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PVDJack

BACK TO LIFE?: Paramount Cards Complex

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See the sidebar in the latest edition of the RI Smart Growth newsletter:

http://www.growsmartri.com/February2006.html

I hadn't previously heard of this project, but I recently drove around the Paramount Cards complex and was dumbfounded by how huge it is -- a true shame that it won't be renovated.

http://www.projo.com/business/content/proj...5x.2bfa4fb.html

Carcieri is evidently wary of absorbing over $100 million of tax credits in the next 2 years in lieu of a looming budget deficit and proposed tax cuts. What the article doesn't talk about is the tax revenue benefit to Rhode Island by having these credits. A study by a Maryland Real Estate Consulting firm estimated the that the credit generated $795 million in economic activity vs the state's expense through 2004 of $145 million ("Historic tax credit helps R.I. economy", Projo 4/8/05). Gordon Fox is even quoted in the Projo article as saying it's a "grand slam". Seems like a shortsighted move to me if they're thinking of rolling this tax credit back.

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http://www.projo.com/business/content/proj...5x.2bfa4fb.html

Carcieri is evidently wary of absorbing over $100 million of tax credits in the next 2 years in lieu of a looming budget deficit and proposed tax cuts. What the article doesn't talk about is the tax revenue benefit to Rhode Island by having these credits. A study by a Maryland Real Estate Consulting firm estimated the that the credit generated $795 million in economic activity vs the state's expense through 2004 of $145 million ("Historic tax credit helps R.I. economy", Projo 4/8/05). Gordon Fox is even quoted in the Projo article as saying it's a "grand slam". Seems like a shortsighted move to me if they're thinking of rolling this tax credit back.

I've said it before - the loss of the state historic tax credit would be a GIGANTIC blow to the progress of this state. If there was ever a reason to call or write you state legislator and the governor, THIS IS IT.

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I've said it before - the loss of the state historic tax credit would be a GIGANTIC blow to the progress of this state. If there was ever a reason to call or write you state legislator and the governor, THIS IS IT.

After the historic tax credit program was changed to raise the filing fee in order to balance the budget this past year, I e-mailed the leadership of the House and Grow Smart RI to express my concerns but got no response. Of course, I could have been the only one writing which would not elicit a response the way a more coordinated effort would obtain.

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That is very, very disappointing. I hope it doesn't portend more cancellations.

Hopefully, supporters of the Tax Credit will now have extra ammunition to make their case to the General Assembly.

One thing that I don't understand (maybe someone can clear this up for me) is why state legislators see the tax credit as costing revenue when these projects would almost certainly not happen without it. Is the state fiscally better off with scores of deteriorating empty mill buildings than with the Tax Credit?

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That is very, very disappointing. I hope it doesn't portend more cancellations.

Hopefully, supporters of the Tax Credit will now have extra ammunition to make their case to the General Assembly.

One thing that I don't understand (maybe someone can clear this up for me) is why state legislators see the tax credit as costing revenue when these projects would almost certainly not happen without it. Is the state fiscally better off with scores of deteriorating empty mill buildings than with the Tax Credit?

of course, because it means that all these "blights" can be demo-ed and paved over for parking lots, or walmarts.

:(

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of course, because it means that all these "blights" can be demo-ed and paved over for parking lots, or walmarts.

:(

I'm hoping that a few more Providence mill conversion projects will happen before the Gen Assembly kills the Tax credit program. Jencoleslaw or anyone, do you know anything about the status of the following?

1. The vacant Foundry bldg next to 95. I saw in the RIEDC list that rehabilitation was in the works but haven't heard any announcements.

2. The GE plant on Atwells across from Eagle sq. Seems like a great candidate for rehabilitation but I haven't heard anything.

3. The Struever project for US Rubber/American Locomotive on Valley St. This was announced a while back (over 2 million sq. ft.) but it's not listed anymore on SBER's website.

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I'm hoping that a few more Providence mill conversion projects will happen before the Gen Assembly kills the Tax credit program. Jencoleslaw or anyone, do you know anything about the status of the following?

1. The vacant Foundry bldg next to 95. I saw in the RIEDC list that rehabilitation was in the works but haven't heard any announcements.

2. The GE plant on Atwells across from Eagle sq. Seems like a great candidate for rehabilitation but I haven't heard anything.

3. The Struever project for US Rubber/American Locomotive on Valley St. This was announced a while back (over 2 million sq. ft.) but it's not listed anymore on SBER's website.

there have been many attempts to do something with the GE plant and they refuse to sell, so i don't know what will ever happen there, but that is a sweet spot for something. Like a park!

I happened to be in a position yesterday to be thumbing through some old comprehensive plans from 50+ years ago, and even then the city recognized that neighborhoods like Federal Hill lack important green space and play space. I wonder when we're gonna get around to doing something about that...Seems to me that with all this development, and variances on heights and parking and density and landscaping and setback etc, we should be able to get developers to give back a little something... Probably a post for a different thread. sorry.

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Great news! This project has apparently come back to life.

From the Projo:

"But Urban Smart Growth isn

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Greg, they did not mess with it THIS YEAR, despite many attempts to do so. Sen. Alves of W. Warwick submitted legislation to reduce the tax credit to 20%, and this was one of his more benign efforts. A state buyback program promulgated by Rep. Segal did pass, however. This does not mean the tax credit is safe by any means. A 'blue ribbon' panel will convene in the fall to investigate ways to alter the tax credit. Luckily, it will not just be tin-eared legislators at the table; other stakeholders will have a voice.

The real issue is that the preservation/smart growth/development community has to fight EVERY YEAR to protect the historic preservation investment tax credit. If this is an investment, as the formal name of the program insists, why does the Assembly keep attempting to tinker with it, cap it, reduce it, or kill it off? This is no way to incentivize investment in redevelopment in Rhode Island, because the climate for investment is constantly under thereat. I think this is symptomatic of the larger structural issues the State faces and the inability of the State to develop a formal policy for economic development, or at least one that has a life longer than our annual political cycle.

Simply put, if the tax credit get messed with next year, we can forget about Paramount Cards, among other projects. USG has stated quite bluntly that they are in RI because of the tax credit, and if it were to be altered in some substantial way, they would pull out their resources.

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there have been many attempts to do something with the GE plant and they refuse to sell, so i don't know what will ever happen there, but that is a sweet spot for something. Like a park!

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A 'blue ribbon' panel will convene in the fall to investigate ways to alter the tax credit. Luckily, it will not just be tin-eared legislators at the table; other stakeholders will have a voice.

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All right, I'll step in it. It's my way.

As background, check out this post on my blog and follow the links to the CEOs for Cities blog that includes coverage of a meeting that may or may not have included the blue ribbon type people to whom FP referred.

The CfC blog does not include the part of the discussion that I think is relevant here, which is this: all-residential mill conversions are inherently profitable, and politicians pay a price for tax breaks that have the appearance of lining the pockets of the already wealthy. Further, all-residential developments don't produce the kind of synergistic economic expansion that creates the sought-after "whole place." They become ghettos. Finally, some say these breaks have gone to some of the worst actors on the development scene, and that has left a bad taste in some peoples' mouths.

The talk I heard was about focusing the tax credit on mixed-use and jobs-only development. So USG would have nothing to worry about, seeing as how they stress mixed-use and community and so forth.

I guess my main question is this: is there any scenario in which historic preservation is not the driving concern?

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This has come back to life but even bigger than before. The project is called the Thread Factory. Amazing when you consider the uncertainty over the Historic Tax Credit. From the USG website:

The former largest thread factory complex in the world (Conant and Coates and Clark mills) just two miles north of Hope Artiste Village, is USG

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The efforts of Pawtucket to obtain a train station to Boston and points south appear to be bearing fruit

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OK... lots of activity at the GE site recently... There is now a security guard posted 24/7 on the Harris Ave. side and lots of trees have come down. Last week I saw what looked to be movers brining out old office furniture. Also, an environmental firm was out there doing groundwater testing. Something is afoot.

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