Company headquarters, apartment project chosen for vacant land at Fox Point
PROVIDENCE- Development plans for vacant riverfront land with corporate headquarters and mixed-income apartments advanced Wednesday, after the I-195 District Redevelopment Commission selected the preferred developer for the land known as plots 8 and 8A.
D+P Real Estate Inc.’s project was one of two competing proposals on how to develop prime waterfront real estate along the highway. The chosen project, which focuses on a corporate headquarters for an unnamed financial services firm, along with market-rate apartments and housing for the workforce, was the best fit, according to the commission.
The alternative to D+P, by Churchill & Banks Co., centered around a 10-story tower of owner-occupied luxury condos.
The unanimous vote was taken after a 45-minute closed-door discussion during which the committee weighed the competing proposals.
“Workforce housing is something the city desperately needs,” said commissioner Michael McNally. “The head office is also something the city needs. And in the end, it really came down to the accelerated schedule.
Commissioner Marc Crisafulli also commended D+P for its revised design plan, presented at the meeting, which incorporated earlier comments from the commission’s consultant, Utile Inc., and the I-195 Design Review Panel. .
Design changes include reconfiguring and adding spaces to the parking garage, as well as height and design differentiation between the buildings that will house the corporate headquarters and the residential building. Revised plans now call for a six-story corporate headquarters with retail on the first floor and an adjacent apartment building with 76 market-priced units and 19 “workforce housing” units. There will also be 3,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor.
Jordan Durham, director and founder of D+P, in an interview Wednesday, called the revisions “minor” and driven by feedback from design consultants and the commission’s design review group. The changes have not deterred the office’s tenant who has pledged to house its headquarters there, Durham said. He again declined to identify the company, but said it could be revealed soon if D+P’s project is chosen.
Churchill & Banks also had the opportunity to submit additional information or revise its plans based on earlier comments, but did not, according to the commission’s documents. Instead, the Providence developer stuck to its original location for 52 market-priced condos, along with a first-floor retail and three-story parking garage. The $84 million project was originally the preferred option by the I-195 design review board and Utile, according to a commission document.
Richard Baccari, Churchill’s CEO and Chairman, said at the meeting that he was always willing to change the design and felt it was “frustrating” that the other developer had had several months to come up with an “all new project” that sounded a lot like his own.
The two projects were the only ones submitted in response to a public bidding process conducted by the commission in March, said the commission’s executive director, Caroline Skuncik. The RFP was one of the first from the commission to set out specific development requirements, including a minimum purchase price of $3 million and an annual contribution of $50,000 to help pay for maintenance. of the park in the district. Projects also had to have at least 25,000 square feet of retail space.
Commission Chairman Robert Davis stressed that the panel’s choice of a preferred developer is the beginning — not the end — of the process. Now, the chosen project will be studied at a more detailed level, with a concept plan approval required and a final approval accompanied by public participation.
(This story has been updated to include the unanimous approval of D+P Real Estate Inc.’s proposal by the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, with further updates throughout.)
Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for PBN. You can reach her at [email protected]
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