw was a crummy stretch next to a bridge that ended after a block. I suspect this is not what you were referring to. Either way, I have noticed there are some nicer parts to Providence than what I had seen (although, to be fair, I did say there were nice parts). I have been in the area around Brown, which was quaint and nice, and the areas I mentioned above look nice too. The odd thing, though, is that you said you would take providence over a quaint town (which Portland is not, by the way), yet all of the nice areas you referred to seem to be quaint. Providence has more trash floating around as you come into the city than any other city I've ever seen. It also has a high crime rate for such a small city. So, as I said, there are nice parts, but I think it has a long way to go. Don't get me wrong, though, because rare is the city which does NOT have a long way to go (Portland included). In fact, that's what draws so many people to this site, to discuss improvements for cities. Providence has the disadvantage of having to shake an early industrial city foundation, but at the same time it would never have developed as it did without having industrialized to such a great extent, so its tricky to say, for me anyway, how much it would benefit or lose from keeping or shedding its industrial past. we already know you like gritty scenes, and that's cool, in a way, so no need to repeat it.

Lrfox
06-25-2010, 05:29 PM
You didn't "hit a nerve." The thing is, I only lived there for a few years and don't consider it my "hometown." I like the city a lot and know it well, but I don't have a real personal attachment. Your opinions of Providence just seem to be based on... well... nothing. You're misinformed and have really limited perspective. I don't care that you justified your opinion of the areas I listed in Providence by saying, "you obviously know more about the city than I do;" you STILL actually posted opinions based on google maps. Come on. Don't get me wrong, it's a great feature and I love it, but it's good for nothing more than a passing glance at an area, not forming a real idea of what an area is actually like. It's even worse than trying to judge what a city's like by hanging in the airport or understanding a neighborhood without getting out of the car. That being said, take a look at This (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Benefit+Street+Providence&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Benefit+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&ei=wSQlTPX1PMTflgfQ-9TtAg&ved=0CBoQ8gEwAA&t=h&layer=c&cbll=41.825214,-71.407494&panoid=Rj8ghIKCLN4TmusEsgT0Dw&cbp=12,351.68,,0,-2.98&ll=41.823925,-71.406519&spn=0.006188,0.013797&z=16) (S. Main) or This (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Benefit+Street+Providence&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Benefit+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&ei=wSQlTPX1PMTflgfQ-9TtAg&ved=0CBoQ8gEwAA&t=h&layer=c&cbll=41.826478,-71.407089&panoid=UuKY-Nc0yVpOs8agUYbtmw&cbp=12,334.15,,0,-3.96&ll=41.82622,-71.406605&spn=0.001547,0.003449&z=18) (Benefit St.). Google doesn't have Streetview in Wayland Square (for some strange reason) except for this (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Benefit+Street+Providence&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Benefit+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&ei=wSQlTPX1PMTflgfQ-9TtAg&ved=0CBoQ8gEwAA&t=h&layer=c&cbll=41.829995,-71.388966&panoid=Vws6YkrFVw32d7YCvDBEtA&cbp=12,230.65,,0,9.47&ll=41.829793,-71.388516&spn=0.001547,0.003449&z=18) outside portion of it which is why you have the opinion you have (again, a misinformed one); but it's a walkable urban neighborhood with shops, restaurants, galleries, etc that is located away from downtown.

I think you haven't been impressed with Providence because you have unrealistic expectations. It's not a big city. It's a smack in the middle, mid-size city. It's city population will make you think it's smaller (180,000) than it is (keep in mind immediate urban neighbors Cranston, Warwick and Pawtucket have over 60,000 people in each) , but its metro population would make you think it's larger (over 1.6 Million). The reality is that it's a real mid-size city. Along the lines of a Jacksonville, Richmond, Indianapolis, Columbus, etc. Of course you'd rather go to Boston. It's a LOT bigger and offers a lot more. Using that same logic, I could say Boston's not impressive because NYC has more and it's not far away. That being said, Providence does very well among mid-size cities in the areas of urbanity, education, healthcare, entertainment, and crime (check the data among similarly sized metros, it really isn't bad- better than most of its peers).

Furthermore, you're incorrect about Providence's "foundation." It's not an old industrial city. Sure, that played a role in Providence's growth, but the city was founded in the 1600s and is very much a colonial city. The architecture and colonial growth patterns can be seen all over the city, especially at it's core. Again, I think you've really missed out on what makes Providence a great city. One of the biggest issues with Providence is that visitors from out of town pass by the few bad spots (South Providence, the industrial waterfront, etc) to get to hotels in the "newer" portion of downtown Providence (convention center, mall area) which is fairly generic save for a few nice older and new buildings and go to clubs in the still-rebounding Jewelery District. You're not immediately directed to the great walking/shopping/dining streets in downtown (Westminster, Washington, Empire, Weybosset, etc). Those Streets are as nice (architecturally and attraction wise) as anything you'll find in Portland's Old Port. You're also not directed to the great outlying neighborhoods (Federal Hill, College Hill, etc). You have to find them. Making those areas more accessible and visible while improving other areas (like the Jewelery District) is what Providence needs most.

It's not Portland v. Providence. The reason I brought it up is because Portland is the city you're familiar with and the city I know you really enjoy. I compare it because you "aren't impressed" by Providence but you very much love Portland. It's difficult to understand because from an urban standpoint there's really nowhere that Portland is superior to Providence. Natural Beauty? Crime? Sure; but not at all from an urban standpoint. I know you're a Mainer, and Mainers view Portland as the "big city" (I have actually heard people say this), but Portland IS quaint and that's the draw for most people from outside the area. I had a professor at USM who put it perfectly: "Portland is the perfect city for people who hate cities." He was dead on. Portland's metro area (btw, the census bureau's "metro" numbers for Portland is just the total population of York, Cumberland and Sagadahoc Counties combined) is by FAR mostly rural. There are no neighborhood centers, and the downtown area is small, quiet and charming. MUCH more comparable to a Newport RI, Burlington or Portsmouth than to a Providence, New Haven or Boston. Portland's economy is mostly service based revolving around tourism. Tourists go to Portland for the quaint seaside feel. Portland isn't just "quaint" it's the embodiment of quaint. Like I said, some people prefer that (and those are just the type of people you find in Portland); but for many like myself, it's only great for a weekend away. That's why I got out of Portland as fast as I could and many other have done the same.

Wayland Square, Benefit St and South Main (and lots of the East Side) are quaint and charmingtoo. The difference is that they coexist and work well with the real urban pockets of Providence (not just downtown). Portland doesn't have that. It's quaint and charming all the way through, but not NEARLY "city" enough.

I have no idea what you expect(ed) of Providence. If it's Boston-style atmosphere in a smaller package, don't you think that's a bit unfair seeing as Providence isn't even half the size of Boston? It's a great city for its size and I think you missed the best parts by focusing on the bad parts. I could do the same thing if focused on Co-op City in New York or Mattapan in Boston (or Bayside in Portland). You should probably withhold further judgement until you've experienced more of the city.

Patrick
06-25-2010, 06:59 PM
Well, here we go...Clearly I didn't hit a nerve...

Of the three pictures you posted on google streetview, one looks nice, the other two are nothing to look twice at. a CVS drugstore? really? Park Street in Portland, State Street in Portland, Vaughn Street in Portland, Congress Street even, Exchange, Middle, all of these streets look equal to (if not better) than the images you posted.

I also have to point out that you love providence for how urban it is, but say that its best parts are the historic (and more quaint) districts that are more like the cities you referred to as mere "weekend getaways" earlier.

That being said, I think the following quote accurately depicts what I have most likely been exposed to in Providence:

One of the biggest issues with Providence is that visitors from out of town pass by the few bad spots (South Providence, the industrial waterfront, etc) to get to hotels in the "newer" portion of downtown Providence (convention center, mall area) which is fairly generic save for a few nice older and new buildings and go to clubs in the still-rebounding Jewelery District.

You're also not directed to the great outlying neighborhoods (Federal Hill, College Hill, etc). You have to find them. Making those areas more accessible and visible while improving other areas (like the Jewelery District) is what Providence needs most. You are right.

And, again, with the pissing match between Portland and other cities, if that's what you feel you need to make this into, you gotta ease up. But I'll indulge you for now. I like Portland a lot, because I am from here, but I am under no delusion that it is some rival of Boston. And I am by no means limited in my urban comparisons. I don't think Portland is the big city (in Maine, it is the only "city").

Also, you said that Providence compares well to others in its class? You have to be kidding. It has one of the highest poverty and crime rates per capita of a city that size in the country.

And it is and old industrial city. In fact, its one of the first cities in the United States to industrialize. This isn't changed or made a misstatement of fact by the fact that it existed before the industrial revolution. You can't possibly not understand this point. If providence isn't an old industrial city, what on earth is? You said Portland is a larger than average tourist town? Providence is a larger than average mill city. Portland, by the way, only recently became known for being a tourist destination, and much to the chagrin of its inhabitants. For most of its history (if you knew anything about it) it has been as hard working and "city minded" as anywhere in new england, albeit with fewer residents for obvious reasons. The thing is, this "touristy" label was applied after the fact, long after Portland built itself as a self sufficient seaport and industrial base. People on their ways up the coast stop in Portland because its the only thing close to providing some semblance of what they are used to in larger cities. So, ironically, it was portland's urbanity that stopped its urban development (once the tourists discovered it, they froze it in time).

Wayland Square, Benefit St and South Main (and lots of the East Side) are quaint and charmingtoo. The difference is that they coexist and work well with the real urban pockets of Providence (not just downtown). Portland doesn't have that. It's quaint and charming all the way through, but not NEARLY "city" enough.

Interesting. You might like to know that, according to the U.S. census site, Portland has a pocket (in the west end) that is denser (more people per square mile) than anything in Providence. True, its probably only a few blocks in scope, but its difficult to reconcile this with your statement that Portland isn't "city" enough. What does that even mean? For some reason you were drawn to a community college in this place, spent most of your time there, saw downtown and said its too small, and formed your opinion just as fast as I did about Providence.

I have no idea what you expect(ed) of Providence. If it's Boston-style atmosphere in a smaller package, don't you think that's a bit unfair seeing as Providence isn't even half the size of Boston? It's a great city for its size and I think you missed the best parts by focusing on the bad parts.

Man, this could be a quote from me to you, regarding Providence compared to Portland. It sums up the illogicality of your arguments the whole way.

and, I don't think its like saying NYC is just up the road from Boston (in comparison to what I said regarding Boston being close by to Providence) because I would rather be in Boston any day over NYC. Its not all size relevant.

As I said earlier, perhaps you are right and I should reserve judgment. However, that still doesn't justify your awkwardly defensive attitude about the city, and because the whole reason I visit this site is to discuss these things, I won't reserve judgment. A great city should be self evident; one shouldn't have to go "searching" or looking for pockets of good urbanity. Also, If it's as great as you say, I'm sure its reputation isn't tied to the outcome of this petty dispute.

czsz
06-25-2010, 08:49 PM
Providence is amazing for a city of its size. It makes planning decisions and is revitalizing itself with a certain DIY coolness that make me envious, living in Boston. It's certainly not the world's greatest city, but it's moving in the right direction, which is more than I can say for Mumblesburg.

Lrfox
06-26-2010, 06:57 PM
Look, I'll come right out and say that the aggressive nature of my post wasn't called for. It's no excuse, but I guess I was looking for a fight after a rough day at work (and a few post-work drinks) and your post happened to be the first thing I came across.

Still, my points stand...



Of the three pictures you posted on google streetview, one looks nice, the other two are nothing to look twice at. a CVS drugstore? really? Park Street in Portland, State Street in Portland, Vaughn Street in Portland, Congress Street even, Exchange, Middle, all of these streets look equal to (if not better) than the images you posted.

Like I said in my last post, streetview is a terrible way to get a feel for an area. I was simply posting those pictures to show that it's not as run-down as the impression you got from your first look. As for the CVS, like I also said in my last post, there is no streetview in Wayland Square and that image was a capture from outside of it.

Exchange, Congress and Middle Streets are the most urban streets in the core of Portland (Middle Street for a few small blocks is very nice). The three images I posted earlier were neighborhoods OUTSIDE of downtown Providence. Your comparisons to the three main streets in the center of Portland emphasize the point I was trying to make... that Providences outlying neighborhoods have real (albeit small) urban centers (btw, I didn't even mention Atwells Avenue (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Atwells+Avenue+Providence&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Atwells+Ave,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&ei=n3omTMDfNoWKlweusengAg&ved=0CBQQ8gEwAA&ll=41.823593,-71.426947&spn=0.001531,0.003449&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=41.823606,-71.427086&panoid=zfqHEqacIz1p5mlxUWTcSA&cbp=12,70.68,,0,3.18) on Federal Hill) with shops, restaurants and all sorts of other attractions all located OUTSIDE of the dense, urban core of the city. These neighborhood centers act as downtowns for their neighborhood. Portland has nothing even close to this. Downtown Portland is the only neighborhood center in the city (the whole state, really).

By the way, your comparisons in Portland show how little you really do know about Providence. Those areas and the areas you compared them to in Providence are really nothing alike. Not even close.

I also have to point out that you love providence for how urban it is, but say that its best parts are the historic (and more quaint) districts that are more like the cities you referred to as mere "weekend getaways" earlier.
You missed my point. My point was that outside of the very urban core, there are smaller mixed-use urban pockets. In Portland, the ONLY destination is downtown. In Providence, that's not the case. Sure, downtown is the biggest for shopping, dining, nightlife, etc; but it's not the ONLY option. The great thing about Providence is that I can live in a "quaint" historic neighborhood like College Hill or Federal Hill and have a "downtown" area in my neighborhood with all sorts of shops, restaurants, bars, etc that can keep me occupied until I want to go downtown for the bigger city amenities and atmosphere. There's nothing even close to that in Portland. Downtown is the "neighborhood center" for the whole city. Providence has the best of both worlds while Portland has just the quaint little downtown area (it's VERY nice, but it's all there is... no other options).

That being said, I think the following quote accurately depicts what I have most likely been exposed to in Providence:



You are right.

And you experienced one of the biggest problems with Providence which probably tainted your view. My whole point is that you really missed a ton of the city and subsequently are basing your opinion on very little in the way of what actually exists in Providence. Forget about the disclaimer comment in here, it doesn't negate the rest of your post (all I can think about is in dumb and dumber when Lloyd says, "Man! You are one pathetic loser! No offense."), you DID crap on Providence and did so with insufficient exposure:

Providence is full of a lot of dumpy wasteland. I don't mean to crap on it, because I know it is the so-called renaissance city of new england, and it has gotten better (and has some pretty nice parts to it, too) but as an overall place the city has a LONG way to go before it is a nice place to be in general.

Back to my original question... Where is all of this "dumpy wasteland?" You say that you don't know the city well, but you apparently know that there is a lot of wasteland. Sure, there are some bad spots (this site of this proposal on the working waterfront being one), but, "full of a lot of dumpy wasteland?" Really? Where? Also, given your limited exposure, how are you qualified to judge whether or not it's a "nice place to be in general?"

And, again, with the pissing match between Portland and other cities, if that's what you feel you need to make this into, you gotta ease up. But I'll indulge you for now. I like Portland a lot, because I am from here, but I am under no delusion that it is some rival of Boston.

It wasn't intended to be a pissing contest. It was brought up to use as a common reference point (we're both familiar with Portland) in a discussion about Providence. I can see where you would think that's what I was aiming for by the tone of my last two posts, but that's not the case.

That being said, I'd like to ask this question. If you like Portland and dislike Providence and I know you're an urban enthusiast like me, what URBAN aspects does Providence lack (that keep it from being a "nice place in general") that Portland has (that add to your enjoyment of it)? I'm curious because I can't think of anything in that regard.

Also, you said that Providence compares well to others in its class? You have to be kidding. It has one of the highest poverty and crime rates per capita of a city that size in the country.

Yup, that's another thing that Providence needs to work on. It's not perfect. When you look at per capita crime, you're looking at the specific city population, not the urbanized area or metro area. You're smart enough to know that Providence's urban area stretches FAR beyond the city limits (to include nearly 10x the population that lives IN the city limits). It's not the same as most cities around 180,000 because Providence is a MUCH larger city than that. It's crime rate isn't that bad either; I don't know where you're getting your data. of the 332 cities compiled in this list (http://os.cqpress.com/citycrime/2009/MetroCrime2009_Rank_Rev.pdf) using 2008 FBI crime data, Providence ranks 205. By the way, #1 is the worst (highest crime) and #332 is the best. Providence is in the better half of cities in the nation in terms of crime. Does it need work, yes. Is it really bad? Not at all.

Like crime, the poverty is very isolated too. It's not rampant across the city. There are neighborhoods to avoid (generally crime and poverty are hand in hand), but the vast majority are quite safe.

So, again, compare it to similarly sized cities and you'll see that Providence will be among the best in most categories. Would you really want to live in Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Columbus, Orlando, Buffalo, Louisville, or Hartford over Providence? Do you really think all of those cities are better all around than Providence? No. Freakin'. Way.

And it is and old industrial city. In fact, its one of the first cities in the United States to industrialize. This isn't changed or made a misstatement of fact by the fact that it existed before the industrial revolution. You can't possibly not understand this point.

Yes, Industry played a major role in Providence's growth. However, Providence was a functioning, growing and in many ways, thriving city long before industry moved in. The result is that the core of Providence and many of it's neighborhoods were created and came to be what they are before industry existed in Providence. Much of the industry that DID develop in PVD actually developed outside the city (see: Pawtucket). Providence's downtown area and MOST of the adjacent neighborhoods were there before there ever was industry in the area. So, like I said, Providence is a old colonial port city first and foremost. Industry came later and much of it was outside of the city itself. You can't possibly not understand that point.

If providence isn't an old industrial city, what on earth is?

For starters? Lawrence or Lowell MA. Fall River, MA. Lewiston, ME. Buffalo, NY. Cleveland, Ohio. I could go on, but you get the point. Those cities came from essentially nothing (maybe a small trade post, but mostly just good riverfront/lakefront land) and were developed specifically for industrial purposes. If you know anything about Providence's history you know that's not the case. Industry played a role in the area's development, but Providence is certainly not an old industrial city. Not by a long shot. By your logic, Rome is a medieval city. Sure, it's history goes centuries beyond that, but the medieval era played a role in shaping it so therefore it is a medieval city. Providence was a growing and functioning city for centuries before the industrial age. If you really experienced Providence, the proof of that would be all around you.

You said Portland is a larger than average tourist town? Providence is a larger than average mill city.

Now you're reaching. Again, Providence was around LONG before there were any mills in the area.

Portland, by the way, only recently became known for being a tourist destination, and much to the chagrin of its inhabitants. For most of its history (if you knew anything about it) it has been as hard working and "city minded" as anywhere in new england, albeit with fewer residents for obvious reasons. The thing is, this "touristy" label was applied after the fact, long after Portland built itself as a self sufficient seaport and industrial base. People on their ways up the coast stop in Portland because its the only thing close to providing some semblance of what they are used to in larger cities. So, ironically, it was portland's urbanity that stopped its urban development (once the tourists discovered it, they froze it in time). .

I could say the same thing about Burlington, Portsmouth or even Gloucester, MA. Like Portland, they are all very small cities that were "hard working" before tourism started to grow. Like Portland, they have small pockets of urbanity that are quirky, quaint and picturesque. The quaint, quirky and picturesque aspects of these cities is what draws tourists. Read any travel review (not local) about Portland and the raves are about the quiet, quaint streets of the Old Port and the picturesque scenery. I'm not going to say that Portland isn't urban at all... It is in pockets (but again, so is Gloucester), but the draw to Portland is not it's urbanity. In fact, much of the draw of Portland is that it has some urban amenities in an area that looks and feels like a small/mid-size town. When I was in Portland, the only people talking about the "city" aspects of it were Mainers and some other Northern New Englanders. Those from outside of Northern New England who moved there often raved about how it was so "cute," or how it was so quiet and not crowded. I understand that it's the only city in Maine and that clearly influences the view the locals have on it. Still, Maine's one of the most rural states in the Country and Portland's one of the most rural metro areas.

To take it one further, the fact that tourists HALTED the "urban growth" in Portland further supports my point that it's a tourist town. If the urban aspect of Portland was really the draw for those tourists, then the city should have no trouble continuing the urban growth, right? The thing is, the city thinks that "urban growth" (even small scale in Portland) will detract from the "cuteness" and "quaintness" that the tourists are drawn to in Portland. Ask anyone outside of Maine considering a visit to Maine just how high up an "urban experience" ranks on their reasons for visiting.



Interesting. You might like to know that, according to the U.S. census site, Portland has a pocket (in the west end) that is denser (more people per square mile) than anything in Providence. True, its probably only a few blocks in scope, but its difficult to reconcile this with your statement that Portland isn't "city" enough. What does that even mean?

You got me! That tiny chunk of the West End that, when viewed separate from the context of the city is denser than anything in Providence (love to see the actual link, by the way) proves that Portland is a real "urban" area. Come on, dude. Seriously? Every one with half a clue knows that Providence is a MUCH larger, MUCH more dense city (as a whole, not a two-block chunk of one neighborhood) than Portland. It also has far more in the way of urban amenities than Portland could ever dream of. I know you can't deny that (but you'll probably try anyway).

For some reason you were drawn to a community college in this place, spent most of your time there, saw downtown and said its too small, and formed your opinion just as fast as I did about Providence.

I went to USM. In Portland. Not a community college. Was that an attempt at a knock on my college education? I went because it was cheap (cheaper than in-state MA tuition), I wanted to try to live somewhere else for a bit and my girlfriend happened to live there. I'm glad I did. I didn't like Portland, but I wouldn't have known that had I not tried.

Ah, so you spent four years living in various neighborhoods in Providence, working there, and getting an education there? Good. Then we may have equal experience between these two cities. I lived in the West End, Parkside and the "Arts District." I think I may have seen/experienced more of Portland than you did of Providence. I've established before why I didn't like it so I don't need to get into it again. In short, I found that it was a boring place for a 20-something and it was FAR too small. I'm hardly in the minority when I say I feel that way. Most of my classmates (except the hardcore, life-long Mainers) have left by choice (not just because of jobs, either) and one of the biggest complaints I hear about Portland is that it's lame for 20-somethings unless you A) Hate city living or B) love the outdoors (or both). You grew up there and that plays a big role in your passion for it. I didn't have that attachment and there was nothing else keeping me there. My girlfriend now lives in San Francisco as she, too couldn't wait to leave. Her sister is moving to Providence (of all places). It's a good fit for some people, but it's a tough place for a 20-something craving the city life. Portland just doesn't offer that.

I'm not saying and never have said I don't like Portland. I actually do. I just couldn't stand living there. I like visiting it like I enjoy visiting Newport, RI, Provincetown, MA, Bethel, ME, etc.


Man, this could be a quote from me to you, regarding Providence compared to Portland. It sums up the illogicality of your arguments the whole way.

Oh, you really missed my point. My whole beef with Portland is that it's too small. I think the few "city" aspects of Portland are hyped up to nearly astronomical levels by locals so that the reality rarely matches the hype. I couldn't stand that locals (Not you, I know you're playing Devil's Advocate here in many respects) love to act as if Portland is the be all and end all when it comes to an urban environment (I've said all along, Portland is a larger than average tourist town and a very good one at that. The only reason I brought Portland up at all is for familiarity. There is no comparison to Providence and Portland. I didn't ever "expect" Portland to have what Providence does (it doesn't, not even close)... I just expected Portland to live up to some of the local hype in many areas and it didn't. It's great for what it is, and that's a very small city. I don't care to live in a very small city. I will visit when I need a weekend away though.

and, I don't think its like saying NYC is just up the road from Boston (in comparison to what I said regarding Boston being close by to Providence) because I would rather be in Boston any day over NYC. Its not all size relevant. [quote]

Yes, but this contradicts your previous point that you can't compare two vastly differently sized cities. Boston may be as big as you care for and that's fine. Still, Providence doesn't have what Boston has mainly because it's a hell of a lot smaller. That's what I was challenging.

[quote]As I said earlier, perhaps you are right and I should reserve judgment. However, that still doesn't justify your awkwardly defensive attitude about the city, and because the whole reason I visit this site is to discuss these things, I won't reserve judgment. A great city should be self evident; one shouldn't have to go "searching" or looking for pockets of good urbanity. Also, If it's as great as you say, I'm sure its reputation isn't tied to the outcome of this petty dispute.

I've already said there's no excuse for the defensiveness. Tough day, that's all. I apologize for the tone (not the debate) as it was uncalled for. You're right to call me out on it. There was no need for it.


Discussion is fine. You just took an opportunity to make an (ill informed) remark on how "bad" you think Providence is. You sugar-coated it by adding the oddly contradictory, "I don't mean to crap on PVD," but followed it up by, well... crapping on PVD. You did reserve judgement without getting a good feel for the city.

A great city is self-evident. If you head to downtown Providence, the urban center and focal point of the city, you'll see that in the architecture, shopping streets, restaurants, beautiful river walk and evidence of modern growth (new buildings everywhere) combined with historic prominence (the aforementioned great architecture). If you venture just outside of downtown you'll find Federal Hill, College Hill, Wickendon St. Benefit St. South Main, etc. No, you don't have to search; but you do have to open your eyes. It's easier to "see" what's great about Portland as it's all isolated in a tiny little pocket right around a tiny little downtown area. Providence, being larger, is more spread out. So once you leave the downtown and vicinity, you DO have to look for those neighborhoods. How many visitors just "stumble" into great neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Boston's outer neighborhood centers? That's not a problem in Portland because there are no neighborhood centers outside the city center. If I just saw Bayside, Deering, North Deering, Riverton, Oakdale, Most of the East End off of the Promenade, Stroudwater, the Eastern Waterfront, or the awkward vacant lots adjacent to the Old Port, I wouldn't be impressed with Portland either.

Patrick
06-26-2010, 07:54 PM
You obviously have a passion for providence. I read through your whole post, but I have no interest in responding to most of it. Not because I dispute it all, but because this has gotten out of hand. Long day at work and drinking is no excuse for online arguing. The main reason I am avoiding responding to most of what you said (other than the fact that it would take all night) is because this stuff really does interest me, and it gets me pretty heated arguing about it. However, I can think of few more lame feelings than how retarded I feel having an online fight. So, I refuse to do it and I hope you do the same. This doesn't mean the discussion has to stop, it just means I will not be responding point by point to what you have written. Some good points, others I could continue to debate, but I won't.

Just a few things I would like to clarify: The reason everyone in Maine seems to think that Portland is the big city is because those of us who realize it isn't (and who want to have a big city experience) leave. The people who are left over are, by and large, those that are clueless. Don't get me wrong, native portlanders are some of the weirder people I have met. I like the city for how many people from outside have moved here. Yet, at the same time, I don't like how they're the same one's who prevent the city from moving forward. I am not oblivious to the fact that people who come to Maine are in no way looking for an urban experience. Yet this doesn't change the fact that most people DO come to Portland for urban amenities. Now I have gone and made this all about Portland, which is something I was trying not to do. The fact remains that, despite your arguments, what I have seen in the several times I have been to Providence, is dumpy waste land. There are relatively nicer and cleaner areas sprinkled in, true, but there is a lot of grime in the city too. I don't know what the districts are by name, so unfortunately I can't refer to them that way. particularly striking was how fast the feel of the place could change. For instance, we were around Brown, we were visiting a friend. There were plenty of very nice houses. quiet streets. students in the campus which was somewhat distant feeling from where we stood on the street. then we went down the hill, and into some very narrow street lined with restaurants and bars and shops. went in somewhere to eat, was told it was great, and was nothing better than what you would see in the Old Port. Okay, not bad though. So we left, (and there were hardly any people on the street, I might add), and upon taking a right, we traveled two or so blocks (beneath where the statue of Roger Williams faces the city) and pulled up to the apartment. There, a block from Brown or so (it could be more, can't remember, this was 2007) was a minivan with at least two dozen bullet holes in the back window. nice. some crime? some problems? I have never seen that in any other city (usually those neighborhoods, where they exist in nicer cities, are not immediately visible to passersby). In providence it was like the place was airing its dirty laundry.

Another time, we were in Providence (visiting the same friend, who went to JWU) and learned that 90% or so of the downtown buildings are owned by JWU. nice. we then went to some sort of nearby shopping galleria, and it was terrible. dusty, old food that looked like it had gone bad. no one in site. granted, it wasn't during the waterfire festival, and was in the middle of a cold month, but it didn't leave a good impression.

Also, when we drive in, we see these ridiculously ugly project buildings that make franklin towers look beautiful. They weren't just "there", they were prominently there. almost as if they were landmarks. I just remember thinking I can't wait til we pass this place by. This may have been a mistake, but that's the impression I got. There were smoke stacks and industrial buildings lining the roads all over the place from the direction we drove in (again, I don't know what district it was). All sorts of dive bars, too. I mention these things not to bash on providence, but because you seem confused by my opinion of the place. well, I'm letting you know why I have it. I don't usually feel that way about cities. Louisville, by the way, has plenty of the things you said make Providence great, as does Buffalo. I know the faults of buffalo probably outweigh the historic architecture and olmstead landscaping, though.

And by community college, I was referring to USM. Your education is what you make it, not where you go. I know this. But USM is a community college in the sense that it is not a national college. Its for locals (no wonder you are so annoyed with portlanders, because the more normal people attend different schools). And that professor of yours who said portland is for people who hate cities, what a quack. Portland is a place for people who love cities. it, along with many other older eastern cities, is a symbol of good urbanism. No, I'm not referring to north deering or oakdale or bayside. Im referring to the obviously urban parts. People who hate modern day american cities may like Portland (but open your eyes, most people in the world recognize the modern american city as a flawed concept).

I am now just sort of responding in random fashion, because I have no time to organize this post, but I also wanted to point out that deering center for a long time (and to a small extent still is) used to be a vibrant neighborhood center, until it was annexed by Portland and turned into an outlying district for commuters. The same thing is true of Libby town. and the west end and munjoy hill both have a healthy number of restaurants, bars, and shops to support the locals of those places (although I'm assuming you lump both neighborhoods in with the "downtown" when you refer to the "core"). Don't get me wrong, the rest of portland is just a generic mess of suburban crap (this is what makes me annoyed). I know this. If it makes you happy (and I am sure it will) I believe that there are places, perhaps many of them, that I have yet to see in providence with which I would be more than impressed. but I didn't make my initial comment expecting this debate, I made it with the anecdotal perspectives of my few trips, which you know. also, if you really want the link to the census site, I'll have to find it, but I'll post it if you really want. I enjoy doing things like looking up and comparing the densities of cities in new england. that's my thing.

Patrick
06-26-2010, 11:02 PM
This isn't the same link I originally viewed (the one I saw had a city to city comparison that I cannot locate) but you'll notice that the population density scales by census tract have a higher upper range in Maine than in Rhode Island. Does this mean Maine is more urban? No, but you did ask to see the link. This is as close as I cuold get in 20 minutes of browsing.
http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/special/profile2k/ME_2K_Profile.pdf
http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/special/profile2k/RI_2K_Profile.pdf

Muns1990
06-27-2010, 05:01 PM
This can be settled easily, Manchester NH beats both, jk, sorta.

Josh
07-03-2010, 06:24 PM
I'm hoping to get down and visit Providence so I can get a feel for what it is like compared to Portland. Especially after these posts!

On a side note, 20% of students at USM are actually out of staters :D

Corey
07-04-2010, 01:35 PM
I'm just now reading those last few posts for the first time. Interesting points. I will just chime and say that, as I may have mentioned before, have never been to Providence but look forward to visiting someday. From what I've seen online, it has a nice dense downtown and looks like a place moving in the right direction.

Boston02124
07-08-2010, 07:58 PM
tuesday and yesterday http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/123.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/124.jpg hazy! http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/125.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/126.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/127.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/129.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/131.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/132.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/133.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/135.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/136.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/138.jpg walking into train station when I took this next one http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/139-1.jpg http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/134.jpg back again yesterday well drove thru http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/144-1.jpg my destination>http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/145.jpg back thru http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn80/boston02124/boston%20skyline/tampa%20fla/148-1.jpg

portnorfolk
07-20-2010, 02:34 PM
Always need to check back and see how my home state is doing...

New pics have been posted of the Warwick Intermodel Facility/MBTA Station. It's in the "home strech" apperently.

flikr slide show
http://www.flickr.com/photos/47874714@N06/sets/72157623999124334/show/

Construction is coming to a close on the Warwick Intermodal Station, a $267 million project for RIDOT and the R.I. Airport Corporation at T.F. Green State Airport in Warwick. When complete, the station will be the closest air-rail connection in the country.

The new station will feature a consolidated rental car facility, a bus hub for local and intercity buses, and a parking garage to accommodate both the rental car fleets (1,800 spaces) and commuter rail passengers (800 spaces).

One of the most striking aspectsof the project is an elegant 1,250-foot, elevated, enclosed skywalk with moving sidewalks that will connect the airport and the station. Learn more about this station and other projects spearheaded by RIDOT's Office of Intermodal Planning.

http://www.dot.state.ri.us/ completion expected in Sept'10 via Wikipedia

also, if you've driven through Providence in last few years or so, some major changes to the highway system (Iway) Do you remember when they floated the bridge up the bay?

http://www.dot.ri.gov/img/content/construction/iway/I-195Update12hires.jpg

portnorfolk
07-20-2010, 02:39 PM
Additionally, Some images from the devastating floods in RI this spring..

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47874714@N06/sets/72157623789359868/show/

Patrick
07-20-2010, 02:49 PM
the warwick imf looks great

DZH22
08-12-2010, 09:32 PM
I posted a new thread on Providence here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=184089

Here's a couple

http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp322/DZH22/Providence%20July%202010/IMG_5858.jpg

http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp322/DZH22/Providence%20July%202010/IMG_5845.jpg

http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp322/DZH22/Providence%20July%202010/IMG_5782.jpg

AdamBC
08-25-2010, 09:20 AM
I posted a new thread on Providence here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=184089

Here's a couple

http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp322/DZH22/Providence%20July%202010/IMG_5858.jpg


Note to the producers of Boondock Saints 2 - this above shot is not in Boston, and I noticed right away. kthxbye

czsz
08-25-2010, 05:08 PM
Give them a break; that could easily be somewhere near Broad St. downtown. At least it's not Toronto masquerading as NYC; that's almost always obvious.

Lrfox
08-25-2010, 07:43 PM
^Or Toronto masquerading as Boston in the first Boondock Saints. There are a few clips where you can see the CN Tower in the background. That's poor editing.

czsz
09-04-2010, 02:04 AM
Dunno where else to put this: unexpected Paul Rudolph in Providence. Human scaled brutalism?

http://exploringvenustas.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/dscn0492.jpg

As seen at:
http://exploringvenustas.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/modernism-and-recent-past-in-providence-a-self-guided-walking-tour/

Beton Brut
09-04-2010, 09:17 AM
Benefit House (http://prudolph.lib.umassd.edu/node/14312), designed in the early 60s.

A shame this (http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/David_Winton_Bell_Gallery/images/unbuilt_rudolph_zoom_im.jpg) went unbuilt. Looks a lot like some of the stuff Ken Yeang is doing in Southeast Asia today.

portnorfolk
09-16-2010, 01:32 PM
last month RIDOT posted new pictures of the Interlink (Formerly Warwick Intermodel) pics include views inside.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47874714@N06/sets/72157624664999837/with/4920271820/

Ron Newman
10-12-2010, 01:14 AM
I was in Providence yesterday for PRONK (http://providencehonkfest.org) (Providence HONK Festival). Since I had my bike with me, I wandered onto the closed section of elevated I-195, which still stands between Wickenden and Franklin streets. I saw another cyclist and a few pedestrians up there, since the city hasn't blocked off access in any way.

Is there a schedule for demolishing this, and if so, any plans to have an official celebration on top of it before it goes away? What will be built on the land below once it is gone?

Lrfox
10-12-2010, 10:50 AM
^Ron, I was going to post some information on it, but there's a lot more in depth at this website (http://www.gcpvd.org/more/195-streetgrid/).

Long story short, it will be demolished and it will mostly be replaced with development and minimal park space (one or two plots including riverfront plots that will be connected by a pedestrian bridge). It seems they didn't want their own "Greenway" in PVD. A major overhaul of the street grid is due too.

In other news on Greater City, Providence:

Chevron (the same) has become involved with a plan to build a massive mixed-use condo development (including a marina) on the East Providence waterfront. The project will include over 600 condo units and 40,000 square feet of commercial space. More information can be found here (http://www.eastprovidencewaterfront.com/?id=14).

A rendering:
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/Eastprov.jpg

Patrick
10-12-2010, 11:07 AM
Cool, sounds like a news story for smaller cities out of the housing bubble era. Looks nice.

Lrfox
10-12-2010, 06:08 PM
^Yeah it does sound like that. Condos always make me skeptical right now, but we'll see. I haven't been paying attention to PVD all that much recently, so I was surprised to hear how far along this is. It was approved unanimously a few months ago and with Chevron as a developer, it seems like it's likely to get done. It's supposed to break ground in early 2011 so it's not as if it's some "vision" at this stage in the game. Big money developer, all the approvals in place and I think this may actually get done.

Unfortunately, the architecture and the layout isn't anything spectacular. It seems like a lot of wasted space. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised since this is a fairly suburban development. They say that they're taking future light rail into consideration but this looks nothing like TOD to me. We'll see. I don't think I'd live there. The view is of industrial wharves and oil tanks across the harbor.

portnorfolk
11-02-2010, 10:51 AM
apperently the InterLink has been completed.
Providence Business News reads - "Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trains are expected to start pulling into the station by the end of the year. Currently, the line from Boston ends at Providence."


http://www.warwickonline.com/view/full_story_news/10080340/article-It-took--267M-and-10-years--but-InterLink-is-here?instance=lead_story_left_column


It?s about connections ? connecting people with planes, trains, cars and buses.

It?s also about the economy, jobs and, most important, the state?s future.

Those were the messages yesterday as the $267 million Interlink facility, tying Green Airport with a parking garage for rental cars and commuters and soon to start rail service to Boston, opened officially yesterday.

The InterLink, silvery, sparkling and full of promise, opens as airline traffic at Green continues its downward slide and the economy sputters. The good news, as Gov. Donald Carcieri emphasized, is that the project is finally a reality and that it has been completed under budget and on time.

Carcieri identified the InterLink as one of four major projects he has hoped to complete during his administration. The others are the I-Way in Providence, the extension of commuter MBTA rail service south of Providence for the first time in 40 years and the connecting roadwork to Quonset.

Also on his list is the extension of Green?s main runway, which is the subject of an environmental impact statement to be finalized by the end of the year. The Rhode Island Airport Corporation proposes lengthening the runway from 7,166 to 8,700 feet.

?When we get the runway expanded, that?s the next hurdle,? he said to a crowd of more than 150 business leaders, officials and people involved in the project gathered on the terminal?s second floor.

Carcieri called the airport a major gateway to our state.

?Rhode Island is not only open for business, but it?s a first class place.?

The dream of connecting the airport with rail service dates back at least 15 years as more than one speaker recalled. Mayor Scott Avedisian remembered how he stood on the roof of the airport parking garage with the late Senator John Chafee and then Mayor Lincoln Chafee, to get a visual of the proximity of the railroad. Avedisian said a picture of that meeting underscored how much has changed, especially now that he has gray hair.

Yesterday, former Gov. Lincoln Almond offered an insight to one of the scores of roadblocks the state encountered to get the idea off the drawing boards and into the ground. After the ribbon cutting, Almond said the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill preventing the MBTA from expanding service to Rhode Island. It looked like Rhode Island could build its station and there wouldn?t be trains. However, efforts to expand Boston?s Logan Airport worked to the state?s advantage. Logan needed air quality credits to offset the increase in traffic. Almond said Logan got them with the extension of rail service now seen as reducing vehicular traffic and pollution for them.

Numerous speakers, including Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and House Speaker Gordon Fox, recognized the Chafee role in the project. Lincoln Chafee, now running as an independent candidate for governor, watched proceedings from a front row seat.

?Once we had the money that was the hard part,? he said as the formal portion of the program concluded and people lined up to use the terminal escalator to the InterLink.

At the rail end of the skyway, rental car counters were open and doing business. The car companies pulled up stakes at the airport Tuesday night and were up and operational the next morning.

The buy-in of the car companies was critical to the project. Customer facility charges paid on rental cars, which the companies started collecting long before the project started, will pay for a major portion of the skywalk, as well as finance operating costs.

The car companies were hesitant to commit to the project, pressing instead for a garage in the short-term lot, in front of the terminal, that would have precluded the need for the skywalk. Almond said Hertz was the key player. He said he put in calls to the company?s leadership, recalling one conversation lasting more than an hour before they consented to explore the idea.

?There were an incredible number of hurdles. [John] Chafee and [Senator Claiborne] Pell would be beaming,? said Almond.

Rhode Island Director of Transportation Michael Lewis, who observed he is the last in a string of DOT administrators to work on the project, was impressed by the accomplishment.

?The political leadership [needed] to implement a project of this size can?t be overstated,? he said.

House Speaker Fox also spoke of the cooperation and coordination between levels of government.

Gregory Nadeau, deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, was impressed.

?This is truly a world class facility,? he said. ?We?re looking at he future of transportation.?

Read more: Warwick Beacon - It took 267M and 10 years but InterLink is here

portnorfolk
11-02-2010, 10:55 AM
update apperently a deal was struck...

http://www.projo.com/news/content/MBTA_SERVICE_TO_GREEN_10-13-10_17KBM5K_v26.23e6e81.html

By Paul Edward Parker

Journal Staff Writer

The state Department of Transportation and three railroads have reached a deal to begin commuter train service connecting T.F. Green Airport to Providence and Boston this fall, according to Rhode Island officials.

The station, with 800 parking spaces for commuters, will also serve those in central and southern Rhode Island who want to avoid Providence Station while taking the train to Boston and other points in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which oversees commuter service to Boston, will determine the date when service will start after preparing train crews, said Amy P. Kempe, Governor Carcieri?s press secretary, adding that it is expected ?before the holidays.? The DOT, MBTA, Providence and Worcester Railroad and Amtrak have planned an announcement for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the airport rail station.

The station is part of the $267-million Interlink, a facility that also includes a commuter parking garage, rental-car facilities and an elevated Skywalk connector to the airport terminal. The Interlink is slated to open Oct. 27 when rental-car operations are to begin there.

Initially, trains will stop at the airport six times a day, according to Kempe. ?The schedule is yet to be determined.?

Late next year, the number of daily trains is expected to double, as the Boston-to-Providence-to-Warwick service will be extended to a new Wickford Junction station in North Kingstown.

The trains will link the airport to downtown Providence and Boston, as well as commuter stops along the route in Massachusetts, including South Attleboro, Attleboro and Mansfield.

Commuter parking will cost $6.75 a day, with a $30 daily surcharge for those who do not remove their cars by midnight. That is to discourage air travelers from using a garage intended for rail commuters.

On Tuesday morning, Kevin A. Dillon, president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, the state agency that runs Green, hailed the impending start of rail service. ?It does a lot for us,? he said. ?It gives us another great ground transportation option. This makes it even more convenient than it was.?

Dillon added that train service will help market Green to travelers looking for alternative routes into Boston as well as to airlines with service to Europe, where travelers are accustomed to trains linking airports to the cities they serve.

The rental car companies will all be on one floor of the InterLink at 700 Jefferson Blvd. Currently, many rental-car companies operate out of kiosks on the bottom level of the airport, while others have locations along Post Road. According to airport officials, all rental-car companies will close on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 26, after the final flight arrives at Green, so they can begin operations at their new InterLink locations the next morning. The Skywalk will also open that morning.

pparker@projo.com

palindrome
11-02-2010, 11:46 AM
I wish they would pick up a few of the soon to be ex amtrak AEM-7's for this line. Isn't it already completely electrified?

although there is a reason they are replacing the AEM's. might be more trouble then its worth.

Lrfox
11-04-2010, 11:06 AM
I think that segment is completely electrified already. At least from Warwick to PVD. I don't know about the rest of the route into Boston.

Anyway, the finalists for the new Pedestrian Bridge (where I-195 used to run) have been selected. I like numbers 3, 5, 8, and 10, but 10 is my favorite by quite a bit. A complete summary of them, with photos, can be found here (http://www.gcpvd.org/2010/11/04/providence-river-pedestrian-bridge-design-finalists/) (greater city, PVD). Under each entry is a link to a flicker page with more renderings and descriptions.

1)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped1.jpg

2)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped2.jpg

3)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped3.jpg

4)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped4.jpg

5)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped5.jpg

6)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped6.jpg

7)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped7.jpg

8)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/Ped8.jpg

9)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped9.jpg

10)

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped10.jpg

11)
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped11.jpg

Side note: I don't know which rendering I think is more comical, 6 or 4. 6 has the transparent people and the guy happily riding his bike through deep snow (with snow on the tires.. nice details) but 4 is apparently its own micro climate. It's clearly autumn on the bridge and still spring or summer on either side. Impressive.

Patrick
11-04-2010, 11:09 AM
2,4, 8 awesome...others...mehh.

vanshnookenraggen
11-04-2010, 11:24 AM
I kinda dig them all. I'm surprised none of them are some concrete bore which any highway firm would have thrown up (I'm looking at you Albany, NY).

Patrick
11-04-2010, 11:48 AM
expanding the realm of possibilities to include such terrible looking function-only structures, you are right. But of those shown, I think some are better than others. In Portland, they recently designed a pedestrian overpass that is essentially like what you described for albany, only it has some sort of metal feathers on it. poor design.

Lrfox
11-04-2010, 01:05 PM
Well, I'm assuming there is no concrete bore because these are the 11 finalists. So there may very well have been some generic looking designs of that nature, but they didn't make it to the final 11 selections.

Patrick, I'm surprised you picked #2. That was my least favorite. I think that many of the paths sort of lead to nowhere and there are a few dead ends. It also has a small, empty plaza. I REALLY think the "The Creative Capital!" sign is so tacky (really, an exclamation point?). Maybe it'll grow on me. You're right though, a good number of the renderings are sort of "meh;" disheartening considering the fact that they are the "finalists."

I think #8 will be the likely winner. It's probably cheaper than #10 (the design they favor over on greater city: providence) and it's functional and elegant.

I think Portland's design was at a disadvantage due to location of the airport and the fact that it will also have to accommodate cars. Those are tough constraints to work with. I would have left the feathers out though.

Patrick
11-04-2010, 01:18 PM
Yeah, i suppose you're right about the trails to nowhere in 2...I guess it just looks more like a public work of art. But from a functionality perspective, it may have more than needed. Perhaps some of that extra unneeded space of trails could have been put into more adornments...I don't know. You're also right on about the constraints Portland had to work with...I guess if nothing else it is an improvement over the existing drab structure. I like 8 equal to 4 in Prov, so I'd be happy seeing either one. Pedestrian bridges are great. But also expensive. wish there were more.

portnorfolk
11-10-2010, 11:42 AM
So with the removal of the previous highway comes more pedestrian friendly space and what not. Apperently the city is looking to build quite the pedestrian friendly bridge...

here are the design finalists... I'm praying for something functional but modern. but ofcourse nimby's always ruin that.

http://www.gcpvd.org/2010/11/04/providence-river-pedestrian-bridge-design-finalists/

Lrfox
11-10-2010, 12:06 PM
^They're all posted on page 13 of this thread.

I'm psyched about the prospect too. I need to get down to PVD and get some photos before the old highway comes down.

Patrick
11-10-2010, 01:05 PM
So this class I'm in keeps emphasizing that NIMBY is a degrading term used to discourage the legitimate participation of interested citizens. Sure, I guess that's true sometimes. But with a project like this, how can anyone complain? It's a bridge. Yet I bet you're right, people will complain. They always do. I'm not convinced that NIMBY is a term invented to delegitimize interested citizens with whom you disagree. I think there are really people that just like to complain. thoughts anyone else?

Lrfox
12-14-2010, 09:42 PM
[drum roll.........] and the winner is:



Number 10!
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped10.jpg

The city announced today that design number 10 was the winner of the contest.

Here is their full entry (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55268422@N08/sets/72157625305178804/) (many more pics).

datadyne007
12-15-2010, 12:23 AM
[drum roll.........] and the winner is:



Number 10!
http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ped10.jpg

The city announced today that design number 10 was the winner of the contest.

Here is their full entry (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55268422@N08/sets/72157625305178804/) (many more pics).
I think it's great. This proposal was by far the most dynamic concept, bringing in the best variety of program. The only concern is that this is the most expensive one of them all. It will definitely pay off, though.

I'm very impressed that Providence is actually caring about and funding design, rather than simple functionality. They could have easily hired a civil engineer to just build a footbridge for a fraction of the cost. Over the years, it would deteriorate and you'd have another structure fall victim to the life cycle of Providence. This design competition definitely shows Providence taking a step forward in reinventing itself as it struggles to find its identity.

Ron Newman
12-15-2010, 09:51 AM
I'd certainly hope that Providence puts a strong emphasis on design, given that RISD is a major part of the city's identity and economy.

Patrick
12-15-2010, 01:10 PM
First, ped bridges are great ideas for cities. You really can't go wrong with them. Period.

However, they can always be improved, and some are better than others.

Second, here comes the criticism: I don't like the design as much as the other ones, and I am surprised somewhat that this was the most expensive...how come? Is that an indoor area I see on the bottom level? And what about flooding? The bottom deck looks like its almost water level.

I do agree that an emphasis on design over functionality is important, and should be commended, but here I think the design is too abstract for my tastes. Good project and idea nonetheless, though.

datadyne007
12-15-2010, 02:12 PM
First, ped bridges are great ideas for cities. You really can't go wrong with them. Period.

However, they can always be improved, and some are better than others.

Second, here comes the criticism: I don't like the design as much as the other ones, and I am surprised somewhat that this was the most expensive...how come? Is that an indoor area I see on the bottom level? And what about flooding? The bottom deck looks like its almost water level.

I do agree that an emphasis on design over functionality is important, and should be commended, but here I think the design is too abstract for my tastes. Good project and idea nonetheless, though.
It's an indoor/outdoor cafe with a small prep area. They've got some great renderings of it if you view the full entry. Finished buildings never look like renderings, though...

Lrfox
12-16-2010, 10:26 AM
Yeah, that was by far my favorite design. Some annoying trends in ped bridges are over reliance on cables and "wavy" designs. There were too many of those in the design contest pool. This one best combines design and function while remaining fairly unique (it will blend with the riverwalk and basin well). The cafe underneath is cool, but I'm not confident that it's the best use for that space.

I guess it's just a matter of preference.

Patrick
12-16-2010, 03:49 PM
Just to reiterate and perhaps clarify, I think any ped bridge is a good idea. And this one certainly isn't bad, but I tend to like the cable-stayed and wavy bridges you alluded to as overrepresented. Maybe they are overrepresented elsewhere, but from my Maine perspective, something more like those concepts would be cool. This bridge design is neat, but leaves something to be desired from a design perspective (in terms of my preference). Riverwalks and ped bridges will really do a lot to improve the place. In new england, one of the primary "exports" of cities in their economic base is a sense of place and experience. Capitalizing on the waterfront will increase this. I guess I am just stating (or re-stating) the obvious here, but I thought it was a concept that is often overlooked in smaller cities in this region.

Roxxma
12-17-2010, 12:01 PM
The cafe part reminds me a little of this bridge in Copenhagen.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4092/5015687947_a43eba68c2.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ngaffey/5015687947/)
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4133/5016296344_181319e61b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ngaffey/5016296344/)

Lrfox
12-18-2010, 11:09 AM
Just to reiterate and perhaps clarify, I think any ped bridge is a good idea. And this one certainly isn't bad, but I tend to like the cable-stayed and wavy bridges you alluded to as overrepresented. Maybe they are overrepresented elsewhere, but from my Maine perspective, something more like those concepts would be cool. This bridge design is neat, but leaves something to be desired from a design perspective (in terms of my preference). Riverwalks and ped bridges will really do a lot to improve the place. In new england, one of the primary "exports" of cities in their economic base is a sense of place and experience. Capitalizing on the waterfront will increase this. I guess I am just stating (or re-stating) the obvious here, but I thought it was a concept that is often overlooked in smaller cities in this region.

Oh I hear you, I'm not trying do disagree. My perspective on the cable stayed and wavy ped bridges is just that I've seen them everywhere. There are so many out there that it just seems like new renderings are sort of copies of existing bridges in some other city. I agree about New England cities giving a sense of place which is why I feel that cable-stayed pedestrian bridges that look similar to ones in other cities often dilute the sense of place rather than add to it. The jewelery district, adjacent to downtown Providence, is an old warehouse district that's in a bit of a renewal process (most construction is on the other side of downtown). It can really benefit from anything that gives it that sense of place you're referring to (and no, I don't believe that only design #10 would have done that).

I think what makes me like this one even more is the lack of a spire at all (a common feature in cable bridges). This bridge will be located right in between downtown and the new I-195. The view you get is of the city skyline and I feel a small cable stayed- pedestrian bridge would sort of detract from the skyline view. If it were a larger span, it could add to it (i.e. Boston's Zakim Bridge), but not so much in this case. It would sort of be dwarfed by the nearby buildings. The design is a bit more subtle, but some of the more unique elements are illustrated better in some of the other renderings. I think that some of the cable bridges out there are great, but this one is a better fit for this location. I think this will give a better sense of place than any cable bridge could. But I'm just basing that on a rendering so I could absolutely be wrong.

Anyway, I'm just glad to see a positive investment here. There's no denying that this bridge will serve a great function (and also replace an old, elevated highway structure) very well (as most of the designs would have done).

Patrick
12-18-2010, 01:14 PM
last time I was in providence for an extended time was 2007...at that time there was a half bridge for the interstate just sort of hanging there. was that the new one being built, or the old one coming down? and is that the area where this bridge is? It sounds like this bridge is best understood in context, which perhaps isn't possible for someone unfamiliar with the view corridors available from its soon-to-be deck (like myself). The jewelry district...is that the rougher part of town by the port area?

Ron Newman
12-18-2010, 11:20 PM
In 2007 you probably saw the new one being built. The new bridge is next to the Hurricane Barrier.

Lrfox
12-20-2010, 10:06 AM
last time I was in providence for an extended time was 2007...at that time there was a half bridge for the interstate just sort of hanging there. was that the new one being built, or the old one coming down? and is that the area where this bridge is? It sounds like this bridge is best understood in context, which perhaps isn't possible for someone unfamiliar with the view corridors available from its soon-to-be deck (like myself). The jewelry district...is that the rougher part of town by the port area?

That was the new bridge being put in. The old overpass (really not much of a bridge) is closer to downtown and if you drove over it, you would be exactly where the new pedestrian bridge will be. In google maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=providence+ri&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&ll=41.819624,-71.403236&spn=0.01145,0.027595&t=h&z=15), you can see where I-195 currently runs and where the old overpass is. That is exactly the spot (where the old overpass is) of the pedestrian bridge once they demolish the highway.

The Jewelery District is between that port area (which is nasty even for a working waterfront) and downtown. Its rundown appearance is sort of related to the fact that it has been torn apart by urban renewal and much of it was separated from downtown by 1-195 which of course will no longer be the case. It's funny because it's such a small district, but it really has some corners and blocks that are in good shape as they've been renovated and gentrified, but much of it is still dotted with parking lots, vacant lots and sparsely used buildings. It certainly hasn't seen the growth that the rest of downtown has (particularly by the train station and capital building area) over the past 2 decades. There are some great buildings and a lot of potential over there (high density aside from the gaps) that will see the benefit of the highway being moved. It's so close to downtown that it's seen some redevelopment anyway, but its in rough shape now. Brown, JWU and RISD are already planning on using some of the space there after the old highway is demolished which will be good (combined with other development). But yes, in a nutshell, it's in rough shape in its current state.

Ron Newman
12-20-2010, 11:36 AM
Has highway demolition started yet? I was still able to bike onto the old highway two months ago.

Lrfox
12-22-2010, 07:53 PM
^didn't see this, so sorry for the delayed reply. Much of the old highway is still standing (as of Sunday), but some segments are gone. I want to take some photos from up there (unique perspective and all) before they're all gone.

Patrick
12-22-2010, 08:27 PM
I can't believe they let people on the old bridge. It seems like it would be a potential liability in terms of a lawsuit for the state if someone were to get injured walking or biking on it. What's its current state?

Ron Newman
12-22-2010, 09:08 PM
The elevated Central Artery in Boston was also easily accessible to pedestrians and cyclists between the time it closed and when demolition started.

Lrfox
12-23-2010, 02:39 PM
I can't believe they let people on the old bridge. It seems like it would be a potential liability in terms of a lawsuit for the state if someone were to get injured walking or biking on it. What's its current state?

It's just an elevated highway. Without cars it's not dangerous. No more dangerous (safer than, really) walking on a municipal sidewalk.

There are elevated sections remaining, but now there are gaps where pieces have been removed. I don't know if it's open to the public anymore. With the gaps and risk of falling, I think liability issues might come into play.

FrankLloydMike
02-21-2011, 01:41 PM
My girlfriend and I took a train down to Providence for the day Saturday. Despite the wind, it was a really enjoyable trip. We visited College Hill, Fox Point and the downtown, all of which were really enjoyable. The bus system seemed to work very well, though the lack of a system-wide map for the city was a little discouraging (we just stuck to the #92 anyway). All of the neighborhoods were really enjoyable and lively, and the activity and human scale of the downtown was like a nicer version of downtown Boston. Overall (and this is based just from a short visit), the city felt some combination of Boston, Portsmouth and both Portlands. I really enjoyed it, and capping the trip off with a delicious IPA at Trinity was an added bonus. Providence deserves more praise for its progress and livability than I've heard at least.

Ron Newman
02-21-2011, 02:15 PM
RIPTA maps are here (http://ripta.com/maps) -- though I wonder if that 2007-08 map is still current!

FrankLloydMike
02-21-2011, 02:57 PM
Thanks, Ron. I saw that, but there seems to be a weird disconnect between the state map and the downtown map unless I'm missing something. The downtown map includes several bus lines that do not appear on the statewide map, but which run off the downtown map. I think a midlevel map would be an excellent idea. Really, though, RIPTA worked quite well for us and the bus drivers were very helpful.

Ron Newman
02-21-2011, 04:26 PM
Yep, I looked for your #92 on the system map, didn't find it, and was pretty confused.

datadyne007
07-03-2011, 06:08 PM
There is no Providence pic thread so...

Today at noon. Not a soul in sight:

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/270826_1820259186361_1236600108_31573089_4072847_n .jpg

PF Changs is going in that boarded up part of the streetwall. Directly above PF Changs is offices up for rent (entrance next door). The mall was bustling all day and the street scene picked up a little as the day went on.

Lrfox
07-04-2011, 08:54 AM
^That area, right between the mall and the train station is a joke. They need to build it out or improve the park, but it's a big time dead zone. It's OK when they throw a concert in that area, but it's a black hole, devoid of life most of the time.

datadyne007
07-04-2011, 09:41 AM
^That area, right between the mall and the train station is a joke. They need to build it out or improve the park, but it's a big time dead zone. It's OK when they throw a concert in that area, but it's a black hole, devoid of life most of the time.

I was trying to imagine how they could develop that park or part of it to bring life to that area when I was walking through. It doesn't work as a giant open lawn. Maybe some sort of condo development like the one at Kendall Sq? The lower-rise buildings would actually look pretty nice next to Providence Place.

Ron Newman
07-04-2011, 10:02 AM
Is it a true park, or just a yet-undeveloped site that has been landscaped?

Frankie811
07-09-2011, 01:41 AM
The reason why that parcel hasen't been developed is one, because the trains run under it, and two, because there are a ton of utility cables that run underneath it which would cost a lot of money to relocate. This piece of land has been looked at for building projects long ago in the past but has been turned down for the reasons I've stated. It's being used this weekend for the ironman contest/race/challenge.

http://ironmanrhodeisland.com/

datadyne007
07-09-2011, 09:06 AM
The reason why that parcel hasen't been developed is one, because the trains run under it, and two, because there are a ton of utility cables that run underneath it which would cost a lot of money to relocate. This piece of land has been looked at for building projects long ago in the past but has been turned down for the reasons I've stated. It's being used this weekend for the ironman contest/race/challenge.

http://ironmanrhodeisland.com/

That's understandable. In that case, they should just properly landscape it/give it some loose program. Benches, trees, walkways, etc.

Frankie811
03-14-2012, 08:03 PM
Gilbane Development Corp. wants to build a four-story apartment building off Thayer Street near the Brown University campus that could house more than 200 people.

http://eastsidemonthly.com/stories/New-Four-Story-Building-Proposed-for-Thayer-Street,1360

Frankie811
03-14-2012, 08:09 PM
Johnson & Wales to start Providence garage construction by late summer

A Johnson & Wales University administrator said Tuesday that the university expects to begin construction by September on an 800-car parking garage on Richmond Street.

Barbara Bennett, the university's legal counsel, told the audience at a business breakfast, "We are getting ready to do it."

She also said the university will begin work on classrooms for its new physicians assistant program in October.

The garage project will take 12 to 14 months, a university spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. Johnson & Wales is working with Walker Parking Consultants, of Boston, and Vision 3 Architects, of Providence, on the construction and design of the five-story garage. The garage will be exclusively for use by university faculty, staff and students.

czsz
03-14-2012, 11:24 PM
The Gilbane Development Company is proposing a dramatic new building for the heart of Thayer Street ...
several other attendees noted that at four stories with underground parking, the building would significantly alter the scale and feel of the street

Cute little Providence NIMBYism!

Ron Newman
03-15-2012, 12:25 AM
Well, that's a pretty dramatic change to a residential neighborhood: "The project would require the demolition of all the small multiple-family houses which occupy the area." If, say, Tufts University wanted to do this here in Somerville, I would not be happy.

This is the block that the developer proposes to demolish: http://g.co/maps/qqfk7 . It appears to contain 11 buildings, including a number of businesses.

czsz
03-15-2012, 12:32 AM
Total number of houses that could be demolished per this article: 10. Possibly fewer. Hardly like demolishing all of Somerville...

I'd rather Providence fill some of its still-vacant riverfront real estate than rip apart College Hill, but this isn't the hugest loss.

Ron Newman
03-15-2012, 12:35 AM
Right, but I still would not want to lose a block of varied, useful, and occupied buildings to make way for a single large structure like this one.

(My edit to my last post, adding a paragraph, coincided with your reply to it.)

Among the businesses that would be lost here are a Middle Eastern restaurant and a Ben & Jerry's.

czsz
03-15-2012, 01:23 AM
I would assume the building will include space for retail. It'll be a shame if these specific businesses don't survive (though from what I've seen most would not be a great loss...and I can assure you the Ben & Jerry's or something like it will live on) but the dispacement of retail and of "occupied buildings" would be temporary. And including space for 220 more students will be a boon to neighborhood retail for sure.

Justin7
03-15-2012, 07:41 AM
I'm with the NIMBYs. That's a cool little block. Brown should be building over one of the nearby parking lots.

Frankie811
03-15-2012, 10:21 AM
I'm with the NIMBYs. That's a cool little block. Brown should be building over one of the nearby parking lots.


Nah, Brown needs all the parking they can get. :) :) :)

FrankLloydMike
03-15-2012, 10:22 AM
I'm with the NIMBYs. That's a cool little block. Brown should be building over one of the nearby parking lots.

I agree. That building would be great on an empty lot or in place of an old strip mall. But on quirky Thayer Street, it looks sterile and certainly is out-of-scale. I've only been to Thayer Street once, but it's very urban and bustling even though it's lined with mostly one- and two-story buildings. Unlike, say, Coolidge Corner, which feels wide and expansive, Thayer feels enclosed, intimate and even rambling. That's also, in part, because so few buildings fill an entire block.

Replacing an entire block of well-functioning, urban buildings for a white-washed replacement--even a bigger one--was something I hoped we'd grown beyond.

Frankie811
03-17-2012, 08:53 AM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/18391347@N00/6989810707/JWU plans new business, tech school buildings



A new business-school building is at the heart of Johnson & Wales University’s latest downtown-campus expansion plans.

The new 80,000-95,000-square-foot building is expected to take a year to design and up to 16 months to build.





http://www.pbn.com/JWU-plans-new-business-tech-school-buildings,66154?page=1&sub_id=66154

Patrick
03-17-2012, 04:57 PM
Thayer Street is my favorite part of Providence (I haven't seen all, but I've been a couple of times, and it's the only part of the city which I have seen that had a really great urban vibrancy). I agree with those who think this block should NOT be demolished, even if, as CSZS said, it is not a "dramatic building" and probably would not be out of scale (Portland's Munjoy Hill, which is more or less the exact same scale as this neighborhood, has had some four story "3 deckers" in the past and probably still has a few...they fit right in). I do not like massive structures with a centralized entrance (even if they house more units). Were this proposed as infill, I'd be all for it (don't sacrifice good enough for the ideal), but where it proposes to take down an existing block, I agree with Mike "I hoped we had moved beyond this."

Patrick
03-17-2012, 05:02 PM
Edit -- after seeing the rendering, I am not as against this project as before, but those generic looking first floor retail windows risk giving up some of what makes the neighborhood unique. Does the structure extend down or off Thayer? The article says "off thayer," but both sides in the rendering have the Thayer signs hanging off. If it extends off of rather than along Thayer, I think this might not be that bad after all. And the taxes will be a sticking point for the City, I'm sure. Universities typically are tax exempt, but pay taxes occasionally "just because." Is this private or university?

Ron Newman
03-17-2012, 05:13 PM
the only part of the city which I have seen that had a really great urban vibrancy

Also check out Wickenden Street and Federal Hill the next time you're in Providence.

Since this proposal tears down the entire block (except for one or two buildings), I'm sure that it fronts on Thayer Street.

czsz
03-17-2012, 05:32 PM
It fronts on Thayer but leaves 2/4 buildings on the block that also front Thayer intact - so this will not fill the entire block along that street.

Frankie811
03-17-2012, 05:56 PM
Yes this is a private development by Providence based and world renowned Gilbane Development Corp. Brown is not involved with this project and has their own plans for new student housing on College Hill. This project will be fully taxable. Nearby neighbors fear that Brown may someday take ownership of the building if it is indeed built. Brown is of course tax exempt and does make annual payments to the city in lieu of taxes totaling almost $4mil. In contrast, Yale U in New Haven, CT pay much more to their host city. The City of Providence is trying to get them and other tax exempt institutions to pay more in order to avoid bankruptcy.

Ron Newman
03-17-2012, 09:00 PM
I still think there should be a pretty compelling reason before you take down 9 old buildings in a prosperous mixed residential-commercial district. I don't see such a reason here.

czsz
03-17-2012, 11:13 PM
^ You would subject any urban change to the kind of scrutiny courts reserve for overcoming charges of discrimination against protected classes of people? What kind of compelling reasons are we talking about? Compelling reasons beyond owning the property, fitting within zoning regulations, obtaining neighborhood approval, not interfering with any historic property designations, adding density and vitality to the neighborhood and potential customers within walking distance of many local businesses as well as additional tax revenue?

Ron, your position here strikes me as nothing more than "change is bad".

Patrick
03-18-2012, 07:29 PM
^ You would subject any urban change to the kind of scrutiny courts reserve for overcoming charges of discrimination against protected classes of people? What kind of compelling reasons are we talking about? Compelling reasons beyond owning the property, fitting within zoning regulations, obtaining neighborhood approval, not interfering with any historic property designations, adding density and vitality to the neighborhood and potential customers within walking distance of many local businesses as well as additional tax revenue?

Ron, your position here strikes me as nothing more than "change is bad".

A.) czsz: out of curiosity, are you an attorney? If so, do you practice in the development field?

B.) I think you make excellent points, czsz, and surely those are indeed compelling reasons to approve this structure (and likely precisely the reasons for which it will be approved). However, I don't think the views expressed by Ron are anti-change, and I tend to agree with him. I want to reiterate that I like the design of this structure, and it may be the exception to the general rule that tearing down blocks of pre-existing and apparently well-functioning urbanism is a terrible idea, but I can't help thinking an area is what it "is" because of the pre-existing buildings, and replacing them (rather than adding to them, in a more appropriate infill area like a parking lot) changes the area, potentially for the worse. Urban renewal was all about the sort of plan in place here--and it is widely recognized to have failed, terribly. I think that's where Ron's concerns are coming from. It happened in Portland, San Francisco, St. Louis, NYC, Boston, and anywhere else you can think of. The dead-zones of asphalt usually stem from a plan like that in play here. Structures torn down, nothing ever built because of market volatility, and the result is anti-urban. I'm not saying that'll happen here, hopefully it won't. But it could, and it has happened enough times before to make Ron's concerns well justified in my mind. Then again, you raise the important points of any counterargument, which illustrates precisely why we need to revamp zoning in this country, and the process which underlies its adoption, entirely. A more comprehensive approach to prescribing community defined urbanism would be preferable, in my opinion.

Just trying to add to the dialogue here, not stir anything up.

FrankLloydMike
03-19-2012, 12:04 PM
I still think there should be a pretty compelling reason before you take down 9 old buildings in a prosperous mixed residential-commercial district. I don't see such a reason here.

I agree in principal and personally, but I doubt Ron was trying to express this sentiment as a legal argument. I certainly would not.

My objection--along with those expressed by Patrick--is that this building, while reasonably attractive, just seems very generic compared to what exists now. The proposed building looks too much like the Portwalk currently under construction in Portsmouth, NH. Unlike vibrant Thayer St, the Portwalk--which I think is equally generic--is being built on the former site of a hideous mall and parking lot (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=165+Hanover+St,+Portsmouth,+NH&hl=en&sll=43.07752,-70.760348&sspn=0.000805,0.001682&t=h&gl=us&hnear=165+Hanover+St,+Portsmouth,+New+Hampshire+03 801&z=16) that was the result of the kind of mass demolition now proposed for the Thayer block.

http://providencemedia.static2.adqic.com/uploads/inline/1331737223_f50d.jpg
The proposed building at 357 Thayer St in Providence

http://nerej.com/images/stories/2011/46026_Portwalk%20Residences%202-2_opt.jpg
The Portwalk buildings currently under construction in the old North End of Portsmouth, NH

Both projects exemplify the sort of pseudo-historicist architecture now in vogue in "colonial seaports" like Portsmouth and Providence. The designs are neither historically accurate nor particularly contextual, which I think gives them a pretty generic feeling. Still, they're not offensive, people seem to like them, and they're far from the worst things being built out there. But looking at the existing buildings of Thayer St in Providence and the old (and largely demolished) North End in Portsmouth shows that they're pretty different contexts.

Portsmouth's North End is largely a collection of parking lots with fairly large, masonry-clad buildings along Hanover St (including the relatively recent additions of a large parking garage, a Hilton hotel, and a particularly contextual but not faux-historicist building (http://www.loopnet.com/Attachments/C/3/4/xy_C34538B3-4B90-484D-B585-B3AC5390977D__.jpg) at the intersection with Market St). The only small, wood-framed buildings are a collection of colonial-era houses saved during the wholesale demolition of the North End under urban renewal, which are now clustered along Deer & High St, now called the Hill. Even along Deer St, the newer wood-clad buildings provide a fairly uniform face to the street, rather than a collection of smaller, individual buildings. In that context, the large--if somewhat uninspiring--buildings of the Portwalk fit in fairly well and are a huge improvement over the parking lots they're replacing.

Thayer St, on the other hand, is an intact, densely built-up urban block, and it is surrounded by similar blocks made up of several 19th and early 20th century buildings. Almost none of the blocks have a single building fronting Thayer for the entire length, and most are a mix of wood and masonry buildings. Since they are made up of smaller buildings, they feature many entrances along Thayer and side streets, as Patrick noted. The proposed building defies all of that context with a single building taking up nearly the entire block, creating a few major public entrances, internalizing the entrance to residences on the block; and with its railings, turret and other pseudo-Victorian details it cheaply and selectively, but inaccurately mimics some of its neighbors.

This seems like an example of replacing real history and real context with stage dressing. While the new building will be larger, with its centralized entrances, over-scaled details, and mid-block parking access, I doubt it will feel more urban or provide more interest to the street than simply renovating the existing buildings would. I'm not against change or increased urbanity, just against change that replaces unique character and successful blocks with generic replacements. If we want cities to remain interesting and vibrant, we can't let them feel as interchangeable and bland--albeit denser and more walkable--as the suburbs around them.

Frankie811
03-19-2012, 01:15 PM
Great post FrankLloydMike! When I first looked at the rendering of that Portsmouth, NH building I immediately thought of the Providence Place Mall which looks somewhat similar. The building on the corner of Thayer & Eucliud where this project may go is commercial and everthing else off Thayer St is residential. It's a pretty small and dense street with terrible parking. Almost all the houses on this block have driveways. This project extends over to the next block which is Meeting St where there is a restaurant (Zenobia-Hookah bar) which will probably have to go alond with more houses. Some of the commercial buildings @ Meeting & Thayer Sts apparently will be saved. I expect opposition from the

http://collegehillneighborhoodassociation.org/

Lrfox
03-19-2012, 03:04 PM
I'm still torn on this one. I think the developer's rendering was careless (although I don't have a better solution) as it appears, at first, to be set mostly along Thayer Street. That's not the case. The rounded corner is actually the intersection of Thayer and Euclid and the length of the building in the rendering is along Euclid. Here's a similar angle from Streetview (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=thayer+street+providence&hl=en&ll=41.828763,-71.400733&spn=0.00081,0.001742&safe=off&hnear=Thayer+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&t=h&layer=c&cbll=41.828646,-71.400719&panoid=omPQ7b2TcX4_4T25gRTaRQ&cbp=12,40.84,,0,-8.52&z=20). As you can see, the only building destroyed on that front is the brown structure which really is an eyesore. The rest of the Thayer buildings will remain (you can see the building with the strange roof in both the rendering and goolge maps).

It was a BIG relief when I realized that I was looking at the rendering wrong.

However, there are some pretty nice old structures on the block that will face the wrecking ball. Frankly, I don't want to see them go. A smaller scale building to take the place of the eye sore on the corner of Euclid and Thayer would be ideal. I am not thrilled with the proposed building and find it to be a bit generic. I'd still support it if it didn't mean knocking down some nice older homes, though.

As far as the "scale of the neighborhood" argument? Lame. Just look across the street from the proposed site, and you see this monstrosity (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=thayer+street+providence&hl=en&ll=41.828564,-71.400696&spn=0.00081,0.001742&safe=off&hnear=Thayer+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=41.828564,-71.400696&panoid=C4q9aTjKQPhuQ_9il70AAw&cbp=12,306.95,,0,-10.18). This view (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=thayer+street+providence&hl=en&ll=41.828646,-71.400719&spn=0.000814,0.001742&safe=off&hnear=Thayer+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&t=h&layer=c&cbll=41.828646,-71.400719&panoid=omPQ7b2TcX4_4T25gRTaRQ&cbp=12,214.61,,0,-13.09&z=20) is looking on from the proposal site to the opposite side of the intersection. Two blocks further down Thayer and you have this (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=thayer+street+providence&hl=en&ll=41.82727,-71.400683&spn=0.000814,0.001742&safe=off&hnear=Thayer+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=41.82727,-71.400683&panoid=Ied2t5m6SSG8Vh1ow_rEPA&cbp=12,124.79,,0,-21.96). I'm not buying that. But some of those houses are worth saving. Maybe it's nostalgia (I lived 2 blocks from this for years), but I have a tough time supporting something so generic at this site if the cost is a number of nice older buildings.

*edit*
According to the rendering it looks like they'll be repaving Thayer and Euclid with glass or ice.

bostonbred
03-19-2012, 06:05 PM
When I first looked at the rendering of that Portsmouth, NH building I immediately thought of the Providence Place Mall which looks somewhat similar. The building on the corner of Thayer & Eucliud where this project may go is commercial and everthing else off Thayer St is residential. It's a pretty small and dense street with terrible parking. Almost all the houses on this block have driveways. This project extends over to the next block which is Meeting St where there is a restaurant (Zenobia-Hookah bar) which will probably have to go alond with more houses.

OL DONKLE said: NOT tearsIn dOwn WELLINGTON ROOM in PoRTsMoTh pLaCes. so. OK HAVING plAces for kissykissieGIRLFIEND DINNERS!!!!!

Seanflynn78
03-19-2012, 06:16 PM
Your telling me they couldn't find another spot in Providence to build this McMansion of mixed development? Thayer St. in Providence is probably the best area with urban character and pedestrian foot/bike traffic besides Federal Hill in the city of Providence.

czsz
03-19-2012, 07:00 PM
^ "Couldn't they find a better place?" is probably the best argument against it. I said earlier I'd prefer to see it plugging a parking lot along the river. Unfortunately, waiting in line for the next available open space is not how urban development works, which is why Boston has to worry about historic preservation while most of the Seaport is still an asphalt wasteland.

Lrfox does a good job showing why so many of the concerns here are off base - the building just does not take up a full block of Thayer, and, even if it did, it would be far from grossly out of scale.

Is this incredibly special architecture? No. You are not going to get that in almost any urban redevelopment in New England, especially where people are so touchy about the "character of the neighborhood" - including people on this forum, whom I'm sure would be even less thrilled were some Gehry squiggle proposed for this site. But neither is the stuff it's replacing incredibly special architecture. If anything, a generic house with a lawn is more out of character on this part of Thayer Street than what's going to replace it.

Oh, Patrick - I'm not technically a lawyer, although I do work in law (passed the bar exam but waiting on one signature before I can submit my admission papers...) I didn't think the point Ron was articulating was necessarily legal, but he was setting up a sort of rule or norm for urban redevelopment that I thought ought to be put into perspective by noting that we use similar language in discrimination cases (and cases involving eminent domain, which development within the boundaries of private property without state involvement doesn't rise to - so under Ron's rule, you'd effectively have to deal with the same arguments against any redevelopment that one faces now for eminent domain).

Lrfox
03-19-2012, 08:10 PM
Your telling me they couldn't find another spot in Providence to build this McMansion of mixed development? Thayer St. in Providence is probably the best area with urban character and pedestrian foot/bike traffic besides Federal Hill in the city of Providence.

The fact that the area has a nice urban scale and good foot traffic is likely what makes this location more appealing to the developers than, say, the Jewelry District, or along the parking lot triangle downtown bounded by Pine, Dorrance and Dyer (which is where I'd love to see something like this).

Furthermore, in spite of the mediocre architecture, the building will be far better from an urban standpoint for that particular corner of Thayer and Euclid (again, it's a semi-blighted house on the corner now) while keeping the other buildings on that block of Thayer as-is. I'd go even further and say that the building makes Euclid (a side street) even more urban along that stretch.

The legitimate complaint is the destruction of a few significant older houses. That's a tough one to swallow. But the building, generic architecture and all, only serves to make that corner more urban if anything.

*edit*
In other news, the Arcade is set to get a makeover which will include first floor retail and lofts on the higher floors. The plan seems to target young professionals and small business owners. I like it. You can read more about it here. (http://www.arcadeprovidence.com/)

Lrfox
03-19-2012, 08:41 PM
Speaking of those empty lots downtown, JWU is working on expanding their campus there including some new tech and business buildings along Friendship, Pine and Chestnut streets including some old I-195 land.

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/jwupvd.jpg

From the looks of the photo, it appears that they're going to extend Friend Street a few more blocks.

Read more here. (http://pbn.com/JWU-plans-new-business-tech-school-buildings,66154?page=1&sub_id=66154)

Ron Newman
03-19-2012, 09:48 PM
I wasn't making a legal argument, just saying that I didn't regard this proposed development as fixing anything that was currently broken in that neighborhood.

Ultimately this is up to the folks of College Hill (and Providence more generally) to decide, not interlopers like me from another state. But I would not favorably regard a proposal to tear down this many occupied houses in Cambridge or Somerville to put up a big brick student residence for Harvard or Tufts.

Will the new development have as much first-floor retail space available as the buildings that it would replace?

Patrick
03-20-2012, 08:11 AM
^ "Couldn't they find a better place?" is probably the best argument against it. I said earlier I'd prefer to see it plugging a parking lot along the river. Unfortunately, waiting in line for the next available open space is not how urban development works, which is why Boston has to worry about historic preservation while most of the Seaport is still an asphalt wasteland.

Lrfox does a good job showing why so many of the concerns here are off base - the building just does not take up a full block of Thayer, and, even if it did, it would be far from grossly out of scale.

Is this incredibly special architecture? No. You are not going to get that in almost any urban redevelopment in New England, especially where people are so touchy about the "character of the neighborhood" - including people on this forum, whom I'm sure would be even less thrilled were some Gehry squiggle proposed for this site. But neither is the stuff it's replacing incredibly special architecture. If anything, a generic house with a lawn is more out of character on this part of Thayer Street than what's going to replace it.

Oh, Patrick - I'm not technically a lawyer, although I do work in law (passed the bar exam but waiting on one signature before I can submit my admission papers...) I didn't think the point Ron was articulating was necessarily legal, but he was setting up a sort of rule or norm for urban redevelopment that I thought ought to be put into perspective by noting that we use similar language in discrimination cases (and cases involving eminent domain, which development within the boundaries of private property without state involvement doesn't rise to - so under Ron's rule, you'd effectively have to deal with the same arguments against any redevelopment that one faces now for eminent domain).

Interesting. Congrats on passing the bar. Do you work in Boston/MA, and if so, is it in the real estate or land use field? I’m a land use attorney and a cousin of mine is a real estate atty in Boston. Small legal world in these areas. Where did you go to school?

P.S. -- I saw your point with the legal standard, but it sparked my curiosity about your background (I like to know who I'm having a discussion with). I think your arguments here are all good, but I just feel bad that sometimes, as LRFox said, it is the special character that draws development to a certain place (while there are parking areas in other less special places) yet the new development there runs the risk of ruining, ironically, exactly what prompted the investment in the first place. I guess that's a constant balancing act in any land devleopment situation, though. In the end, I guess we should all just be happy that there is continuing interest in this really cool/funky stretch of a neighborhood (one of my favorite in New England). Unfortunately, when my wife and I were in Prov last spring, we stayed in a sort of less active (if more urban looking) section of town. If anyone is familiar with the magazine “Culture” it has a whole page and maybe more on Providence in the current edition, entitled “Urban Excursion” wherein it discusses local farmers markets and water fire etc. The funny thing is that the article notes the city’s “small” size as one of its attractions and a reason underlying its ability to hold true to the farm-to-table motto of buy/eat local. Size is relative, I suppose, and this is nowhere more evident than to a Mainer living just north of Southern New England (where our “City” is the size of a So. NE “town.” I was flying into Charlotte the other day, and said aloud “what a small city” (it really is, in terms of a downtown, and one sees this if they’ve ever flown over NYC, which stretches for hundreds of miles in every direction). The guy in front of me turned around and groaned and kept looking at me for the rest of the time taxiing in. Good thing he didn’t ask where I was from. Now I am rambling (characteristic).

Lrfox
03-20-2012, 10:02 AM
Will the new development have as much first-floor retail space available as the buildings that it would replace?

Not 100% sure. The building will remove 3 storefronts (Ben and Jerry's, a hooka bar/restaurant, and a hair salon). 2 of those storefronts are on Meeting Street and one is on Euclid. None of those storefronts face Thayer Street. Based on the rendering, it adds a fairly prominent storefront (which is so generic it inevitably looks like a Walgreens or Rite Aid) right on the corner of Thayer and Euclid which is actually an improvement over the current intersection. There looks to be room for two storefronts on that corner, but I can't tell for sure. The rendering doesn't really show far beyond that intersection, nor does it show the Meeting Street side or the Brook Street side which I hope aren't blank walls and/or parking.

Again, I love what it does for that corner of Thayer and Euclid. The rest? Not so much. I'd like to see more renderings to see if they sway me one way or another.

Frankie811
03-20-2012, 10:32 AM
Off topic post

At some point several years ago there was speculation that Brown U may have been interested in buying then using the Wyndham Garden Hotel
( http://www.booking.com/hotel/us/220-india-street-providence.en-us.html?aid=336408;label=providence-2Trm2odQlDJFTeQcoLqmaQS18723088888;sid=b3644dabedf de3580fcb62c2ae344385;dcid=1;srfid=f59fc7a838ae679 7ddcfc00339ba601fX3 ) in India Point as a dormitory. The Fox Point Neighborhood Association ( http://www.fpna.net/ ) was totally against this idea for whatever reason.

FrankLloydMike
03-20-2012, 01:23 PM
Knowing that the long side of the building in the rendering faces Euclid does make it much less objectionable to me. I still think it's generic looking, and I still question the idea of replacing an intact block of mostly successful (and fairly easily adaptable) buildings almost entirely with a superblock, especially given that posters here seem to think that the only other superblocks in the area are widely disliked. At least, though, it preserves most of the eclecticism along Thayer St.

Will the new development have as much first-floor retail space available as the buildings that it would replace?

No. As you can see from the plan below, there is only space for one, small retail shop. The good news, at least, is that it's far too small for a Walgreens or Rite-Aid. If they were willing to move the resident entrance to Euclid and give the leasing office a less prominent spot, there could be space for a second small retail spot, but I'm not sure what that would do to their overall design.

http://providencemedia.static2.adqic.com/uploads/original/1331737229_4aab.jpg

Lrfox
03-20-2012, 02:20 PM
That overhead shot has me leaning more towards "no". It would create a super block and there's not enough retail. This isn't a section of town that's in need of more people on the street. While I don't oppose more residences in the area, I don't want them like this.

Even if that leasing office could eventually become an additional retail space (it would be perfect for a coffee counter accessible from both the street and the interior of the building), I still don't like it.

FrankLloydMike
03-20-2012, 03:07 PM
That overhead shot has me leaning more towards "no". It would create a super block and there's not enough retail. This isn't a section of town that's in need of more people on the street. While I don't oppose more residences in the area, I don't want them like this.

Even if that leasing office could eventually become an additional retail space (it would be perfect for a coffee counter accessible from both the street and the interior of the building), I still don't like it.

Even though it looks like some of the existing buildings on side streets would be nicer if they were renovated, they at least lend some life to those street fronts. With porches, small front years and especially front doors, the streets seem to have a liveliness that successful residential streets should. Aside from the corner of Euclid and Thayer, this project will create a bland facade--whether you like the architecture or not, there will be no activity--across the entire block. I'd like to see developers and architects be a bit more inventive, and provide apartments with direct access to the street, at least on the first floor, in projects like this.

Mark24
03-28-2012, 10:11 AM
Speaking of those empty lots downtown, JWU is working on expanding their campus there including some new tech and business buildings along Friendship, Pine and Chestnut streets including some old I-195 land.

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/jwupvd.jpg

From the looks of the photo, it appears that they're going to extend Friend Street a few more blocks.

Read more here. (http://pbn.com/JWU-plans-new-business-tech-school-buildings,66154?page=1&sub_id=66154)

J & W has been given first rights to land overlooking Route 95 where the former interchange was. They are proposing two buildings approx 8-15 stories each. Not sure of the particular purpose of each, but at least one will be a dorm.

Patrick
04-02-2012, 08:14 AM
Providence is number 3 for foodies according to Travel & Leisure
http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-best-cities-for-foodies/4

Boston is No. 23 and Portland is No. 29

bdurden
04-02-2012, 10:31 AM
I was in Providence this past weekend and stumbled upon this modern gem (Brown's Creative Arts Center):

http://brown.edu/academics/creative-arts-council/sites/brown.edu.academics.creative-arts-council/files/imagecache/homepage_featured_image/homepage-featured/building_new_web.jpg
designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

More info here: http://www.archdaily.com/112338/perry-and-marty-granoff-center-for-the-creative-arts-brown-university-diller-scofidio-renfro/

Patrick
04-02-2012, 10:43 AM
I was in Providence this past weekend and stumbled upon this modern gem (Brown's Creative Arts Center):

[img]http://brown.edu/academics/creative-arts-council/sites/brown.edu.academics.creative-arts-council/files/imagecache/homepage_featured_image/homepage-featured/building_new_web.jpg[\img]
designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

More info here: [url]http://www.archdaily.com/112338/perry-and-marty-granoff-center-for-the-creative-arts-brown-university-diller-scofidio-renfro/[\url]

I wonder why this didn't post?

http://brown.edu/academics/creative-arts-council/sites/brown.edu.academics.creative-arts-council/files/imagecache/homepage_featured_image/homepage-featured/building_new_web.jpg

KentXie
04-02-2012, 11:12 AM
Used the wrong "/"

bdurden
04-02-2012, 11:18 AM
^Updated (new keyboard).

Frankie811
04-04-2012, 07:44 AM
Where is that building located? Scooped by an out-of-towner. :)

Lrfox
04-05-2012, 09:27 AM
RIPTA has approved plans for Providence Light Rail.


Funds put plan for streetcar line in motion

The board of directors of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority approved plans for a $126.7 million Providence streetcar system, with preliminary plans for a two-and-a-half mile route that would connect Rhode Island Hospital, downtown Providence and College Hill.
The idea was originally proposed by the Transit 2020 Action Group in 2006 as part of a greater initiative to invest in the growth and improvement of Providence transit over the long term.
The approved plans are based on findings from the Providence Core Connector Study, which considered multiple options for routes and technology, including enhanced buses as an alternative to the streetcar.
Ultimately, the study concluded that a streetcar would be the better option, citing its potential to incite economic development, its community impact and its better passenger experience.



Link to source (http://www.browndailyherald.com/funds-put-plan-for-streetcar-line-in-motion-1.2725504#.T32q6vCJfQN)

Shepard
04-05-2012, 09:41 AM
Let's get this straight. Starting from scratch, and including rolling stock, a 2.5 mile light rail in Providence would cost $126.7 million.

Meanwhile, Dudley GL extension, no new rolling stock needed and existing tunnel in place, was estimated to cost $160 million... why should that have been more expensive? (And why was the "solution" BRT with a $72 million natural gas fueling facility and all new specially designed buses?)

Mark24
04-05-2012, 10:07 AM
Where is that building located? Scooped by an out-of-towner. :)

up the street from the Brown Book Store across from Rhyme and Reason

Lrfox
04-05-2012, 03:55 PM
Let's get this straight. Starting from scratch, and including rolling stock, a 2.5 mile light rail in Providence would cost $126.7 million.

Meanwhile, Dudley GL extension, no new rolling stock needed and existing tunnel in place, was estimated to cost $160 million... why should that have been more expensive? (And why was the "solution" BRT with a $72 million natural gas fueling facility and all new specially designed buses?)

I don't know about the cost structure, but Mass's infatuation with BRT is pretty disappointing. I hope that fades sooner rather than later.

Mark24
04-05-2012, 04:57 PM
NEW: Providence and Portland Named Top Hipster Cities by Travel + Leisure



Email to a friendPermalink

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Tracey Minkin, GoLocalProv Features Editor








Hipster Central, according to Travel + Leisure: Providence's AS220
Providence nails another Top 10 nationwide today as Travel + Leisure names it among the Top 10 Cities for Hipsters in the United States.

The capital city, home to hipster hangouts like the Steelyard, AS220, and Olneyville Square is in fact the #6 Best City for Hipsters, according to latest ranking of America's largest cities released by the internationally renowned travel magazine. Seattle, WA crowned the list at #1, followed by Portland, OR (#2), San Francisco, CA (#3), New Orleans, LA (#4) and Portland, ME (#5). Providence was followed by Austin, TX at #7, and San Juan, PR, Philadelphia, PA, and Denver, CO at #8, #9, and #10. New York City ranked #12 and Boston #17.

What makes a city a hipster hangout?

The hip honor for Providence is the latest round of Travel + Leisure's America's Favorite City Survey, where readers ranked 35 metropolitan areas on culturally relevant features like live music, coffee bars, and independent boutiques. To zero in on the biggest hipster crowds, T+L says it factored in the results for the best microbrews and the most offbeat and tech-savvy locals.

"This academia-rich New England city has a concentrated mix of artists and nerds," writes T+L, "scoring high in the survey for its performance art and cafés." T+L names AS220 as the "artsy nerve center" of the city, which the magazine says boasts of stimulating Rhode Island’s “cultural mulch” through shows, a restaurant, a coffee bar, and a meeting space for the tech group Providence Geeks.

Defining today's hipster

Travel + Leisure admits this new ranking reflects its take on the debated term hipster, "which can inspire eye rolls or admiration," Katrina Brown Hunt writes. "Once used to describe counterculture types, hipster is now so prevalent it’s at a possible tipping point. Whatever your take, you generally know hipsters when you see them—most likely in funky, up-and-coming neighborhoods. A smirking attitude toward mainstream institutions means they tend to frequent cool, often idiosyncratic restaurants, shops, and bars—the same kinds of venues that appeal to travelers looking for what they can’t find at home. (Yelp.com now even has a search feature for “hipster” ambience.)

FrankLloydMike
04-05-2012, 08:33 PM
RIPTA has approved plans for Providence Light Rail.



Link to source (http://www.browndailyherald.com/funds-put-plan-for-streetcar-line-in-motion-1.2725504#.T32q6vCJfQN)

Wow. So it sounds like this is really happening now. I hadn't heard much about it in awhile, so I was wondering what the status was. This is incredibly exciting, both for Providence, and to show that mid-sized cities can support strong public transit. Really, though, this will be huge for Providence, I think.

Mark24
04-05-2012, 11:46 PM
Wow. So it sounds like this is really happening now. I hadn't heard much about it in awhile, so I was wondering what the status was. This is incredibly exciting, both for Providence, and to show that mid-sized cities can support strong public transit. Really, though, this will be huge for Providence, I think.

Hopefully they will partner with private business in this venture. Other transit organizations have turned to this. The HRT in Norfolk built their light rail with minimum private capital and hope to expand on that process. The vote in Providence was quite the opposite of the recent vote in New Haven. They turned it down because there was a feeling it would not help transit in the minority neighborhoods. The proposed line was similar to Providence's in that it connected a hospital complex, a college, thru the city and to a neighborhood that overwhelmingly had people who worked in the city, went to the college and worked at the hospital! This was a line with immediate success written all over it and then they could have expanded it. It is not a time for citites to be shortsighted on mass transit.

Lrfox
04-06-2012, 12:21 AM
It's a great decision for Providence and the cost is quite a bit lower than I would have expected (even for a single 2.5 mile long line). If this is the line I think it is, it'll be GREAT for the Jewelry District.

Ron Newman
04-06-2012, 08:32 AM
Providence has at least one unused railroad or trolley tunnel. Will this system use it?

Lrfox
04-06-2012, 10:01 AM
Providence has at least one unused railroad or trolley tunnel. Will this system use it?

Do you mean this tunnel (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Providence&ll=41.826792,-71.40863&spn=102.118883,228.339844&hnear=Providence,+Rhode+Island&gl=us&t=w&z=3&layer=c&panoid=-MXUR__JF4CkJQAD5mtSag&cbll=41.826792,-71.40863&cbp=13,69.4921441373258,,0,-2.23453540100995)? It's currently used by buses and I know that it's at least been mentioned for light rail, but I'm not sure if they actually plan to use it. To be honest, I'm not sure what type of grade the LRV can handle. I know Muni Metro in SF has a some steeper slopes, but all of the streets from downtown Providence to College Hill are VERY steep. I'd almost assume they'd have to use the tunnel.

Lrfox
04-06-2012, 10:53 AM
Oh, and a little publicity form across the pond:

Providence, Rhode Island: New England's coolest city

Providence, Rhode Island, is the coolest city in New England. I would even put it on the shortlist of coolest small cities in the United States. (It has about 170,000 people, with another million in the surrounding area.)
Like Rome, Providence congregates around seven hills. The two to keep in mind are Federal and College. Like many cities, it’s traversed by a river; unlike most, its river had been paved over by the world’s widest concrete bridge until the Nineties, when it was uncovered and brilliantly lit afire. More on that later.
Like few other cities, Providence gives tax incentives to artists not institutions. And unlike any other, it was founded by Roger Williams, one of the great iconoclasts of the 17th century. Williams was kicked out of Massachusetts Bay for daring to believe in religious freedom and the separation of church and state. He founded Providence as a haven of tolerance.



Full story from the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/northamerica/usa/8511439/Providence-Rhode-Island-New-Englands-coolest-city.html)

Mark24
04-06-2012, 11:10 AM
Providence has at least one unused railroad or trolley tunnel. Will this system use it?

first, nice picture LrFox. That is the tunnel that will have the streetcar service as it initially had and now has buses thru it. This was finished around 1913 to avoid the steep climb of College Hill. In fact, Providence was one of the few cities using a counter balance system to get the streetcars up College Hill. The old railroad tunnel, finished in 1908, doesn't have street access to downtown Providence. It was removed when the new train station was built. The area in front of the west portal is now a raised parking lot. The east portal of the tunnel still connects to the now unused row and unused Seekonk River railroad bridge. Much of the trackage is now gone in East Providence. This route was the first choice of Amtrak's electrical service, it would have saved 5 miles, but at double the cost of the present route.

Lrfox
04-06-2012, 11:28 AM
^Great info!

So the are going to use the current bus tunnel for light rail? Providence will have a subway?!(kidding).

czsz
04-06-2012, 11:40 AM
Is this close to the final route? Any deviations? Updated map?

http://www.gcpvd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/suggested-streetcar-route-14Feb11.jpg

Ron Newman
04-06-2012, 11:56 AM
No service to Federal Hill? That's a major tourist destination.

Mark24
04-06-2012, 12:42 PM
Not sure of the final route and if the railroad station branch is included, as such it still is a work in progress. Service to Atwells Ave (Federal Hill) is in the future probably continuing to Olneyville. Atwells Ave, the main restaurant street, is very narrow though and they might choose Broadway, wider and thru more of a residential area, to go thru Federal Hill to Olneyville.

Lrfox
04-06-2012, 03:35 PM
Not sure of the final route and if the railroad station branch is included, as such it still is a work in progress.

You seem to know what you're talking about; but last I heard they had scrapped the spur to the rail station. Don't ask me to cite the source, because I can't. It was also over a year ago. The logic behind it was that the station-Kennedy Plaza spur could easily be served by a shuttle that just constantly runs that route. It would also be much more cost effective.

itchy
04-07-2012, 05:25 AM
[New Haven's politicians] turned down [a streetcar line] because there was a feeling it would not help transit in the minority neighborhoods. The proposed line was similar to Providence's in that it connected a hospital complex, a college, thru the city and to a neighborhood that overwhelmingly had people who worked in the city, went to the college and worked at the hospital! This was a line with immediate success written all over it and then they could have expanded it.

From what I had read, New Haven turned down federal money for a study for a streetcar line ... all because it would "only" help the things in New Haven that actually work (i.e., Yale and the people connected to it). Apparently capital-intensive transit projects are not supposed to foster economic growth for an entire city but help favored constituencies get to the check-cashing place more easily.

Gotta love the shoot-yourself-and-the-other-guy-in-the-foot politics of reverse racism.

Lrfox
04-10-2012, 10:51 AM
37 Richmond Street/ JWU Garage looks... surprisingly good for a garage.

This is how garages should look with ground level retail (4 retail spaces facing Richmond Street).

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/jwu-garage-001.jpg

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/jwu-garage-aerial.jpg

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/jwu-garage-corner.jpg

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/jwu-garage-richmond-service-entrance.jpg

The garage will take the space of a surface lot near the boundary of the Jewelry District and Downtown Providence. The only real difficult part to swallow is that one building (the Mirabar building) will be demolished (here's the streetview (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=37+Richmond+Street,+Providence,+RI&hl=en&ll=41.820759,-71.412102&spn=97.785812,228.339844&sll=41.823945,-71.40985&sspn=0.00929,0.013797&t=w&hnear=37+Richmond+St,+Providence,+Rhode+Island+029 06&z=3&layer=c&panoid=8fErlVGsTYG515HnULt2YA&cbll=41.820759,-71.412102&cbp=13,-108.57723854302289,,0,-16.787663397333418)). Architecturally, it's not landmark, but once it's gone, it's gone. Overall, the garage/retail beats the surface lot and one lonely building.

It's a preliminary step forward for a major JWU expansion. They're looking to build class and living space on many of their other surface lots in the area so starting with a new garage makes sense. The addition of 4 retail spaces in a spot occupied by a bar (only open at night) and a surface lot is certainly nothing to be upset about either. Between the light rail approval and the rather ambitious plans for the newly freed up I-195 land (not just a "greenway"), I'm getting excited again for the work taking place in Providence.

You can get a lot more info on the project from the Greater City: Providence site. (http://www.gcpvd.org/2012/04/10/johnson-wales-richmond-street-garage-proposal/)

czsz
04-10-2012, 12:46 PM
If ablarc were still here he'd praise it to the heavens.

Can't help but wonder if it's so great for them long term though. Can it be converted into more productive space if they decide that's more important than parking in the future?

Lrfox
04-11-2012, 10:00 AM
I don't know if it can be converted. On one hand, it is right next to the Providence Performing Arts Center and a lot of the bars and clubs so it should see some use. On the other hand, there's quite a bit of parking in the area already so the market may be flooded.

LordStanleyCup2011
04-17-2012, 08:16 PM
I saw online that Providence wants to add a streetcar system there.

Take alook at this site a ton of awesome ideas:

www.providencecoreconnector.com

Frankie811
04-23-2012, 04:21 PM
Preservation group sees demolition of historic homes as 'impediment' to Gilbane's Thayer St. plan



PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A proposal to build a 102-apartment building on the city's East Side "raises a number of questions" for the Providence Preservation Society, the organization says.

Gilbane Development Corp. wants to build a four-story building near Brown University. Company chairman Robert Gilbane envisions a $28-million building at 257 Thayer St. with room for 277 residents, primarily Brown students.

Generally pleased with Gilbane's willingness to discuss its plans, East Side groups have noted various concerns with the project.


http://news.providencejournal.com/business/2012/04/preservation-group-says-demolition-of-historic-homes-as-impediment-to-gilba.html

According to an April 17 letter, the the preservation society sent to Gilbane, "the greatest impediment to this project is the proposed demolition of nine historic homes."

Mark24
04-24-2012, 02:14 PM
Preservation group sees demolition of historic homes as 'impediment' to Gilbane's Thayer St. plan


According to an April 17 letter, the the preservation society sent to Gilbane, "the greatest impediment to this project is the proposed demolition of nine historic homes."

Please note that in the state of Rhode Island any structure older than 50 years old can be deemed "historic". I don't want anyone from outside Rhode Island to think these homes are in the same context as Benefit Street and its surroundings. Nor are they victorian structures as one sees throughout the city. But a multi family tenement built in the early 20th century could be deemed historic by The Rhode Island Preservation Society.

Frankie811
05-08-2012, 04:43 PM
Providence Preservation Society's 2012 Ten Most Endangered Properties

http://ppsri.org/ten-most-endangered-properties/2012-mep-list

Frankie811
06-25-2012, 04:48 PM
Thayer Street proposal has been redesigned

http://pbn.com/Thayer-Street-apartment-project-redesigned,68512

Frankie811
07-25-2012, 05:51 PM
Consultant suggests Providence put restrictions on Thayer apartment plan

http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2012/07/consultant-sugg.html

Nexis4jersey
07-27-2012, 09:26 PM
Any large scale projects underway or being proposed?

datadyne007
07-27-2012, 09:44 PM
Dunno, but I have some other fantastic news...

Pinkberry opened in Providence Place today!!!

Lrfox
07-28-2012, 08:33 AM
Any large scale projects underway or being proposed?

There are some larger buildings proposed. Both down on the old 195 land and on College Hill. This site isn't the best place to get news on PVD as there's no PVD community here. Whenever I post something it's usually copy/pasted from http://www.gcpvd.org/ which is always updating.

I know that Starwood has put plans for a W in Providence back on the table, but not sure where it's going to go. It'll be scaled back from the pre recession plans.

Dunno, but I have some other fantastic news...

Pinkberry opened in Providence Place today!!!

Awesome! I'll have to try it out. All I think of is that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

datadyne007
07-28-2012, 02:55 PM
I'm really intrigued by W's interest in Providence. I don't think it quite has the scene they look for yet, but it's definitely coming as Providence continues to evolve and has been consistently rated as America's coolest and up-and-coming city.

Lrfox
07-28-2012, 03:26 PM
I don't think Providence merits one on its own. However, I do think proximity to Boston and some Boston area venues (i.e. Gillette, Comcast Center, etc) helps. You'll get overflow and for busy/pricey dates in Boston; and for Comcast Center or Gillette, Providence is preferable (visiting NFL teams stay in PVD).

Also, Starwood has a Westin in Providence which gives them a good bead on the luxury hotel market in Providence. Surprisingly, there are only 2 hotels in the city that rate at 4 stars (Westin and Renaissance). There are no 5 star hotels. There are a couple of smaller "luxury" boutique hotels (like Hotel Providence (http://www.hotelprovidence.com/)) that have done well. W bills itself as a boutique luxury hotel and could fit in nicely on a small scale. New Orleans has a big W hotel and a much smaller French Quarter hotel. Providence isn't New Orleans by a long shot, but they are similar in size and I could see a W utilizing a historic downcity building and teaming with RISD to come up with a very cool, small hotel.

Providence's "scene" is definitely still emerging. The thing that kills me is the real Jersey Shore influence in a lot of the nightlife. Federal Hill is awesome for a meal. It has some great bars too, but man does it ever get douchey. Still, the city has some really cosmopolitan events and a very good arts/dining scene (second only to Boston in New England... and Providence's "creative" vibe is a little edgier than BOS). I lived there years ago, and I'm always surprised how urban a place it really is when I go back. Rhode Islanders are also a whiny, self-loathing bunch which is off-putting.

But yeah... for a combination of reasons, PVD will end up with a W at some point.

Frankie811
08-08-2012, 05:17 PM
LrFox, how do you know that Starwood has plans back on the table for a "W" hotel? I've seen nothing as of yet.

Mark24
08-11-2012, 11:40 AM
For Immediate Release Contact: Kristen Adamo
401-456-0231
kadamo@pwcvb.com

What Summer Doldrums?
Providence Hotels Surpass 80 Percent Occupancy for the First Time Since 2004

Providence, RI – July 30, 2012 – The temperature isn’t the only thing rising in Providence, as city hotels enjoy one of their best years in nearly a decade. Occupancy for June 2012 was 81.4 percent, the first time Providence hotels have surpassed 80 percent since October 2004. Overall, occupancy rate and the Average Daily Rate (ADR) for a hotel room for the first six months of 2012 are both up over 2011 levels.

“The idea of vacating a city during the hot summer months is an outdated concept, at least here in Providence,” said Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB). “The PWCVB has booked several large meetings, conventions and sporting events this summer, which are filling restaurants, hotels and shops, while the City of Providence and our local arts and cultural community have scheduled a wide range of entertaining events that are drawing more visitors to the city.”

Among the high-profile events that Providence hosted in June were: Netroots Nation, a conference of progressive bloggers and political figures; IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference; and the 2012 Hearing Loss Association of America Annual Convention. The three conferences accounted for 5,549 hotel room nights.

The rest of the summer is equally busy. In July, the city has hosted the Amica Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island, the 2012 National Strength & Conditioning Conference and Exposition, and the International Association of Food Protection Annual Meeting. The three events consumed an estimated 8,250 hotel room nights. On deck in August are the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education 2012 Conference, the American Phytopathological Society 2012 Annual Meeting, and the Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon. The three events will account for 7,796 hotel room nights.

“While meetings and conventions provide a solid base for the hotel community, it is the layering of leisure travel visitors on top of that base that makes the kind of substantial impact we’ve seen this summer,” said Sheridan. “Events like WaterFire, Providence Restaurant Weeks, the Independence Day celebration, and the community programming that the City of Providence does add vibrancy to the city and draw visitors to the region. They are all integrated into our leisure marketing efforts.”

While occupancy peaked in June, the rest of 2012 has also been strong. Overall, occupancy is up 5% over the same time period in 2011 and each individual month has bested that same month in 2012.

In addition, the Providence hotel community has seen ADR slowly rise to near pre-recession levels. Overall, the average ADR for the first half of 2012 was $137.17, an increase over the 2011 ADR of $129.68. So far in 2012, the ADR peaked in May at $159.14, buoyed by meetings and conventions, as well as area college graduations. June’s ADR was a solid $149.36, up 9.7% over June 2011.

END


"W" was originally proposed for the bottom 10 floors of a planned residential high rise that fell victim to the recession. The return of the higher rates and occupancy lends itself to a possible new downtown hotel. What isn't mentioned in the report is that this 81.4 occupancy includes two new hotels, The Hampton and Renaissance, that weren't around in 2004. Appoximately 400 rooms. Thus, as compared to 2004 without these rooms added, the occupancy rate would be much higher. Also, there is another boutique hotel in the works at the former Sportsmen Club, a longtime dive, on Fountain street. It will have about 85 rooms.

Lrfox
08-11-2012, 09:05 PM
LrFox, how do you know that Starwood has plans back on the table for a "W" hotel? I've seen nothing as of yet.

I can't get into specifics, but I work for Starwood (though the W project in Providence is not something I'm personally involved with). It's a plan, not set in stone; but they're in the process of looking at potential sites. It would likely be a renovation of an existing building rather than a new structure, but a new structure hasn't been ruled out. The numbers Mark24 posted certainly help make the case. Also, the success and relative lack of luxury hotels in Providence (Westin and Renaissance are the only 4-stars and Renaissance is less than 10 years old) is part of the draw as well. Starwood has a good bead on the market as the Westin is one of our properties as well. Again, if plans progress, it will be on the smaller end for W hotels, but that will really enhance the boutique-y vibe that the W brand strives for. Especially if they use an older building.

Glad to hear about the 85 room boutique. Hotel Providence has done really well and it doesn't surprise that someone else wants to try their hand.

Mark24
08-27-2012, 02:02 PM
WARWICK | THE STATION DISTRICT

Ripe for development

City envisions ‘new downtown’ of homes, businesses

By BARBARA POLICHETTI JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
WARWICK — Can trains, planes and automobiles pull an old industrial area out of the doldrums and boost the state’s economy by attracting new businesses?
City and state officials hope so.
They want to capitalize on what they see as a winning transportation combination: T.F. Green Airport connected to a new train station via sky bridge — all within a half mile of easy highway access.
The area around the transportation hub that the city thinks is ripe for redevelopment has been identified as roughly 100 acres of privately owned land in the heart of the city along Jefferson Boulevard and Post Road.
It is referred to as the “Station District,” and officials hope it becomes Warwick’s new downtown with offices, hotels, shops and urban-style residences, such as apartments and loft condominiums. The city also envisions a well-planted, attractive streetscape that will entice residents to walk the area rather than drive.
Even though it will probably take years to become reality, Governor Chafee says the Station District has great potential and getting it off the ground is one of his top priorities.
“I see this area now as one of our most important assets,” Chafee said. “If there’s a company interested in coming to Rhode Island, this is one of the first places I will take them.”
City officials say they are banking on the easy access to transform a faded part of the city that was once a mill village and later a manufacturing and industrial area.
“When you want to get an area ready for development, the first thing you look at is your infrastructure and what you have in place,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said. “Well, we have it all in one place — an airport, a train station, bus service and great access to Routes 95 and 295.”
To lure developers, the city has created new zoning for the area that will allow for denser development. Buildings can be taller, closer together and built right up to the sidewalk.
William DePasquale, the city’s planning director, said having buildings nudge the sidewalk is a return to the look and feel of an old-fashioned downtown. The Station District is now the only area in Warwick where buildings do not have to be set back from the pavement.
“We want that pedestrian interaction, DePasquale said.
“We want an active streetscape with restaurants and shops on the ground level. Also services like dry cleaners or shoe repair shops — the types of places that people stop in often.”
Mayor Avedisian noted that Warwick does not have a traditional downtown. Rather, its older retail areas are made up of a collection of small village centers.
For the Station District, he said, “I can see someone taking the commuter rail home, going to their apartment and condo to change, and then enjoying the evening at a local restaurant with friends — without ever having to use their car.”
Warwick’s vision for what is now a scruffy-looking area has been discussed and revised numerous times since the idea was broached more than 15 years ago when Governor Chafee was mayor of the city.
The impetus, Chafee recalls, was discussion in the mid 1990s about Amtrak’s desire to build a train station near the airport.
Over the years, Amtrak bowed out and the state Department of Transportation and Rhode Island Airport Corporation stepped in to see the station project through. The result was a $267-million complex called the InterLink that features a rail station served by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, car rental companies and a large parking garage with room for the rental fleets and commuters.
The complex, which opened in the fall of 2010, is linked to Green via a sky bridge that crosses Post Road and which officials say offers not only convenience, but protection from unpredictable New England weather. Chafee said it was designed to accommodate at least a couple of buildings that want to “dock” directly to it, so there is the possibility of travelers being able to enter a hotel or other business right from the skyway.
Chafee says he remains as enthusiastic about the transportation hub as he was from the beginning. And like local officials, he sees the development zone as the perfect New England spot for corporate conferences.
Participants could arrive at Green, walk across the sky bridge to a hotel hosting the conference and then fly out — without ever needing a car, he said. If they decided to explore Rhode Island a bit, the rental car companies are right there.
Avedisian said that the Station District is a way for War-wick to capitalize on having a regional airport in its midst ––an airport that is undergoing a $165-million improvement and runway expansion project, and which also just welcomed JetBlue as another affordable carrier.
The idea of using transportation to seed development, particularly in urban areas, has been a successful formula across the country for at least 20 years.
National urban development expert Christopher B. Leinberger is familiar with dozens of so-called “transit-oriented districts” — from Oregon to Virginia. Warwick’s hope for a concentrated mix of retail, office space and residences is typical, he said.
What is not so typical, he said, is Warwick’s reliance on commuter rail linked to an airport.
Airports in and of themselves do not generally kindle development around them, Leinberger said, and there is little case history to show whether an air-commuter rail link can attract enough development to sustain a new district.
“That’s not to say it won’t work,” he said.
Leinberger is president of Locus, a national consortium of real estate developers who work in partnership with Smart Growth America to advocate for sustainable and “walkable” urban development. He is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy think tank based in Washing-ton, D.C.
The typical recipe for success, he said, is abundant ground transportation that offers frequent stops, such as subways and trolleys. He also said that while there is great demand for pedestrian-friendly urban areas across the country, they “take a lot of hard work” and many never get off the drawing board.
DePasquale and senior city planner Dan Geagan, who have been immersed in the details of the Station District for more than a decade, say they are aware of the challenges and are not daunted.
Neither is state Planning Director Kevin Flynn.
“You have the real possibility of creating a true, mixed-use walkable downtown type area there,” he said. “You could totally transform the area and you have the potential to create something we don’t have in the state.”
Regarding concerns that an airport may not be a big draw for developers, Flynn said, “The airport has been there for years, but now we have the added element of rail.
“That is the infusion of something new.”
While about 200 commuters a day use the Warwick train station currently, city officials believe that the number will grow. Flynn and DePasquale noted that it takes years to grow ridership on any public transportation system.
“It takes time to mature a commuter population,” De-Pasquale said. “We know this, and that is why the residential component is such an important part of the Station District plan.”
Once loft-style condominiums or other attractive urban residences get people living in the Station District, their reliance on the commuter rail could make it practical for the MBTA to increase service on the line, he explained.
One of the scenarios the city sees for the area would be a mix of 40 percent to 45 percent office and hotel space, 10 percent to 20 percent retail and entertainment and 40 percent to 45 percent residential.
DePasquale and Geagan said the city’s zoning incentives should draw interest from developers — plus the city plans to streamline the permitting process for new development. Also, the city is ready to help developers contact landowners in attempts to secure parcels they want to develop.
While the city is working on writing design guidelines for the district, Avedisian said, it will not dictate building materials or an architectural style. DePasquale said the city wants to be flexible, right down to the boundaries of the district itself. He said the city can easily expand the district to include surrounding properties, such as the old textile mill that most recently housed Leviton, an electronics component maker.
The city is not currently offering developers monetary incentives, such as phased-in property taxes.
Officials are concentrating on marketing the district with the help of the governor’s office and other state departments.
Earlier this month the city learned it had won a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, primarily for marketing the Station District. Also, working with the state, the city has already begun bringing in real estate scouts from across the country for tours of the district.
“Now we have to get out there and buck this inclement economy,” Chafee said. “We want to make sure this is on everyone’s radar.”
An advantage Warwick has, city officials say, is that it is focusing on a small area. Transportation districts in other parts of the country are often much larger, connecting many communities and covering anywhere from a few square miles to several-hundred square miles.
When asked for a prime example of a successful transportation district, most professional planners look west and point to Portland, Ore., for its use of mass transit to keep a major city vital while also sparking development in surrounding areas. The gargantuan “TriMet” transportation system that serves the area offers electric trains, commuter rail and streetcars — all combining to create an impressive network that serves Portland and more than two dozen other cities across three counties.
The rail system has seeded a few high-density, mixed-use developments in the 570 square miles it serves. In the Orenco Station community, a planned development zone west of Portland, residents can access the giant mass transit system while living in a pleasant tree-lined area where they can walk to almost any amenity.
Imagination is needed to picture the Station District as the city hopes it evolves, Avedisian and Chafee acknowledge.
The area is a patchwork of privately owned parcels and a mix of mismatched businesses ––– many of which are located in one-story, cinder-block buildings. There are a couple of remaining rows of old millworker houses, vacant lots and, right beneath the sleek glass-walled sky bridge, an overgrown “graveyard” for worn-out lemonade trucks.
“I see affordable property when I look at that,” Chafee said, noting that real estate in Warwick is far more affordable than Boston or New York. DePasquale said the city has compared housing costs with Boston suburbs on the MBTA line and found that you can live in Warwick for about 30 percent less.
Skeptics, Avedisian said, need only to look at what the area looked like 10 to 15 years ago.
Part of the land where the train station and parking garage now stand had been home to the former T.H. Balis chemical company, he said. “We have to remember where we’ve been,” he said. “This is an opportunity to create a new sense of place in Warwick — and that’s an opportunity you don’t get very often.
“We need to make sure we get this right.” bpoliche@providencejournal.com   (401)277-8065

Lrfox
08-27-2012, 05:36 PM
Well it's a good thought, that's for sure. It's surprising to me that Warwick, a city of over 80,000 people doesn't have a cohesive downtown (even a smaller rundown one). I actually played with google maps just to see. It's even more surprising that this area of land is the first area in the city to allow buildings to build right up to the sidewalk.

It's hard to be optimistic though. While the location is good (excellent, even), the economy is terrible in RI and I don't see the demand being there for some time. When the demand comes, I'd still rather see major companies move into some of the newly freed up 195 space in Providence or to space in central Pawtucket which is a downtown area with GREAT bones.

Furthermore, the space along Jefferson BLVD and Post Road is already pretty built up and suburban. It's going to take decades to redevelop that into an urban center. And it'll likely require traffic increases at the airport. Something that hasn't happened since the early 2000s (though Jetblue starting service to PVD will be a big boost as will the runway expansion). All current hotels are very suburban.

Still, I like the concept. I'd like to hope that there would be a way for developers to connect their buildings into the airport's Gerbil Tube (which is super long). At best, I think this could end up looking someting like Virginia Beach's Towne Center (http://www.vabeachtowncenter.com/) development which is a new "downtown"area built up in an existing suburban area similar to this section of Warwick. Here's a link to Towne Center (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=westin+virginia+beach&hl=en&ll=36.841666,-76.133221&spn=0.005094,0.006968&sll=36.850162,-76.023438&sspn=0.007169,0.013937&t=h&hq=westin+virginia+beach&z=18)in google maps. It's still a work in progress, but it does represent an urban city center to some degree. The comparison has a little more weight when you consider that the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metro area is almost the same size as PVD's metro area (1.7 Million in Norfolk-VA Beach vs. 1.6 Million for PVD) and Towne Center is similarly close to the primary urban center of the region (Norfolk). The transit portion of the Warwick proposal doesn't exist in VA beach, but I'd say VA Beach is far more economically stable than PVD. This is the best I'd expect in Warwick.

Patrick
08-30-2012, 07:28 AM
Great idea. I think the transportation element to it is great. It is the same idea that is being used all over the world in the form of "aerotropolises." While fox may be right that there are better places to put some new business development first, it is also important to have this site get the framework right in time for when the right opportunity does present itself. It's better than continuing the status quo.

Lrfox
09-10-2012, 02:30 PM
I hadn't heard of this one, but apparently it's close to being open. The ProvidenceG (stupid name) is a luxury apartment renovation downtown.

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ProvidenceG.jpg

From Greater City Providence (http://www.gcpvd.org/2012/09/10/providenceg/):
They report the project will include 52 luxury apartments expected to be ready for occupancy in October. There several restaurant/retail spaces available and there will be a rooftop bar. The old Narragansett Hotel Garage will have vetically stacked parking, apartments on the upper floors, and a rooftop pool. The project will also feature a fitness center for guests.

LOVE the idea of a rooftop bar. One of the better bars in New Bedford has a rooftop bar and there are a handful in Boston too. Of course, in Providence it'll likely draw a douchier crowd (especially if it's combined with the pool), but I love the idea of it.

Nexis4jersey
09-10-2012, 11:36 PM
So they plan on capping I-95 through Downtown Providence...?

Lrfox
09-11-2012, 08:39 AM
So they plan on capping I-95 through Downtown Providence...?

I-95 or I-195? 195 was rebuilt further outside of downtown and there's old 195 land right in downtown that's going to be built on. I don't know anything about capping 95 through downtown, but I'd love to see it. I don't imagine there's demand for air rights development in Providence at this point. Still, it's hard not to love the idea of Federal Hill being better connected to the city center.

Mark24
09-19-2012, 01:40 PM
I hadn't heard of this one, but apparently it's close to being open. The ProvidenceG (stupid name) is a luxury apartment renovation downtown.

http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy139/jfoahs04/ProvidenceG.jpg

From Greater City Providence (http://www.gcpvd.org/2012/09/10/providenceg/):


LOVE the idea of a rooftop bar. One of the better bars in New Bedford has a rooftop bar and there are a handful in Boston too. Of course, in Providence it'll likely draw a douchier crowd (especially if it's combined with the pool), but I love the idea of it.

the renovation includes the building to the left also. The corner building under wraps was the home of a men's clothing store for years and the building next to it is the old Providence Gas Company building. Thus, the name ProvidenceG for the project. It was used for billing and sales. The majority of the apts will be there with retail on the first floor.

Mark24
09-29-2012, 07:49 PM
Providence Arcade to reopen soon


Historic shopping center closed in 2008

Updated: Monday, 20 Aug 2012, 7:27 PM EDT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A downtown Providence landmark shuttered since 2008 could soon be back in business.



Developers say several retail shops and restaurants could move into the renovated Providence Arcade by the end of September.

Construction crews have been hard at work renovating the country’s oldest indoor mall into a so-called “micro-retail” and “micro-loft” space.

The first floor will include 14 small retail shops and four restaurants. Those spaces should be move-in ready by the end of next month. There was no word Monday on which retailers were planning on moving in.

The second and third floors will contain 48 “micro-lofts,” most of which will be between 225 and 270 square feet and include built-in furniture. Developers say there is already a lot of interest in the “micro-lofts.”

“We have a waiting list that’s twice as large as the number of units we have to rent,” says Evan Granoff, manager of 130 Westminster Associates.

Leases for the “micro-lofts” will begin February 1st.




FYI, the Granoffs are the same people who had proposed a 500 foot building about 2005. It was to include 10 floors of a "W" hotel and the rest condos. The "W" brand is now looking for a Providence location, new construction or renovation. With the Arcade success, perhaps the Granoffs will see the need for rentals as opposed to condos. Pictures of the Arcade can be seen on Facebook "The Providence Arcade".

datadyne007
09-29-2012, 08:39 PM
I really love the Arcade. When I did the SAAHP summer program at RWU, they took us there to sketch one day. It's great to see it revitalized and even repurposed into micro-units!!

Btw, you actually have to search "the arcade providence" to find the non-"place" page that has the pictures.

Apparently they found some beautiful tin ceilings:

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/3695_464398066913589_1025684954_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/561108_464397976913598_1373453322_n.jpg