Things continue to move (slowly and deliberately) around the South Street Landing site on the waterfront.
Signs have already gone up announcing the beginning of work on the power plant. (See our earlier item on this page.) The occasional hardhat has been seen on the site.
On July 17th, the Providence Journal reported that planning is underway for the relocation of the transformer substation (photo at left) to make room for a 744-car parking garage planned as part of the South Street Landing project.
The Journal said, "National Grid is moving ahead with relocating a substation standing in the way of the nursing education center proposed for the Jewelry District, according to a utility official. But it won't be moving the equipment – critical to powering downtown – far, perhaps a couple of hundred feet, according to utility spokesman David Graves."
"Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island and Brown University two years ago announced their intentions to relocate some academic programs and administrative personnel into the vacant South Street Power Station, which a Boston real estate firm plans to renovate as part of its $215-million South Street Landing project."
Read the full story from the Providence Journal here.
Meanwhile, on another front, at the upcoming City Plan Commission Meeting, preliminary and final plans will be presented for the parking garage. And at the meeting the Commission will review the institutional master plan for the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center (NEC).
Just by the way, the appearance of the name Rhode Island Nursing Education Center on the commission's formal agenda seems to make it and NEC official for the combined nursing schools.
City Plan Commission meeting convenes at 4:45pm,
on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
Walking past our beautiful, abandoned power plant the other day, we noticed glimmerings of activity. Banners announce the Brown, RIC and URI collaboration. A Gilbane banner newly nailed up on the brick wall.
And, perhaps most telling, three brand new dumpsters and portable toilets on site.
Maybe hammers and saws will once again be heard above the noise of traffic on Eddy Street.
At the June 16 meeting of the 195 redevelopment District Commission, developers presented a mixed-use concept for the two parcels that make up the largest site offered by the destruction of Interstate 195 through the Jewelry District. In what JDA President Arthur Salisbury described as a "very complete presentation", developers showed conceptual drawings for a million-square feet of new construction that could rise on the 5 acres of Parcels 22 and 25. In all the project would have laboratory buildings, two laboratory/office buildings, a 175-room Le Meridien hotel, 100 residential units, retail space and a public meeting/event space. For the Providence Journal account of the meeting, click here.
The proposal was made by a partnership linking CV Properties LLC, and Baltimore, Md.-based Wexford Science & Technology. CV Properties is already at work in the District: they are converting the long-abandoned power plant into offices for Brown University and nursing school facilities for Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island.
The developers plan to build out the and in three distinct phases. The slide show below shows how they see the process unfolding, beginning with the hotel, large cafe and a lab/office/academic building.
For the CV/Wexford presentation, click HERE.
On June 3d, Pat O’Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, was in town to promote the idea of a waterfront baseball park on the Providence River.
WRNI's Scott McKay offered his observations on O'Conner's sales pitch. "A burly, folksy southerner, the Florida-based O’Conner told the gathering that most minor league stadiums –75 percent or so—are built with public subsidies of some form or another. He also said that in many instances, these new stadiums help to bring ancillary economic development to the areas near the parks, including hotels, restaurants, condo developments and shopping attractions."
You can read McKay's full account of the event here.
ArtProv Gallery has just opened its latest show focused on creativity in the District.
The Gallery says that "Fine Artists of the Jewelry District”, will feature paintings, photography, and sculptural work by artists creating and thriving in Providence’s Jewelry District, which was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1985. Once a thriving manufacturing area, the Jewelry District is now a dynamic live/work neighborhood with a rich architectural heritage. Behind the beautiful old facades, the Jewelry District is alive with creative energy from so many accomplished artists. We’re thrilled to show visitors the amazing talent we have in our own backyard.
For a preview of the art on exhibit, gallery hours and contact information, click here.
Though his appearance was only announced by the PawSox the day before the May Jewelry District Association monthly meeting, a large crowd was on hand to hear James Skeffington's presentation of the river-edge stadium proposal.
Opening the meeting, JDA President Arthur Salisbury asked the members of the audience to introduce themselves. As the introductions went around the large conference table at the Brown Continuing Education Dept. building on Dyer Street, it became clear that a broad spectrum of interested people was on hand.
Salisbury welcomed Mr. Skeffington to the Jewelry District and announced that after making his presentation, Skeffington would entertain questions, first from District residents, then from the general public.
In his introductory remarks, Skeffington said that he was honored to be present and that he had "never done this before."
Besides concerned residents, visitors from the East Side and other interested parties, the media were on hand, as well. Kate Bramson provided an even-handed report of the proceedings in her Providence Journal account. You can read her article here.
At this moment, minutes from the meeting are in preparation and will be posted on this website as soon as they are complete.
One nugget we're pleased to share right now.
District resident Olin Thompson suggested that by putting the ball park into the vacant, shovel-ready Victory Plating site four blocks away, the city could have the best of both worlds: its splendid riverside park and walkway would extend from Waterplace past the new pedestrian bridge to the Point Street bridge AND we'd have a first class Triple A ball park within walking distance.
The ball park proposal isn't merely a Jewelry District issue. It's a matter of enormous concern, interest and importance to the city of Providence and the state of Rhode Island (not to mention Pawtucket). The issues are complex, details are vague, much remains to be seen. Public meetings of this sort will help focus the close scrutiny, due diligence and analysis that a proposal of this magnitude deserves.
The discussion continues. Upcoming public meetings on the PawSox stadium proposal:
Monday, May 18
6:00 p.m. at the Hope High School Cafeteria.
Hosted by City and State Elected Officials. Formal discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 20
6:30 p.m. at the Sheldon Street Church, 51 Sheldon Street
Hosted by the Fox Point Neighborhood Association. Program begins at 7:00 p.m.
Christopher Velleca, Principal of Federal Hill Group, LLC - Architects shared the latest proposal for the building to replace the current smaller structure on 44 Hospital Street. The new design, shown in the renderings below, has been submitted to the city's Design Review Commission for approval. Velleca forwarded the designs to the JDA with the request that they be shown to the Association members.
The renderings reveal major changes in the design first proposed nearly two years ago. At that time, a number of concerns were raised about the structure's stone cladding and facade details. Obviously, considerable attention has been paid to the concerns.
As things continue to heat up like hot dogs on the grille at a ball park, an alternate site has been proposed for the PawSox relo. As reported today by Go Local Providence, the global "interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm" Perkins + Will has developed materials to show how the ball park would fit into the vacant Victory Plating parcel on the southern edge of the Jewelry District. Long familiar with Providence from their past work on projects in the city, Perkins + Will's designers came up with renderings to show how neatly a ball park would fit into the Victory Plating site alongside !-195 at the intersection of Eddy and Richmond Streets.
To see Go Local Providence's coverage of this new proposal, click Play Ball!
The first glimmerings of spring are arriving in the 195 redevelopment land. Regular mowing has cut down (literally) the wildflower potential for 2015. But a few tiny sprouts and blossoms reveal nature's ability to adapt and rebound no matter how deep the snow, how frequent last year's mowing.
To see what sprang up in the earlier phases of the teardown and grading and seeding, go to: Wildflowers