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IN PROGRESS: Capitol Cove

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Apartment Plans Under Review

By Laura Ricketson

Providence Business News (Nov. 2003)

The latest residential development springing up in Providence's Capital Center is a proposal for three high-rises and towo lower-level apartment buildings on Parcel 6, a curved lot near the State House.

The design review committee of the Capital Center Commission on Nov. 4 approved the first phase of Brookline, Mass. based developer R.S. Roth, Inc.'s plan, which includes two lower-scale apartment buildings, which president Rovert S. Roth estimates will cost a little under $30 million.

...

For the apartment project, Boston based Elkus/Manfredi Architects have designed the second of the two buildings, which will be located along the waterfront, in a graduated scale, with the waterfront portion approximately 45 feet high, buidling up to approximately 75 feet high at the highest side.

The first low-rise building will be approximately 71 feet high, said Roth, who has been working to develop the underutilized parcel for more than a year.

The parcel borders the Providence River, Canal Street, the Amtrak tracks to the north, Smith Street, and Park Row West.

The two low-rise buildings will have 255 units between them, and Roth plans to rent them for $1,700 to $2,700 a month. The three high-rises, each about 170,000 square feet, will have about 300 total units and would probably cost the same as the other two to construct, he said.

Stillman Street will be extended into the development, and there will be access to the riverwalk through Park Row West, Roth said. Cutout areas of the second low-rise apartment building along the water would feature two public areas that would extend the riverwalk, as well as an attached community building that will be utilized for a variety of events and functions.

Roth said he also plans for a small retail space on the ground level of the first apartment buidling on the Park Row West side, possibly a cafe or a few small shops. Each of the five buildings will have its own underground parking, he said.

At the recent public hearing on the proposal, residents expressed their concerns that the high-rises and apartment buildings would obstruct their view of the State House from the East Side.

Design Review Committee members however, said that the general public's ability to view the State House clearly from all vantage points is more of a priority, and all of the proposed buildings are within the height limits established by the Capital Center Commission.

"We spent a lot of time looking at the heights." said Thomas Deller, director of the Providence Planning Department and a member of the committee. "More than 10 years ago, all of this property was zoned (to have buildings) 300 feet tall. This (proposal) is really in keeping with the spirit of the downtown and its protection issues."

Capital%20Centre.jpg

Capital Center District outlined in red

Apartment proposal outlined in green

Rivers in blue

Amtrak/Commuter Rail lines in grey

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I can see peoples concern about the view of the state capitol because it is one of the most striking parts of the skyline but this would a great place to live. Most cities in New England would kill for some of the projects that seems to have become common in Providence.

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That's a great picture of Providence. I'd love to live in a highrise around there.

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That picture flattens everything out, but the State House actually sits on a rather big hill (Smith Hill to be exact) and the part that people most want to be able to view, the dome, is of course higher still.

This project will only mar the view for people that are low on College Hill, and if you live low on a hill, you can't really expect to have a view anyway. For the rest of the people further up the hill, this project will enhance their views. As you can see, all we have now is a windswept vacant lot, which will become a nice group of apartment buildings. It will be much nicer to look across that to the State House beyond.

I just realized, now that the leaves are down, I have a view of the State House. A lean out the window and crook your head view, but a view nonetheless.

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Upscale apartments planned at College Hill

The Capitol Cove development on the Riverwalk could expand to include three condominium towers if the demand exists.

BY GREGORY SMITH

Journal Staff Writer

Friday, November 14, 2003

PROVIDENCE -- Two rows of upscale apartments, whose front doors would open to an extended Riverwalk, are expected to begin sprouting along Canal Street at the bottom of College Hill next spring.

Capitol Cove, as the project is named, would become the newest addition to the Capital Center development district around the State House, which has slowly but surely been filling in since its creation 22 years ago.

Developer Robert S. Roth of Brookline, Mass., plans to extend the 20-foot-wide Riverwalk from its current terminus at One Citizens Plaza northward along the Moshassuck River for about 1,000 feet, to Smith Street.

A wide, concrete platform over the river that dates to the days when the project site was a railroad yard would become a pavilion -- part public space, perhaps with a pergola or gazebo, and part private recreation spot for apartment tenants.

The Capital Center Commission yesterday approved waivers of its design standards for Roth, in part to allow the buildings to be taller at some points than generally permitted. The prospective heights have alarmed some East Siders who would like to preserve their views of the State House.

Commission members saluted Capitol Cove, with one calling it "a giant plus for the community."

"I can't wait for it to be there," Wilfrid L. Gates Jr., chairman of the commission's Design Review Committee, said this week. "It fairly shouts that Providence is on the move."

Capital%20Cove%20Apartments.jpeg

Journal photo / Steve Szydlowski

EMPTY FOR NOW: Work is expected to begin in the spring on the Capitol Cove apartment complex at Parcel 6 in the Capital Center development district.

There would be 255 apartments in two buildings representing the $33.5-million first phase of Capitol Cove. Each apartment would range from 800 to 1,200 square feet and rent for $1,700 to $2,700 per month.

Capitol Cove might become a much larger development in future years, with three condominium towers to rise across the street from the Avalon at Center Place apartment building -- if there is an appetite for more upscale housing.

The entire site is an unpaved parking lot of more than five buildable acres wedged between Park Row West to the west; the railroad tracks to the northwest; Smith Street to the north; and Canal Street and the Moshassuck to the east.

Since a preliminary presentation to the Design Review Committee about a year ago, Capitol Cove's apartment buildings have been changed to embrace the Riverwalk rather than ignoring it.

The Riverwalk is a pedestrian esplanade that winds its way around Waterplace Park and along the Providence, Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers.

An initial plan showed an above-ground parking deck butting up against the Riverwalk, with the apartments oriented as much to the interior of the project site as the exterior.

At the insistence of the committee, which wants to maintain Providence as a walkable city, project designer Elkus/Manfredi Architects of Boston reworked the buildings into a series of townhouses with front stoops on the Riverwalk.

The 4 1/2-story buildings, steel-framed but containing wood-framed apartments, would for the most part have brick exteriors, with a dark brown brick at the base graduating in lightness to a beige brick at the top.

Where two-story loft apartments are situated, the uniformity of the facade materials would be relieved by wide, vertical bands of gray metal and glass.

"These buildings will be rather sophisticated in a design sense," Gates said. "They are the kind of building where you don't see every detail at once."

In another bow to the Riverwalk, Elkus/Manfredi indented the facade at two points to provide for vest-pocket parks, making the project even more pedestrian-friendly. At one park, the Riverwalk would be widened from its 20-foot width to a maximum of about 50 feet, and at another, to a maximum of about 35 feet.

At the south end of the frontage, at Park Row West, the developer plans a 1,000-square-foot restaurant or coffee shop. At the north end, at Smith Street, he intends to extensively landscape the corner. The Riverwalk would gradually increase in grade to meet the downslope of Smith Street.

The buildings present "a handsome face to the Riverwalk," David Dixon, the commission's architectural adviser, said in a written commentary. The articulation of the facades and their variety of colors and materials make the buildings' substantial mass and scale appropriate, he said.

Roth told the commission yesterday, "The whole idea is to weave this piece of property into the fabric of the East Side."

The buildings would sit atop a two-level parking deck, with 360 spaces. Only half of the lower level would be below ground because the developer contends the high water table precludes underground parking.

Parts of the deck would still adjoin the Riverwalk, but steps have been taken to minimize the visibility of the air-ventilation openings and the vehicles inside.

The ventilation openings, masked by decorative grilles and landscaping, and separated by the apartments, will be virtually unnoticed, according to Roth and architect Howard Elkus.

The major disputed design waiver relates to height.

"People are legitimately concerned about their views of the State House and their investments," Gates said.

The allowable height on the site rises from 45 feet along Canal Street to 75 feet toward the rear of the parcel along the railroad tracks. Portions of each of the buildings will exceed the 45-foot limit by as much as 26 feet.

At a public hearing last week, Paul Kappel of 151 Pratt St. and Frank Mauran of Benefit Street complained that the apartment buildings and the high-rises to come would interfere with their views of the State House.

Mauran suggested the project is too high relative to structures on Benefit Street.

"I happen to think [the restoration of] Benefit Street was the origin of the Providence Renaissance," he said.

Mauran told Roth, "With all due respect, sir, you're no McKim, Mead and White," referring to the firm that designed the State House.

Yesterday Kappel was reconciled to the height, and he complimented Roth and Elkus on their design.

Dixon said in his commentary that improving the look of the buildings in effect caused them to be taller in some places and lower in others, so it makes sense to relax the height limits.

". . . This project will represent a proud addition to Capital Center and to the heart of Providence," Dixon wrote. It will "significantly enrich Capital Center" with the vitality of substantial new housing "and form a well-designed transition to Roger Williams National Memorial and the historic neighborhoods to the east."

In order to spare people looking down on the project from higher ground or from a taller building the unattractive sight of rooftop mechanical systems, the systems will be incorporated into the buildings.

And to avoid what Roth called a flat "shopping-center roof," Building A, to the south, is designed to have what Elkus described as a "shed-like roof," and Building B, to the north, would be partly flat and partly gabled.

To bring tenants into the project, Roth would create a private way that he calls Capitol Court. Stillman Street would be extended to the northwest from its intersection with Park Row West, through the site, with a turn to the east between the two buildings in Phase 1, to cross a new bridge over the river and intersect with Canal Street.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring and take about two years, according to Roth.

Roth said he intends to return to the committee early next year with plans for Phase 2 of Capitol Cove and the first of what he hopes will be three towers, each with 170,000 square feet of interior space and 100 residential units.

From The Providence Journal

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By the way, have you ever seen any pictures of what capitol cove is supposed to look like? I've heard for a while all the descriptions of how tall it'll be and I know there is some sort of construction going on in that general area but I don't what's being done. For all I know it may not even be past the design stage. If you have any new info on it, would you let me know?

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It's been a year since this project was first announced, and almost nothing has been heard about it.

I did however hear second hand, that the Capital Centre Commission was still reviewing it. So it seems that it is still alive. I've never seen any renderings for it though. From what it sounds like though, it should be in a historic "Providence Style," i.e. lots of brick.

It should be a great additions to Capital Centre if it ever gets built.

GTECH is supposedly breaking ground next month, that is the project closest to reality now.

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I've actually just come across an interesting piece of information. MetroPark which operates a parking lot on Parcel 6 (which is where Capital Cove Apartments would be), may be closing that lot as early as December due to "development" of the lot. :whistling:

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Awesome, hopefully all these projects finish up within the next two years. It's amazing to think how radically different the area will look from now. I think it's great because I love to walk around the riverwalk and it'll just feel alot livelier once everything around it gets filled.

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MetroPark is now saying their lot will close in April. Hopefully that's for real, this project will be a year late breaking ground by then.

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According to MetroPark, they are on 10-day notice to vacate their lot at Parcel 6. Which means, at any point the developer can give them 10-days notice to leave. Could be 10-days from today, could be 10-days from next Christmas.

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so in addition to parcel 2 and gtech, parcel 6 is seperate? Any renderings around on the internet? Geez I wish i could just be frozen for a few yrs and then wake up to a new city:)

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so in addition to parcel 2 and gtech, parcel 6 is seperate? Any renderings around on the internet? Geez I wish i could just be frozen for a few yrs and then wake up to a new city:)

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Yup, Parcel 6 will be townhouses along Canal Street beside the Amtrak station. There is a future 2nd phase that will include a tower.

I haven't seen any renderings, though I haven't looked for any in a while.

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Does Parcel 6 development require the extension of the river park up Canal street along the Moshassuck?

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Does Parcel 6 development require the extension of the river park up Canal street along the Moshassuck?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes it does. There was some mitigation requiring that, and requiring them to better hide the parking structure. There is also supposed to be some sort of public plaza along the river as part of the development. One of the streets in Capital Centre is also supposed to be extended through the site to Canal Street. So the development won't be one monolith, but broken up into two blocks.

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Yes it does. There was some mitigation requiring that, and requiring them to better hide the parking structure. There is also supposed to be some sort of public plaza along the river as part of the development. One of the streets in Capital Centre is also supposed to be extended through the site to Canal Street. So the development won't be one monolith, but broken up into two blocks.

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If im not mistaken the CHNA (college hill naiborhood ass.) was trying real hard to get the second phase of the project (big tower) to be nullified. Does any one have an old rendering of this project?

MIJ

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A long time ago, 5-6 years, this project area was known as Park Row West (or something like that, I have renderings at home). I believe Capital Cove is completely unrelated to that project. However, people on College Hill have expressed reservations about this project ( :rolleyes: ). One valid reservation was the roof treatment of the first phase. Mechanical equipment would have been exposed and on view for all on College Hill (included us peasants who get to visit Prospect Park). The roofs have been redesigned to hide the equipment.

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Mij you may be correct on this, but from what I recall I think they raised the most noise about a potential development of the foot of college hill very close to olives. A 100 foot plus residential tower was proposed, which caused a fuss with "the view". I think that the reason it caused such a stir was that it was just beyond the limits of the DRC. They may have also raised concerns about this project too.

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Mij you may be correct on this, but from what I recall I think they raised the most noise about a potential development of the foot of college hill very close to olives.  A 100 foot plus residential tower was proposed, which caused a fuss with "the view".  I think that the reason it caused such a stir was that it was just beyond the limits of the DRC.  They may have also raised concerns about this project too.

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There at it again i found this on there site http://www.savecollegehill.com/alert.shtml

The residents are all up set becouse of a potential hotel being put on the east side.

here is a link to there points... and they make a few good ones...

http://www.savecollegehill.com/hotelproject.shtml

Mij

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Mij you may be correct on this, but from what I recall I think they raised the most noise about a potential development of the foot of college hill very close to olives.  A 100 foot plus residential tower was proposed, which caused a fuss with "the view".  I think that the reason it caused such a stir was that it was just beyond the limits of the DRC.  They may have also raised concerns about this project too.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think that is what the Park Row West project was. Capital Cove is a different project.

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Maybe I am unsure...park row west..was that also called 10 park row? Didnt Citizens raise a fuss about it too, which makes me wonder how they feel about the current projects

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Maybe I am unsure...park row west..was that also called 10 park row?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, 10 Park Row, I'm getting all these projects confused. :wacko:

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