The news of the sale of one of the larger buildings in the Jewelry District was reported this morning in the Providence Journal.
"Massachusetts developer Kenneth Hecht told The Journal on Tuesday that he is selling the Irons & Russell Building in the Jewelry District to an outfit that plans on converting much of the historic building to apartments." Read the story here.
The as-yet unannounced buyer can take advantage of $750,000 in historic restoration tax credits recently awarded to the building.
When the building was purchased by Hecht Development several years ago, the intention was continued use as an office building. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. And, among other features houses the last manually operated elevator in Providence. Take a virtual ride with elevator man extraordinaire Danny Scott on this remarkable artifact in this video shot in 2012 by the Providence Journal. Play video.
The development partners working on the student housing project for Parcel 28 have entered into an agreement to purchase the Richmond Street block-front building between Clifford and Friendship Streets.
The north end of the building still carries signage for the ill-fated Club Karma, the most recent in a years-long succession of notorious clubs whose licenses were revoked for multiple infractions of license regulations. The south end of the building currently houses The Spot, the popular music venue.
Purchase of the building will allow for an expansion of the planned 400-person complex to 500 spaces. Typical of development projects, there are contingencies, as Kate Bramson explained in detail in this article in Tuesday's Providence Journal.
Several members of the JDA attended yesterday's Design Review Committee meeting at which the developers and architect's presented the first design concepts for the project. Following today's JDA monthly meeting, we'll provide further reactions to the proposal and the design.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to get one man's opinion on the subject, in a wide-ranging discussion, David Brussat takes a look at the pros, the cons and the stylistic niceties (or lack of same) of the proposal. As usual, Brussat pulls no punches. He even has some nice-ish thing to say about the Karma building (opinions not necessarily shared by people who live near the structure and have less than fond memories). Click here for his latest post in Architecture Here and There.
On Monday, the latest plans for the South Street Power Plant were put into action with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site on Point Street. This will in some ways be the biggest idea for bringing the handsome structure back to meaningful life. The significance of the project for the Jewelry District is enormous.
It will bring residents, additional office workers, and educators into the District. Pedestrian traffic will increase, and with that traffic may come new retail businesses. Restaurant traffic will increase. And, perhaps as the project begins to take shape, developers who have been eying I-195 parcels will realize the moment for decisive action has come.
The project has three distinct components:
1. Two residential buildings (shown in the architect's concept below) for 220 upper level nursing and graduate students. The buildings will sit behind the river-edge park on the north side of Point Street (where the Davol Square parking lot is currently).
2. Conversion of the power plant into academic and administrative spaces. Teaching facilities for the joint Rhode Island College & University of Rhode Island nursing schools and offices for Brown University administration.
3. A 650-car parking garage along side the power plant on Eddy Street.
For a look at the CV Properties South Street Landing Project Summary presentation, click here.
Read Jef Nickerson's GCPVD take on the news here.
Rendering and site plan reproduced from the CV Properties South Street Landing Project Summary presentation.
At a presentation on Monday, September 29, the City Planning Department detailed the latest revisions to the design for the Providence River pedestrian bridge as it moves toward a construction start in the Spring of 2015.
Director of Long Range Planning Bonnie Nickerson said the current plans adhere closely to the original concept. The number of seating elements which contain lighting elements has been increased. Stairs have been added to provide access to the two east-side piers. To keep overall costs under control, the event space on the lower level has been eliminated, and the square footage of the bridge deck has been trimmed.
The presentation included renderings of the interconnections with the east and west side parks and plan and elevation views of the bridge. See the complete update here.
The new bridge will be the key link between the East Side and the Jewelry District for CiTY WALK on its route between India Point Park and Roger Williams Park. For a look at how the new bridge fits into CiTY WALK's plan for connecting Providence, click here.
The Gazing Garden has grown its own garden to reflect on. The Providence Downtown Improvement District planted the corner of Pine and E. Franklin Streets a while back. Now, thanks to the care, feeding and watering by the team in Yellow Shirts you see around DownCity, the garden is flourishing grandly.
Just the other day, a new sculptural piece appeared between Bassett and Clifford Streets. Shown from two sides in the pictures below is RIB Sequence by Kurt Snell. Placed temporarily at the moment, RIB Sequence will be re-assembled on parcel 35 across Clifford Street when the big dirt pile there gets broken down by RIDoT later this month.
Jan Brodie, Executive Director of the 195 Redevelopment Commission, notes that: Seven new pieces are going up at the end of this month/beginning of October. Three on the west side (including Snell’s piece) and two others near the Brown Medical School. Four new pieces will join the original pieces already in place on the east side of the river.
All these sculptures, including the original five that went up in May, will remain on display for up to a year. In the late fall, the Commission will post for new submissions to replace the five original installations. The idea is to keep generating new visual interest in the vacant 195 land as well as providing a highly visible showcase for new creations from Rhode Island's artistic community.
To see the other works already in place in the Jewelry District in this 195 Redevelopment Commission interim-use art project, click here.
A recent meeting of the 195 Redevelopment Commission reviewed ideas for a water feature in the new park on the west end of the new pedestrian bridge over the Providence River.
As the Providence Journal reported in its August 5, 2014, edition, the emphasis in the ideas varied from the fanciful to the practical. Read Kate Bramson's article here.