195 Providence Innovation & Design District

Commentary in The Boston Globe about the need to change Providence's planning and zoning code in order to keep the financial district viable.

Globe Commentary—PVD Planning.png
I preferred the glass and steel aesthetic on display in post 49 to what is shown in the latest renderings. Even so, the glazed white brick will look good and I’m glad they pushed back on suggestions that the arcade be removed.

This is good news. The park on the west end of the bridge finally recently removed all the fencing which had prevented access along the river to Crawford Street. It looks like the river walk will eventually extend south from the pedestrian bridge along the west bank to Point Street to the existing but currently closed off path in front of the converted South Street Power Plant and new River House residences. This would then result in a linear park and walk on both banks of the river from Crawford Street to Point Street. It would be even better if both sides ultimately connected to India Point Park on the east and Collier Park on the west.

The west bank just north of the Point Street Bridge:
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The 195 District Commission is going to shift its focus from housing developments more toward attracting businesses and employment. I would like to see this find success but have doubts as I think we would have already seen more businesses had there been an actual real demand for it. I believe the market has and will continue to dictate what gets built.

Took some photos today of the progress on the river walk on the west side. This extension will connect the park by the Van Leesten Pedestrian Bridge to Point Street going along the river behind the parking garage, South Street Power Station Complex (Brown/URI/RIC), and River House student housing (Brown). It includes a small bridge over some water.

West River Walk.jpg

West River Walk Bridge.jpg
Almost every time I visit Providence the city has added another piece quality bike infrastructure. This is between Water and Main on Wickenden and completes the connection between India Point Park and Water and Dyer downtown.

That bike path (in above photo) is the extension of the on the road path on S Water street and will cross S Main St/Rte 195 off ramp and continue in the parcel 9 Pennrose housing development (now open space next to the church) and then run along Bessie Way/George M Cohan Blvd to the India Point Park Bridge over Rte 195. This will then link it to the East Bay Bike Path. Additionally, the the Blackstone River Bike Path will one day be a mostly off road trail that will also terminate at India Point Park. A small section of its southern most end has already been completed along the seekonk River extending to Pittman St by Richmond Square. My hope is that it will eventually extend along the water parallel to River Drive and then through the Butler Hospital Grounds, adjoining cemeteries (Swan point and riverside), and on to the Tidewater Landing area of Pawtucket.

Proposed Parcel 9 Rendering:

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There remain several undeveloped parcels (34-41) within the district that have rarely been mentioned. Most of these are not near the river where most district activity has taken place. Some of these are large tracts that border Route 95. What use would make best sense for these?



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The latest segment of the riverfront park in Providence opened this past week. This section on the west bank extends from the pedestrian bridge south to the Point Street Bridge. It includes a small bridge, walkways, and plantings. A linear park now lines most of both sides of the river for nearly a mile from the Providence Place Mall to the Point Street bridge. There is only a short three block stretch between Exchange Terrace and Westminster Street on the west bank where there is no park. This section does however have a sidewalk there beween the road and river but lacks green space.

PVD Park-1.jpg

PVD Park-2.jpg
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Rhode Island Mixed-Use MF Development Breaks Ground

“Pennrose, in collaboration with the I-195 Redevelopment Commission and the City of Providence, has broken ground on Parcel 9 Phase 1, a mixed-use, mixed-income family development in Providence, Rhode Island.

The project will transform the vacant 1-195 Redevelopment District parcel into a 127-unit community with 66 affordable and market-rate apartments, retail space, and an affordable childcare facility. The project will offer a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments catering to residents with incomes ranging from 30% to 120% of the AMI. The first phase is set to open in September 2024.

Financing for Parcel 9 Phase 1 includes both 9% and 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from RIHousing, which were syndicated by National Equity Fund, with Eastern Bank participating as the investor. Additionally, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust will provide permanent debt for the project, while Eastern Bank is responsible for the construction debt.”

The area around the intersection of Point/Wickendon and S Main streets its really coming together and seems like it will be the first part of the district to be fully developed. Parcel 6 is just about done and occupied. Trader Joe's has been joined there by a liquor store and will soon have an Antonio's Pizza. Ground has broken across the off ramp on the Parcel 9 residential project next to the church. The parcel 8 development with the BankRI HQ and residential is getting closer to shovels in the dirt. The Urbanica Parcel 2 project just north of these is moving along. The fairly newly built residential building at S Water/S Main and Tockwotten which was just next to district land is now well established. This will leave just Parcel 5 as the only large piece of land on the east side of the river with nothing yet proposed. Given it is in the middle of all these other developments, I would think it will not stay empty for long. With the linear river park and new commercial and residential space, this area looks like it will be a very lively place in the coming years.

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Any news on this one? I’ve been wondering if it’s going ahead?

I assume it is still going ahead as I have heard nothing indicating otherwise. The district web site still shows the project as live. BankRI only announced it would be a part of it just ten months ago in October of 2022. Their press release indicated then that a summer of 2023 construction start was projected. Would not be surprised if it was somewhat delayed.
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