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pesphoto

Providence's resurgence is welcomed, but...

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First, great shots! Gallery 4 is particularly impressive. I'm trying to develop an eye for photography like you have there, but I'm quite far away at the moment...

Regarding Providence affordability, this has been discussed elsewhere on the site extensively, and I've come out against the alarmist views... The vast majority of the city I see everyday, from the Cranston boarder through the North End, is still very, very affordable.

So there's a few areas (Westminster, Federal Hill, the East Side, Memorial Drive) that have the potential to start drawing some increased income residents... So what? That's a fraction of Providence's land area. Maybe 95% of Providence residents can't afford to buy a place in the upcoming One Ten Westminster or the Cosmopolitan, but guess what? Neither can I, and that's fine. That doesn't mean those places shouldn't exist.

It's time to apply some numbers here. The average RI household (including fixed income retirees (!!), not the average working household) makes almost $50,000 per year, over the national average. Plug that into a housing calculator, and with savings to put towards a down payment that's 10-20% of cost, that's about a $200,000 home. The reality is that most people (wisely or not) spend more on their houses than the calculators recommend, since they also see it as a form of savings. I swing over to RI living and look for houses, and there's a ton of houses in Providence for $200,000 and lower available. 86 in Providence, 6-8 in Cranston, 8 in East Providence... You're hardly priced out of the region as well, as there are about 28 houses in Warwick, 10 in Woonsocket, etc. etc. A little more than 200,000 can even get you into entry level homes in the rarified East Side, Barrington, etc... Condos? 32 for 200,000 and under in Providence, 13 on the East Side, 53 (!!) in North Providence... You get the idea. Another RI gov website mentions that the average "skilled" middle-class job being formed in RI has a salary between $60-80,000 per year. Give that "skilled" household two working individuals (more RI households than not), and that can probably get them into nearly anything on the drawing board for Providence.

If you want to see true crisis level housing costs, check out Boston, San Fran, San Diego, or the NY metro area. Try to get anything 200 and under there.

Again, I have to say I don't like the "class warfare" language in your posting as well as some of the others that have been posted here as well. You're not even talking about the "Paris Hilton" trust-fund types either, but about PhD's and Wall Streeters who worked damned hard to get where they are, probably accumulating tons of educational debt along the way. They had no entitlement to be able to afford a $600,000 condo on Westminster St. They worked their way there. And guess what? For every one of them that Brown, or Prov College, or Bank of America employees, probably 3 or 4 of the rest of us are hired to support and help them, so everyone wins.

The level of hyperbole that's been displayed about this blows my mind. Providence gets, like, 3-4 "luxury" buildings on the drawing boards, and people are ready to throw up baracades and reenact the French Revolution. Take a walk through Boston, NY, San Fran, etc... Providence is still so far from being a gentrified theme park compared with those places it is not even funny...

- Garris

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Thanks for the compliments on my photos. I certainly did not mean to insult anyone who has worked hard and earned the priviledge of buying high priced and comfortable living spaces and other things that go along with having wealth. My agenda is not political at all, just concern for wanting a downtown accessable to everyone who wants to be there. Even just for dining out or shopping. Anyone who had accumulated the means to live well by way of hard work and perseverence deserves what they have. But you have to admit sometimes when a person gets to a certain level of wealth after a while they may forget where they came from. Not everyone though, to be fair. Its easy for some to push the artists and middle income to the suburbs and beyond so they can live "high on the hog". Dont forget, its called Downcity Arts District for a reason. Thanks

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I'd like to bring up that downtown living up until recently has been virtually non-exsistant. There were few available locations and some of them were sub-standard. What we're getting is a re-do and it should be done wisely. I don't have any problem with expensive condos shooting up all around downtown because they're not pushing anybody out of the neighborhood and we need to recognize that as such. On the other hand, there is plenty of room and demand for more affordable projects downtown. If there is concern about the housing situation and the balance of it then this should be the focus, not keeping the wealthy out. With good design and affordable building materials, you could turn a profit just as easily without compromising the architectural integrity of the city. The demand just has to make itself known.

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I've proposed this elsewhere, but I'll mention it again. The parking lots along Snow Street between Weybosset and Washington seem to me the perfect place for a mixed market rate and affordable residential development. There's all this land just sitting there (getting the parking lot owners to let it go will be a trick) and new construction won't have any of the cost problems that Buff Chace's Westminster developments are running into. The whole stretch could have several levels of below grade parking and as many as five levels of residential above, with retail facing Weybosset, Westminster, and Washington, with some units having stoops opening up on the side streets.

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...and new construction won't have any of the cost problems that Buff Chace's Westminster developments are running into.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with most of what you are saying, Cotuit, but new construction will be marginally if any cheaper than the historic rehabs...without the tax credits, new construction will be just as difficult to build. Its gonna take something a little more innovative I think to get some truly mixed-income housing downtown.

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I agree with most of what you are saying, Cotuit, but new construction will be marginally if any cheaper than the historic rehabs...without the tax credits, new construction will be just as difficult to build. Its gonna take something a little more innovative I think to get some truly mixed-income housing downtown.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Agreed. I don't think the mixed-income stuff will happen until:

1- The luxury market is saturated.

2- There is clear increased demand for downcity living among someone other than Boston Commuters and retirees. I think that'll require that "critical mass" first...

I also like the idea from the charette of using the Snow St. area as a parking "spine" better for long term viability.

- Garris

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