With the announcement of a new apartment complex on Parcel 14, almost all remnants of the shipyard, industrial, and interstate eras of the Jewelry District will have disappeared or been repurposed by 2025. At the 195 Commission monthly meeting in April, CV Properties presented their proposal for an 11-story apartment building as part of a proposal for Parcels 14 and 15 in the land formerly occupied by Interstate 195. CV Properties has already successfully carried out two game-changing projects in the district: South Street Landing, which turned a former power plant into a thriving educational facility for three Rhode Island institutions; and the Aloft Hotel, a first in the district, offering stylish rooms and rooftop Blu Violet restaurant with sweeping views over the Providence River. With ground broken for the new Rhode Island State Lab, and a major project from Brown University in final planning stages, the future has never looked brighter for the Jewelry District.
Mile of History Association (MoHA) continues pressing for a building worthy of the historic section of Providence on I-195 Parcel 2. MoHA representatives recently met with Marc Crisafulli, chairman of the I-195 Commission, and the design team, led by Kamran Zahedi, president of Urbanica, to view the latest version of the proposed design, and found the new version to be much improved over previous drafts.
MoHA is also pleased to report the restoration of the streetlights along Benefit Street is complete. The new lanterns look similar to the old ones, but cast brighter, whiter light, replacing lights that were broken or out of service. The MoHA-led project took over five years with additional funding from the City of Providence and the Champlin Foundation, and strong support from Councilor Helen Anthony. MoHA is planning an outdoor block party this month for members and prospective new members. MileOfHistory.org
Fox Point neighbors have been mobilizing to oppose a proposed development they fear will not only change the character of their neighborhood, but also set a precedent for future development in the area. As of early May, developer Fox Point Capital LLC was scheduled to appear before the City Plan Commission (CPC) to seek approval for the construction of a five-story mixed-use building on the corner of Wickenden and Brook streets. The structure would provide commercial space, internal parking, and 62 residential units.
Fox Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) members have stated several objections, including the height and massing of the proposed building, which exceeds the typical three stories and 20 units, as well as the lack of natural lighting in the proposed units. Parking, which is already a major issue in the area, is also a cause for concern for neighbors, since the proposed building includes only a 30 percent parking-to-unit ratio. Perhaps most of all, neighbors object to the generic character of the design. FPNA vice president Daisy Schnepel warned, "We need to say no to unreasonable, incompatible development. This proposal could forever change the environment and sensibility of what it means to live in a small, historic community.” The proposal was scheduled to be heard by the CPC in mid May.
If you’ve ever started a home project and wished you had an expert looking over your shoulder, then Shop Nights, taking place Thursdays through July 27 at 50 Sims Avenue, are for you. Drop by the Providence Preservation Society Building Works workshop to ask questions, get hands-on advice, tinker, and connect. Noel Sanchez, a restoration carpenter and small business owner of 30+ years, will be available to offer his experience and guidance on a range of home repair, maintenance, and carpentry topics. Everyone is welcome, from total beginners to seasoned DIYers. Participants are encouraged to bring their own small projects (and materials). Find more information and registration at PVDPreservation.org.
Following their annual meeting late April, Summit Neighborhood Association (SNA) welcomed back several returning board members, as well as new additions Emily Kloeblen, taking the vice president position, and new board members Alexander Gim-Fain, Morgan Schwartz, and Allyson Baker. SNA presented the Sheila B. Perlow Award to Helen Baskerville-Dukes, executive director at the Mount Hope Community Center, for her work building connections and creating joy in the community. Mayor Brett Smiley, Representative Rebecca Kislak, and Councilor Sue AnderBois were also in attendance, and The Sandwich Hut donated sandwiches and salads.
Neighbors gathered in April to plant community trees, done in partnership with the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program and City Forestry Division, which has resulted in more than 100 trees planted in Mount Hope and Summit neighborhoods over the last two years. Through a partnership with the Rochambeau Library, SNA is also excited to see new landscaping, composting options, and other improvements for their developing backyard Outdoor Classroom expansion. Plans are under way to better utilize the outdoor space behind the library with murals, flowers, interactive musical elements, and benches. To participate in tree plantings, contact Emily Kloeblen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-917-2052.
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