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EAST Providence renaissance

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East Providence renaissance terrific for R.I.

Patrick A. Rogers, Rolland R. Grant

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

MOST RHODE ISLANDERS are familiar with the Providence renaissance. Few, however, know that the City of East Providence is undergoing its own renewal -- one that is quietly reshaping its 14-mile, 500-acre waterfront. As a result, East Providence could become a model for innovative economic development in Rhode Island.

Business and political leaders will break ground Friday on the $200 million East Pointe waterfront development, in the Rumford section: one of the most ambitious economic-development and environmental cleanup projects in the state's history. The GeoNova Development Company, LLC -- with city, state and federal assistance -- is redeveloping the abandoned Washburn Wire steel plant, a contaminated 27-acre property on the Seekonk River, across from Providence's East Side. The rusted smokestack plant is being torn down; in its place will rise modern commercial office space, New England village-style housing, a restaurant, a public waterfront park and perhaps a marina.

The East Pointe project has the potential to increase East Providence's tax base by 10 percent, from $1.8 billion to $2 billion in taxable property. The project is expected to generate at least an annual $3 million in local property-tax revenue, and millions more in new Rhode Island sales and income taxes. GeoNova has also committed itself to creating some 150 permanent full-time jobs in Rhode Island. Five hundred or more temporary construction and related service jobs will also be supported by the project. In short, the East Pointe project is terrific news for both East Providence and Rhode Island.

At a time when most Rhode Island communities, including East Providence, are scrambling to find new resources to fund schools, pay for skyrocketing health-care costs, and maintain essential services, East Pointe could help our community support these critical public needs, while easing the property-tax burden on homeowners.

Environmentalists are also pleased about the East Pointe project. A century of industrial activity at the Washburn Wire site (most recently, the home of Ocean State Steel) has contaminated the property with heavy metals, including cadmium and lead. In the early 1900s, steel-plant waste was discharged into the Seekonk River and flowed into Narragansett Bay. Tough environmental regulations forced the steel mill to close almost 20 years ago, and since then the 27 acres, with panoramic water views and breathtaking vistas, have been surrounded by barbed wire.

The environmentally damaged steel plant scared off would-be developers until the federal government -- with the support of our senators, Jack Reed and Lincoln Chafee, and Congressman Patrick Kennedy -- delivered to the city critical funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development: a $2 million grant and a $3 million loan. The money has enabled the city to buy the property, and is financing the state-of-the-art environmental cleanup.

East Pointe is a wonderful example of what can happen when local, state and federal leaders work together on a common goal. Good government made the Washburn Wire site economically viable; it allowed East Pointe to become a reality.

The East Providence renaissance is just beginning. Governor Carcieri has signed into law legislation sponsored by Senate President William V. Irons creating the East Providence Waterfront Special Development District Commission. It is modeled on the Providence Redevelopment Authority and the Warwick Rhode Island Airport Commission. The commission will implement the comprehensive plan recently approved by the East Providence City Council -- after three years of study and public comment -- to guide development of our promising waterfront for economic and recreational purposes.

Rhode Island is fortunate to have some thriving metropolitan areas, led by Providence's great downtown accomplishments and Warwick's airport improvements. The success is now spreading to East Providence, where creative local leaders are leveraging state and federal resources to transform their underused waterfront into an engine of responsible economic growth and development.

Patrick A. Rogers is a member of the East Providence City Council, representing Rumford, the area where East Pointe will be built. Rolland R. Grant is East Providence mayor.

From The Providence Journal

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Is it E.Prov and Providence that have that unusual bridge between them?

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btw- My brother tried to convince me to go in on a three decker in Providence about 5 years ago and I thought he was crazy. He wasn't....

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Providence really does look pretty darn good. I just got back from a trip on the train to DC (couldn't bring my camera). I was absolutely stunned and amazed at the abandonment and derilicton of neighborshoods around Philly, Chester PA, and Baltimore. While the train does not travel through the best neighborhoods, there is nothing in Providence that even comes close to what I saw in the other cities.

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btw- My brother tried to convince me to go in on a three decker in Providence about 5 years ago and I thought he was crazy. He wasn't....

You were crazy. :lol:

Not sure which bridge you might mean. I-195 has the Washington Bridge between the 2, which will have a linear park built on it. There's a permanently up rail bridge between the 2. The East Pointe project may turn that bridge into a busway and reopen the closed part of the East Side tunnel. Then there is the Henderson Bridge, which is rather run-down.

Here's an article from today's Journal. Ground has been broken on this project. :D

Waterfront development project in E. Providence launched

Friday, December 19, 2003

projo.com staff

EAST PROVIDENCE -- Officials broke ground this morning on the $200-million waterfront development in the city's Rumford section.

Mayor Rolland R. Grant and City Councilman Patrick A. Rogers characterized the East Pointe project as "one of the most ambitious economic-development and environmental-cleanup projects in the state's history."

It will clean up 27 contaminated acres on the Seekonk River, tear down a dilapidated manufacturing plant and replace it with commercial office space, New England village-style housing, a restaurant and a public waterfront park.

"The East Pointe project is terrific news for both East Providence and Rhode Island," Grant and Rogers wrote in a commentary published Tuesday by The Providence Journal.

The property, most recently the home of Ocean State Steel, has been contaminated with heavy metals from a century of industrial use. A $2 million grant and $3 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban has enabled the city to purchase the property and is also paying for the cleanup, which begins with today's groundbreaking.

The cleanup and demolition is scheduled for completion in August. The first phase of construction is scheduled to begin this fall. The project is expected to take five years to complete.

The site is being redeveloped by GeoNova Development Co. with city, state and federal assistance.

East Pointe has the potential to increase East Providence's tax base by 10 percent, from $1.8 billion to $2 billion in taxable property, according to Grant and Rogers. They say it is expected to generate at least an annual $3 million in local property-tax revenue and milions more in new Rhode Island sales and income taxes.

Governor Carcieri, U.S. Sen Jack Reed, D-R.I., and state Senate President William Irons of East Providence were among those attending the groundbreaking.

-- With reports from Journal staff writer Richard Dujardin.

From The Providence Journal

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Developer proposes E. Providence train linking to East Side

The idea, which would also site residences and underground parking at Crook Point, has the backing of Brown University.

Monday, December 29, 2003

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN

Journal Staff Writer

EAST PROVIDENCE -- Now that ground has been broken for the GeoNova project near Phillipsdale Landing, what's next for the city's waterfront?

Mayor Rolland R. Grant says he believes the next project will be one involving property at Crook Point and the abandoned train trestle that links the city to Providence's East Side.

"I wouldn't have thought so at first, because it seemed to be a wacky idea," says Grant. "But the more you look at it, it makes sense. And it has a lot of institutional backing."

The proposal to put residences and an underground parking garage at Crook Point, which sits about midway between the Washington and Henderson Bridges, is the brainchild of Robert Manchester, of Burlingon, Vt.

Now a lawyer, Manchester was a student at Brown University in the early 1960s, when trains regularly rumbled under the East Side on their way from downtown Providence to points on the other side of the Seekonk River and beyond.

He remembered those days recently, when he began to look at potential development property in East Providence, and realized how useful a reopened trestle would be for commuters trying to avoid traffic on the Washington Bridge.

His plan, which was unveiled for anyone who would listen during a boat tour last July, envisions some 400 housing units on the waterfront, along with 1,400 parking places, mostly underground.

Such a development has reportedly attracted the interest of Brown University, which has a strong interest in solving a housing and parking shortage.

Presumably, with the proposed development, students would be able to park their cars in East Providence and hop a rubber-wheeled "train" that would whisk them to an underground stop at Thayer Street, or to the edge of Providence's downtown, in a matter of minutes.

From The Providence Journal

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Waterfront panel almost complete

The members of the East Providence Waterfront Special Development District Commission will approve or reject plans for development.

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN

Journal Staff Writer - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

EAST PROVIDENCE -- An agency that could become one of the most powerful bodies in the city -- at least pertaining to the waterfront -- is taking shape.

Although the East Providence Waterfront Special Development District Commission is still six members shy of its 19 members, recent appointments by members of the City Council and House Speaker William J. Murphy and Senate President Joseph A. Montalbano give an early indication of the makeup of the commission.

It will consist in part of the heads of several city and state agencies, at least four politicians with backgrounds in law, education, finance and business, two contractors, a real-estate developer and the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

The commission, through its Design Review Committee, will have the power to hold developers to high standards and to reject proposals that it believes are of mediocre design.

The commission will undoubtedly play a critical role in reviewing plans for the East Pointe Development being put together by GeoNova on the site of the former Ocean State Steel, where the main building in the former steel mill is about to be dismantled, beginning Saturday.

The commission will have eight non-voting members: the city manager, planning director, public works director, the executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, the directors of state Departments of Transportation and Environmental Management, or their designee, and a member of the House and the Senate.

The commission will also have five members appointed by the City Council, five appointed by governor with approval of the Senate, and a chairman appointed by the mayor and the governor.

Confident that Governor Carcieri would support him, Mayor Rolland R. Grant earlier this month named City Councilman Patrick A. Rogers as the chairman.

Others appointed by City Council members are:

John G. Gregory III, of 77 Highland Ave., for a four-year term, named by Grant.

John Pesce, of 850 Waterman Ave., for a three-year term, named by Councilman Norman J. Miranda.

John C. Lynch, of 104 Wilson Ave., for a three-year term, named by Rogers.

Laura Lawrence, of 8 Waverly Rd., Barrington, to a two-year term, named by Councilman Daniel F. Harrington.

Several months ago, Murphy named Democratic Rep. Henry Rose, a longtime member of the House and owner of the Rose Furniture Store on Warren Avenue, as the House's representative on the commission.

In the Senate, a spokesman for Montalbano said yesterday Montalbano intends to appoint Sen. Daniel DaPonte, the East Providence Democrat whose district includes most of the waterfront.

That leaves the governor's appointees, who are yet to be named, and one more council appointee.

Earlier this month, Councilman Isadore S. Ramos was ready to name a member of the commission, but became so upset that Grant had named Rogers as chairman that he announced he was going to withdraw the name of Donald H. Turner Jr. and name himself.

Ramos will present his appointment to the commission at the council's meeting on March 23.

Grant said yesterday that he selected Gregory because of his honesty and business acumen, and because he's known his father for years.

"His father and I grew up together, and I think I've known him for 100 years," he said.

Gregory has been heavily involved in the family business, J.J. Gregory, distributors of commercial construction equipment. At a time when other businesses were failing, Gregory expanded the business and opened an office in upstate Massachusetts.

"I even had him on my mayor's think tank because he has such a quick brain," Grant said. "And I know he won't use his position for personal gain. He has character inherited from his father and mother."

Pesce has a degree in engineering and has been involved in construction projects, and has worked for his father's business, Consolidated Cement.

Even though Lynch is Rogers' brother-in-law, Rogers has insisted that there was no nepotism in his decision to name Lynch to the commission. Lynch, like Rogers, works for the law firm of Edwards & Angell, specializing in real estate and property development.

Lawrence does not live in East Providence but has close ties with the city's business community as executive director of the East Providence Chamber of Commerce.

DaPonte, a financial adviser for Union Bank of Switzerland, said it made sense for him to be on the Waterfront Commission because all or at least 90 percent of it is in his district.

"My desire is to see development of our waterfront come to fruition, and to lend any support to that any way I can from my position in the Senate."

From The Providence Journal

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Waterfront must have affordable housing

The commission in charge of developing the city's waterfront says affordable housing will be included in the plans.

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN

Journal Staff Writer - Friday, July 23, 2004

EAST PROVIDENCE -- The commission set up to oversee development in the city's new Waterfront District began last night to look at ways to implement an affordability provision in the waterfront zoning regulations.

In their first session since their organizational meeting on July 1, the commissioners agreed that while the provision -- requiring developers to make sure that at least 10 percent of new housing is affordable to those with low and moderate incomes -- was a good one, they still had to determine what it means.

Among the questions posed by city Planning Director Jeanne M. Boyle, who is also serving as the commission's interim executive director: What benchmark is to be used to define affordability? Who decides who qualifies to be a buyer or renter of affordable housing? Should priority be given to East Providence residents or to people living in the district who might be displaced?

Then there was the question of developers had to put all the affordable housing in the waterfront district, or whether they could build those units elsewhere in the city.

By the end, members appeared to have reached a consensus that at least most of the affordable housing had to be incorporated into what is built along the waterfront.

"I don't think we should set up a certain caste system where the wealthy are on the water and other people live somewhere else," said City Council member Isadore S. Ramos, a commission member.

At the same time, some thought there should be more flexibility, so money could be put into providing affordable housing in nearby neighborhoods that might need help.

At the urging of Laura Lawrence, executive director of the East Providence Chamber of Commerce, the panel asked Boyle to provide some five or six case studies on what other communities do to implement such provisions and what results.

They also agreed that the affordability standard established by Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was a good one. Under that formula, a dwelling would be deemed affordable if it is priced within reach of those with incomes of 80 percent of the median income in Rhode Island. That translates into a unit selling for about $145,000.

In other business, the panel:

Received the request of Peregrine Development Group and New England Construction to build a 54-unit apartment complex, along with a 7,090-square-foot addition to a clubhouse, for its proposed Rosscommons development on a 4.2-acre site near the northwest corner of Bourne and Roger Williams avenues.

Members said they expect to act quickly on hiring a consultant to study the project's impact on traffic, and referred the project to a five-member design review committee, which will hold a public hearing on Aug. 19.

Referred to a hearing panel and the design committee a request by Munroe Dairy to construct a parking lot on Valley Street, which is banned under the zoning regulations. The company wants to build an interim parking lot that would be removed when other waterfront development projects are built.

Approved a $5,000-a-month stipend for Boyle in her role as interim executive director -- in addition to her $75,000 salary. The commission's chairman, Councilman Patrick A. Rogers, said that at least for the three months that began on July 1, the commission has the money to pay for Boyle's stipend.

From The Providence Journal

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Federal official likes what he sees

David Sampson of the Economic Development Administration says that if there is broad support for the proposal to make the East Providence waterfront more accessible, that bodes well in its quest for federal financing.

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN

Journal Staff Writer | August 27, 2004

EAST PROVIDENCE -- At the invitation of Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Sampson visited the waterfront with some of the city's leaders and got a look yesterday at some of the 350 acres they hope to transform.

Sampson directs the Economic Development Administration, which is being tapped for a $3.3-million grant to build a roundabout that should make it easier for motorists to get to the waterfront from Route 195, Warren Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Local officials might have reason to feel optimistic about the grant, Sampson said.

The EDA has put a priority on remediating brownfields so contaminated land can be reclaimed and put back into productive use, he said.

The fact that East Providence's waterfront plan will help to encourage remediation "speaks very well" for the city's strategy, Sampson said. "The fact that they have good private sector interest also speaks very well. I think they should be very optimistic about moving forward."

He said grants are reviewed by a regional office in Philadelphia.

Chafee has been a key player in the city's economic development efforts, helping to "grease the mechanism," as City Manager William J. Fazioli put it, to see that federal brownfields grants have come the city's way. He sits on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, which has juriscition over the EDA's budget.

Sampson was in Rhode Island to deliver with Chafee a $1 million check to the president of the Providence Performing Arts Center, Lyn Singleton, for renovations to the historic theater.

Sampson noted that the $3.3 million sought by East Providence is three times the typical EDA grant.

He said that if the project is critical to the state's economic development strategy and has broad support, that would allow Commerce Department officials to justify such a large grant.

Michael McMahon, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, said that support exists.

"The top of the [Narragansett] Bay is indeed the number one priority for economic development in the state," McMahon told Sampson. "What I would like to point out to the Providence side is why can't you get moving and be as well organized as the East Providence side?"

The East Providence effort, McMahon said, "is not pie in the sky. It's about real people. The owners of the land are moving ahead and doing their part. Developers are coming in and willing to expose their capital. . . . Come back two years from now in President Bush's second term and we'll show you what the results are."

Local officials at the meeting included Fazioli, Mayor Rolland R. Grant, City Council members Daniel F. Harrington and Isadore Ramos, planning director Jeanne Boyle and deputy planning director James Moran.

At the meeting at an overlook for the East Bay Bike Path, maps of the waterfront and a breakdown of the $33 million in improvements outlined how the project is intended to make the land more accessible.

"Next time, you will have to bring your bike," Fazioli told Sampson. "It's a good 14-mile ride to Bristol."

"I don't know about a bike, but I could bring a horse," said Sampson, whose family is in Texas. "I don't know if I can bring a horse on the bike path or not."

According to Boyle, the City Council on Sept. 7 will be asked to approve the hiring of a consultant to do an environmental assessment.

Moran said that could lead to a possible realignment of the proposed interchange and the roundabout.

From The Providence Journal

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EPWaterfront.jpg

East Providence waterfront get its 1st major proposal

City planners hope the $41-million project being revealed today by Tockwotton Home will lead to even more mixed-use projects in the area.

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN

Journal Staff Writer | December 1, 2004

EAST PROVIDENCE -- With an eye toward building a retirement community with a look and feel of a seaside resort, Providence's Tockwotton Home has unveiled plans for a new 148-unit facility along the East Providence waterfront.

The $41-million nursing and assisted living center -- which would replace its existing 140-year-old building in Fox Point -- represents the first project proposed to the East Providence Waterfront District Commission that involves land south of the Washington Bridge.

Kevin McKay, the home's executive officer, said the nonprofit agency originally hoped to relocate to another site in Providence. But the move into East Providence, he said, makes a great deal of sense, considering that it is only 2,400 feet away from Tockwotton's current home. "Residents would be able to look across the water at where they used to live as well as the Providence skyline," he said.

Designed in the style of a seaside resort, the five-story structure would have three components: an assisted-living area for 66 residents, up from the 24 that it has now; a new separate component offering specialized care for as many as 30 residents with Alzheimer's or impaired memory problems; and a skilled nursing-care unit for as many as 52 residents, up from the 42 that are in the home now.

Even with all that, it would occupy only 6 of the 11.3 acres that Tockwotton bought in January from the firm of Abbott Dressler for $1.9 million.

McKay said Tockwotton is working with the city to recruit a partner to help it build offices, or shops, restaurants or even a hotel on the property's four northern acres.

"Tockwotton Home has been actively looking to expand for several years," he said. "It enjoys a well-deserved reputation for high-quality nursing care and assisted-living service. But our current facility was not properly configured for the services we need to provide.

"The new Tockwotton will allow us to provide more amenities while delivering seamless, coordinated care that enables our residents to 'age in place' without the trauma of having to move elsewhere to receive the services they need."

City Manager William J. Fazioli, who has been negotiating "a payment in lieu of taxes" agreement with the home, said the application by Tockwotton is one further indication that the city's efforts to develop the waterfront are paying off.

Known to an earlier generation as the Colfax property, the land targeted for development by Tockwotton sits between Veterans Memorial Parkway and the Providence River, just south of Mauran Avenue and north of Bold Point.

From the vantage point of the most northerly outlook of the East Bay Bike Path, the north parking lot along Veterans Parkway, it would be the land down to the right.

Fazioli said planners believe the Tockwotton project will lead to even more mixed-use projects. In fact, he said, just yesterday he talked to two developers who were looking to develop and build on other properties within the waterfront district.

There are other signs, he said, that the city is "on a roll." For example, at a 4-acre site off Bourne Avenue in the Phillipsdale section, the Peregrine Group and New England Construction have gotten the green light from the Waterfront District Commission to build a 54-unit complex, the Ross Commons Condominium Community, with some units to open by June.

Nearby, the New York-based development group, GeoNova, has nearly completed its remediation of 27-acre site contaminated with heavy metals in a step toward building a "New England village" with nearly 500 condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes to be known as East Pointe.

Fazioli said there is no indication at all that GeoNova has hit a snag or wants out of the project. But even so, he has been approached by brokers for three different developers who would like to acquire the land and develop it themselves.

Other projects that have also sparked a great deal of interest in East Providence in recent days: the announcement by Bank of America that it plans to spend $10 million to $15 million to build a new facility on Pawtucket Avenue that will employ as many as 900 people, and last week's announcement by Citizens Bank that it plans to invest $15 million renovating and upgrading its operations center.

"It's encouraging to see this kind of economic activity," Fazioli said. "It bodes well for the city."

In the case of Tockwotton, McKay says the home is moving ahead with the expectation that the state will start building the proposed Warren Avenue extension, to make it easier for people to drive to the waterfront, next spring.

Narragansett Electric's relocation of the high-powered lines that run between East Providence and Providence's India Point Park are also an issue. McKay said that the home prefers that the lines be buried, but that the two other above-ground options that the company showed him were tolerable, since neither would take the lines over the home's property.

Once the home gets the required permits from the Waterfront District Commission and the Department of Health, there will be additional hurdles as well.

The building, which will replace what is believed to be Rhode Island's oldest retirement home, will take about two years to complete and probably won't open until 2007 or 2008, according to the home.

It would have 125,000 square feet compared to the 45,000 square feet it has now, and would employ 100 people on a budget of $8 million.

No determination has been made for the continued use of the existing home.

From The Providence Journal

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Man, this week has had some damn good news. It's unbelievable how everything is coming together. Our waterfront just may end up being one of the most wisely developed waterfronts on the continent. Hopefully all the waterfront walkways will connect, if so then it could become the most efficient way to get around the city seeing how the rivers and bay area run through every major part of the city from the west end to E. Providence. It may sound like a blown-up claim but for those that live there, they know how it will change the way we live in the city. Even the Rising Sun is putting in a small landing off their property to encourage use of the river as a mode of travel and recreation. Hopefully every development will have the same vision and respect for our most precious resource. By the way Cotuit, thanks again for keeping consistant coverage on all things local. Also, has anyone seen any pictures of Brooks Pharmacy's new headquarters that they broke ground on? I would imagine that if they're building then a few images must exist somewhere. Adios. P.S. Two weeks and I'll be home! Yeeeyah!

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I could see myself living in EP in a few years if all goes according to plan along the waterfront. Especially if they reopen the East Side Tunnel to buses.

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Housing plan receives award from governor

East Providence requires that 10 percent of the multi-family homes built along the waterfront would have to be affordable to families of moderate income.

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN Journal Staff Writer | February 14, 2005

EAST PROVIDENCE -- - The city's effort to ensure that affordable homes will be built along the waterfront has won an award from Governor Carcieri.

East Providence is only municipality to receive the Governor's Partners in Housing Award. The ceremony is at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the State House state room.

Jeanne Boyle, director of planning, noted that when the city put together its comprehensive plan for the 300-acre waterfront development district, it realized that most of the 2,000 to 3,000 homes that might be built would be out of the price range of people of moderate income unless the city decided to keep some of the homes affordable.

So the city included a provision for inclusionary zoning. At least 10 percent of the multi-family homes built along the waterfront would have to be offered at a price affordable to families whose incomes are only 80 percent of the citywide median family income.

Based on numbers from the latest income statistics, it means 10 percent of the homes sold on the waterfront would have to be offered for no more than $150,000.

Those homes would have to be comparable to the other units offered at higher market prices and cannot be segregated from the higher-priced units.

Boyle said that while some developers have grumbled about the provision, the city believes it is crucial to the effort to make sure families of moderate means are not priced out.

She noted that Colin P. Kane, whose Peregrine Group has begun construction of a 54-unit condominium complex called Ross Commons, has embraced the concept and will set aside six units at a lower price.

The Rhode Island Housing Mortgage and Finance Corporation will screen applicants.

Under the city's plan, each of the moderate-priced properties will have deed restrictions require that during the next 30 years, the homes will be sold at affordable prices only to families that meet the moderate-income requirements.

Boyle said it is in the city's best interest to impose these requirements because a state law allows developers of low-income housing units to win an exemption to many of the usual zoning restrictions if it is shown that fewer than 10 percent of the homes in a community are affordable to people of moderate means.

Based on the last census, East Providence was one of only five Rhode Island communities that met the target -- but just barely -- at 10.5 percent.

"We felt certain that if we didn't put some controls on the development of the waterfront, we would fall below the 10 percent in terms of affordability, and we would become deluged with by high density developments," Boyle said. "By holding fast to our rules, we have control over our density."

From The Providence Journal

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http://www.projo.com/metro/content/projo_2...23.23f4b7e.html

GeoNova, the company that bought the former Ocean State Steel site has comleted remediation of the soil with organic compounds instead of trucking the soil away. As soon as the DEM gives them clearance, they will be able to begin construction on 188 housing units on the riverfront.

Here is another story on the development from last year:

http://www.eastbayri.com/story/310239404002132.php

I cant find any renderings on the project yet, nor a GeoNova website (odd), but from what it sounds like, this will be a suburban sprawl type of development, probably two to three story condos spread out over several acres.

Most interesting to me is what this might do for public transport, as there have been some reports that a development like this might spark new interest in reopening the East Side Railroad tunnel to get people from E Prov to downtown Prov. Brown was also interested in the idea, to relieve the Fox Point housing glut.

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188 units in 8.7 acres, thats over 21 units/acre. Maybe it'll look like sprawl but at least it'll be dense enough to support transit.

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I believe the plans for the East Providence waterfront are very urban friendly, with positive regulations regarding streetwalls, sidewalks, street furniture, sightlines to the water and other things. There is a masterplan for the waterfront, so it's not going to be just willy nilly at the whim of the developers.

City of East Providence

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I can't wait to see the outcome. This has got to be the biggest redevelopment project in the state outside of Providence (or maybe even including Providence). Judging from the pictures they use as examples on their website, it looks like they're gonna create something with a nice urban feel to it. Browsing through the plan I found words like "boulevards", "structured parking", "multi-family", "artist lofts", "limited surface parking" and even mention of a commuter ferry. The planning director and assisant planning director of EP are great too; there's no way they'd mess this up.

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God, it's raining money in DOT land right now. Tons of happy faces around here right now.

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God, it's raining money in DOT land right now.  Tons of happy faces around here right now.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well how about those current year Transportation Enhancement Grant projects....are they getting funded or what?

Lots of rumours flying around out there right now...

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One worry...  Is the WP waterfront going to be like the Newport one, with an enormous road dividing the pedestrian areas from the actual water?

- Garris

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, I don't expect much to happen in this town. The population of East Providence is 40k, of which almost 10k is elderly :( There's not much happening in this place. EP is truly a sleepy town.

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One worry...  Is the WP waterfront going to be like the Newport one, with an enormous road dividing the pedestrian areas from the actual water?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In some places yes, but as you can see in these planning documents, there will be development on both sides of Waterfront Drive in most areas. I don't think it will be as substantial as America's Cup Blvd. either, at least in the southern section, Veterans Memorial Parkway will remain the main road.

EP-NorthWaterfront.jpg

EP-SouthWaterfront.jpg

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Well, I don't expect much to happen in this town. The population of East Providence is 40k, of which almost 10k is elderly  :(  There's not much happening in this place. EP is truly a sleepy town.

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I respectfully, but totally disagree. Admittedly EP has dragged it's feet in getting control over it's waterfront. The city has, like many other cities and towns, allowed it waterfront to become for the most part an abondoned industrial blight.

BUT, EP is activily working to turn it around. My prediction is that once we get the infrastructure in place (which looks like it's going to start in the spring of 06) you will see lot's of activity and a huge interest in development along the water.

From Cotuit's post, you can see there's huge stretches of available waterfront parcels. The potential is amazing.

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I respectfully, but totally disagree.  Admittedly EP has dragged it's feet in getting control over it's waterfront. The city has, like many other cities and towns, allowed it waterfront to become for the most part an abondoned industrial blight. 

BUT, EP is activily working to turn it around.  My prediction is that once we get the infrastructure in place (which looks like it's going to start in the spring of 06) you will see lot's of activity and a huge interest in development along the water.

From Cotuit's post, you can see there's huge stretches of available waterfront parcels.  The potential is amazing.

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I just don't see it happening here. EP seems to be a breeding ground for elderly people. This town is definanetly not progressive. The city council is made up of old men with old ideas.

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