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Liamlunchtray

Lousy housing going up in the West End

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So for years and years there have been a variety of vacant lots in my neighborhood. People are finally starting to build on them, which should be a good thing, however so far I am not impressed. On my street (Harrison) and the street that runs parrallel (Hammond) there are quite a few new houses that Armory Revival did in the 80's and they are all cute and neat designs. Nothing fancy, but they are at least appropriate. Now the non-west end developers are coming in and just building crap. They are finishing up a 2 family on Hammond that looks like a Habitat For Humanity house, which would be fine if they didnt want $400k for it. Its this horrible box covered in low end vinyl siding with an ugly as hell pressure treated porch on the front. Terrible. They are building another one abutting it that I am sure will be just as bad. Then on the way out this morning I noticed that the vacant lot on the corner of Harrison and Westminster has construction fenicing up. Im hoping it will be hip residential with some ground floor retail, but I have a sinking fear that it will be another Vinyl Sided crapbox. The crap box houses are popping up all over the place. There is another small one that was just built in the backyard of a house on Bridgham. Awesome.

Liam

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Sadly I almost think that would be an improvement.

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It's really that bad? Wow. Is there any way to review these things before they get built?

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It's really that bad?  Wow.  Is there any way to review these things before they get built?

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Well its certainly no better. I'm not sure how they get approval. It's within a Historic District, but Im not sure if that covers new construction at all. I'm really scared about that lot on the corner of Harrison and Westminster. It has great potential. It has had an "Available" sign on it from Armory Properties for at least 4 or 5 years now, so Im hoping that they were waiting for something good. I would love more retail.

Liam

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People have to live with bad buildings for generations. Bad architecture damages not only the value of surrounding properties, but also the psyche of all who experience it. Those vinyl crap boxes will forever crush the moods of all who witness them, and I fear for the souls of their inhabitants.

In this way, bad architecture is an act of violence that constantly offends for decades.

Therefore, I believe there should be a special court for architects and developers of crappy buildings. The architects and developers should be fined according to the cost of restitution. In the golden ages of history, they would fare much worse.

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http://www.wbna.org/

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I know, I should certainly bring it up with WBNA. Sadly, I dont usually get home from work until 6:30 or so, and then its time for dinner and to get the kids bathed and put to bed. It makes it hard to get to the meetings. We are members, and occasionally if there is something really important on the docket my wife will make it over, but that doesnt happen as often as it should. My wife did go and talk up a storm against the new lead abatement legislation. She also spoke at the public forum at the statehouse. Its a worthy cause, but just a horribly written piece of legislation.

Liam

(Wouldnt have lead issues if he lived in a vinyl crapbox :D )

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I'm really scared about that lot on the corner of Harrison and Westminster. It has great potential. It has had an "Available" sign on it from Armory Properties for at least 4 or 5 years now, so Im hoping that they were waiting for something good. I would love more retail.

Liam

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Don't worry too much...its being done by Armory Revival and I think it will look alright. If I remember correctly, it is going to be four upper level condos, and ground floor retail. I believe the architect is Durkee Brown, and they do pretty nice work.

But I agree with the vinyl boxes. Its happening sporadically all through the West End and Southside. Luckily, there aren't too many vacant lots available right now, but it seems every one owned by a private "developer" is getting a nice ugly tan vinyl box. Unfortunately, we have no design review mechanism for any of these other than basic zoning issues like use, unit counts, setbacks, floor area ratio, etc.

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Does anyone know if the Armory Revival Co has a web site. If they do I can't find it through search engines. But they do have a site for Rising Sun Mills and another project. I thought Art In Ruins might of had it listed on their web site, but no. And for some strange reason I thought Armory Revival was somehow connected with WBNA.

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Don't worry too much...its being done by Armory Revival and I think it will look alright. If I remember correctly, it is going to be four upper level condos, and ground floor retail. I believe the architect is Durkee Brown, and they do pretty nice work.

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Well thats a relief. The lot has had the Armory Properties sign on it for years, so I wasnt sure if they were doing it or if they had sold it off. With them behind it, Im sure it will be just fine. Now if only we could do something with that crazy storefront church :-)

Liam

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One other quick comment. I heard through the rumor mill that the old church on Harrison that is used as storage for a moving company is either on the market or has been recently sold. Anyone know about this? It would make great condos, however there isnt any parking. There are only a few problematic properties left on our street and this is certainly one of them.

Liam

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They just don't build residential like they used to.. Everything post 1920ish is crap..

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Armory Revival built some stuff on our street in the late 80's that is perfectly fine. It's not going to win any awards for Architecture or anything, but it definitely shows that you can indeed build attractive entry level housing that will fit in with an existing neighborhood. I like the Condo buildings that they did on Hammond @ the intersection with Division street as well. Nothing fancy, but reasonably attractive. They seem to change hands almost constantly though, so I wonder if they have "issues"

Liam

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Anything more complicated than a box will cost extra. A gable, turret, even just a bump out... these are all luxuries. In a market like the West End, the market is fixed regardless of architectural quality. A gilded lilly there is the same price and a dandilion.

The crime comes in where the box drags on the upward mobility of the market and acts as vandalism upon the visual culture of the street. It is cheap crap and remains so forever through time, holding the neighborhood down. The speculative developer has no stake in the quality of the area, has no respect for it, and so leaves a cold dump where he squatted. But he made $100k.

In Newton I just saw a gorgeous giant neo-gilded age victorian being finished, still wrapped in Tyvek. I'm sure it's condos, but only because of the slightly commercial parking lot layout and entrance door style. Very well done. Tons of detail.

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I agree 100% w/Lova.. Vision for a neighborhood is just not a concern for developers.. Other than high end of course, where the market demands quality.. But even then in some cases, they just bang out McMansions..

Check out this development:

http://www.riliving.com/PropSearch/cndform...sp?MLSid=531363

This is going up by one of my properties.. I'd be interested in hearing what peoples' thoughts are on the design concept..

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On my street (Harrison) and the street that runs parrallel (Hammond)...Liam

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I lurk - but just wanted to say Hi - I grew up in Providence and lived on 85 Harrison st back when it was gray - this was in the early 80's when I was 6 through 9. I went back to visit not too long ago and found it great to find some of the people I grew up with still lived there.

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I lurk - but just wanted to say Hi - I grew up in Providence and lived on 85 Harrison st back when it was gray - this was in the early 80's when I was 6 through 9.  I went back to visit not too long ago and found it great to find some of the people I grew up with still lived there.

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Welcome!

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I lurk - but just wanted to say Hi - I grew up in Providence and lived on 85 Harrison st back when it was gray - this was in the early 80's when I was 6 through 9.  I went back to visit not too long ago and found it great to find some of the people I grew up with still lived there.

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That's great! I don't know too many people on the street that have been there for more than 15 years or so, but Mr and Mrs Hill are still there. They have lived on Harrison St since the 60's and have seen it go WAY down and then bounce back up. Mrs Hill is just the sweetest lady. Very nice.

Liam

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That's great! I don't know too many people on the street that have been there for more than 15 years or so, but Mr and Mrs Hill are still there. They have lived on Harrison St since the 60's and have seen it go WAY down and then bounce back up. Mrs Hill is just the sweetest lady. Very nice.

Liam

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Agggg (that's my version of a scream) Yeah - I visited them two years ago - I was bestfriends with their granddaugter Tracy and their other Granddaughter - Kim lives in the washington dc area too (where I now reside). I lived there back when their moms passed. I was also friends with Tammy and Heidi Sweeney - they lived on the other end of the street. But yeah Mr and Mrs Hill owned a lot of property on that street - back in the day they owned atleast 3 of the houses - they were balling :lol:

Its funny how this is such a small world - browsing some of the other threads - I lived on wood st too, wiggin village, hartford projects (we got robbed there) and in elmwood on Atlantic ave. Most of my family lives in Providence - and my father's side are proud members of the Narragansett tribe - so don't say nothing bad about getting the casinos :thumbsup:

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Ok Liam - Was just on your website - anyways great site with great photos - in the picture of the street facing the left in the tour our house section - I use to live in the house that is now painted yellow and green - back then it was gray and ugly. The Hills owned three of those houses on their side of the street - the one to their left and their right - I don't know how long back but they leveled the house that was to the right ( I think its the right) because they wanted more space and no neighbors - they used the other house to pay for the grandkids to go to college.

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