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Garris

Jewelry District's Conservation Future...

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Hi everyone,

Driving on 195 today, I was looking out at the Jewelry District and wondering, after 195 is gone and if the area becomes "hot" for development, what of the JD should be preserved and what should go?

There certainly are many old structures there, but the District is a mish mosh (not in always good ways) of different styles, heights (some buildings only one story), ages, sidewalk setbacks, and conditions. Most all buildings there are surrounded by seas of surface parking.

Is this an area that should be preserved in amber like Benefit St, or one where we should save the gems (as is being done at Dynamo House) or instead allow for good new projects to demolish some buildings there?

What should stay, what, if anything, should go?

I'm certainly of my own opinion, but for now...

Discuss...

- Garris

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to be honest (and i'm gonna get laughed at for this, i'm sure), i don't even know the exact boundaries of the jewelry district. i always hear about something being in it... but then i hear the same area called downcity. it's confusing.

but i do have an idea of where you mean... i think the crappy buildings should be replaced with better stuff (or rehabbed to be better) and the gems should be preserved (and i'm sure there's a bunch of gems).

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Obviously the prominent historic industrial structures that make the Jewelry District the Jewelry District stay. With Dynamo House coming on line they're all in use and in good shape anyways.

Build on whatever vacant lots either in a modernist style (to create an appealing mix of old and new a la Kendall Square in Cambridge) or in a historicist style that isn't overly Disneyfied. I think Struever's ALCO in-fill stuff looks good as an example of the latter.

Garris is right. Many of the smaller buildings could go. But we have to be careful: they are some gems like Olga's, Children's Museum, as well as some diamonds in the rough like Regal Plating. But I would be happy to see all that bad 80s stuff with Dryvit and gables galore disappear.

So I would add density to the JD, soften it with plenty of trees (hear that Jen?), but respect its overall architectual heritage.

Jim: The JD is south of 195 (historically though south of Pine St.) to around Point St and from the Providence River to 95.

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I would just call it the area around Pine and Clifford under the current (old) 195 south to the intersection of Eddy and Allens. The boundary to the west is 95 and to the east, the Providence River. Sound good?

Look at all that asphalt! It must feel like 120 degrees down there right now!!!

Live Local - The JD

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The Jewelry District houses alot of Johnson & Wales class and administration buildings to compliment it's Downcity campus. It would be nice to have alot of the useless buildings (I can think of 3 JWU buildings off the top of my head that resemble nothing short of blick blocks with stairs) only 1 or 2 stories high that could be knocked down in place of something more modern and college-esque.

JWU is a world-class culinary institution in the same city as RISD and Brown University. Brown and RISD have sure taken pride in their little corner of Providence (Anyone else notice the building renovations along South Main and up on the hill with the classroom buildings? Exterior renovations included), I see no reason why JWU can't try to make it's campus a little less "dreary club-going on bad roads" and a little more intgrated and signaged (See: Northeastern University, Boston for a college campus integrated well into the cityscape).

Hopefully with 195 being relocated, the school can pressure the City to pave down the JD. Youth Pride Inc just located to the Artbar building's second floor on Chestnut street...it could really be a hoping collegey scene like College Hill is if the right things happen.

Agreed?

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a little off topic. Any clue what it would take AND what it would cost for a complete re-paving of Providence?

Providence meaning---> Capitol Center, Federal Hill, Fox Point and Jewelry, College Hill, Waterplace, Downtown (theater and financial)

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Chestnut street...it could really be a hoping collegey cene like College Hill is if the right things happen.

Agreed?

Well, supposedly, in one of the master plans the JD association drew up, Chestnut Square (currently located under 195) would become the focal point for the J&W community, kind of like their Thayer St or their Harvard Square. Sounds like a great idea. No one has any clue if J&W and/or the city have this on their minds at all...

- Garris

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a little off topic. Any clue what it would take AND what it would cost for a complete re-paving of Providence?

Providence meaning---> Capitol Center, Federal Hill, Fox Point and Jewelry, College Hill, Waterplace, Downtown (theater and financial)

so basically all of providence? :lol:

it'd be pretty damn expensive to do that... but it needs it.

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I think people like to sort of ignore the jewelry district for some reason, and admittedly it's fairly easy to do because of the barrier that the freeway presents. I think, though, that being a city whose historical base was built on industry, the jewelry deserves a little more attention to historic preservation than we might otherwise be willing to give it.

Lets not forget that before private citizens stepped in, all of College Hill/Benefit Street, seen as a crumbling outdated area, was slated for demolition and renewal in the 1950s. It was never necessarily apparent to people to preserve it, but it turned out to be the best long term investment we've ever made.

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I think people like to sort of ignore the jewelry district for some reason, and admittedly it's fairly easy to do because of the barrier that the freeway presents. I think, though, that being a city whose historical base was built on industry, the jewelry deserves a little more attention to historic preservation than we might otherwise be willing to give it.

Lets not forget that before private citizens stepped in, all of College Hill/Benefit Street, seen as a crumbling outdated area, was slated for demolition and renewal in the 1950s. It was never necessarily apparent to people to preserve it, but it turned out to be the best long term investment we've ever made.

what's there that shoudl be preserved? i realize the city's history... and much of the industrial buildings are being preserved... the foundry, alco, rising sun, etc... but the jewelry district has a lot of buildings that just aren't worth saving. there are some nice ones that should be preserved and i do agree that as much of it should be preserved as can be, but some just aren't worthy of keeping. you wanna talk about unoriginal buildings...

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From what I understand, most of the "bad" buildings in the Jewelry District are actually historic buildings covered in Dryvit.

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From what I understand, most of the "bad" buildings in the Jewelry District are actually historic buildings covered in Dryvit.

I think so too, it happens a lot. There's even still at least one on Westminster that's like that.

what's there that shoudl be preserved? i realize the city's history... and much of the industrial buildings are being preserved... the foundry, alco, rising sun, etc... but the jewelry district has a lot of buildings that just aren't worth saving. there are some nice ones that should be preserved and i do agree that as much of it should be preserved as can be, but some just aren't worthy of keeping. you wanna talk about unoriginal buildings...

Thank you very much for bringing up a comment I made on an unrelated thread. That's mature.

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Thank you very much for bringing up a comment I made on an unrelated thread. That's mature.

i really don't know what you're talking about. i was bringing up industrial buildings that have been preserved because they're useful. i don't think much of the JD is all that useful or attractive.

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From what I understand, most of the "bad" buildings in the Jewelry District are actually historic buildings covered in Dryvit.

Yes, that's my understanding too. Particularly the large building at the corner of Richmond and Ship (that has that big parking garage attached to it), the name of which is escaping me now. That one has been horribly mutilated, but likely has a real gem (get it Jewelry District, gem :unsure: ) under the Dryvit.

what's there that shoudl be preserved? i realize the city's history... and much of the industrial buildings are being preserved... the foundry, alco, rising sun, etc... but the jewelry district has a lot of buildings that just aren't worth saving. there are some nice ones that should be preserved and i do agree that as much of it should be preserved as can be, but some just aren't worthy of keeping. you wanna talk about unoriginal buildings...

What Ari said, but also, there is sooooooo much surface parking in the JD, there's really no need to tear anything down, even the most lowly of buildings can be safe for decades I'd imagine before the District is built out. I haven't walked through the JD in a while, but I used to work there. It's a really nice area, its a really big area, and it has some amazing little gems (hehe) hidden in it. Chestnut Street is charming, if you try not to think too hard about it. You can see throughout the District where their used to be single family homes (a couple remain on Chestnut and Elbow Streets), the remnants of a neighborhood retail district (near Lot 401), old mill type buildings (Davol Square, 10 Davol Square, and the building across Point Street from Planned Parenthood to name a few), even interesting modern design at ITEM.

I also don't think the pressure to demolish buildings will be as strong because I assume the final zoning on height will be relatively low, and I don't really mind that much. Some height near the Point Street overpass tying into the Hospitals I'd like to see, and a smattering of midrises, but I actually enjoy the lowslung nature of some parts of the District and would like to see that preserved in many areas. The lack of height in zoning, should mean that developers won't need to cobble together large parcels to maximize their profit. You can get some historic tax credits to de-Dryvit an existing structure and add something new on the surface lot that sits aside almost every structure in the District.

Oh, and the building that I would definately lay down in front of the bulldozers to save is Olga's.

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can this dryvit be removed ??????

Of course it can, the worry is how much damage was done during the installation.

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it wasn't placed on to protect?

mikal needs a dryvit lesson *sits in school chair*

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Of course it can, the worry is how much damage was done during the installation.

what exactly is dryvit? is it like bondo for buildings? does it have a real purpose?

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Oh, and the building that I would definately lay down in front of the bulldozers to save is Olga's.

I love that place, and I've always wondered what that building originally was. Any idea?

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I love that place, and I've always wondered what that building originally was. Any idea?

I don't know for sure, but it could have been and old time gas station. I used to sit in the garden in the dead of winter and drink coffee, even with a gas station across the street, its an idyllic spot.

I also love all the reuse of the building like Big Fish and Jakes. I love that part of the character of the Jewlery District, how its been cobbled together. There's precious little left to reuse like that though. That end of Richmond is where I'd really like to see just 2 and even 1 story buildings. Tear down the Hess Station and build something one story or with a recessed second floor and a large well planted set back on the Point Street side.

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I don't know for sure, but it could have been and old time gas station. I used to sit in the garden in the dead of winter and drink coffee, even with a gas station across the street, its an idyllic spot.

I also love all the reuse of the building like Big Fish and Jakes. I love that part of the character of the Jewlery District, how its been cobbled together. There's precious little left to reuse like that though. That end of Richmond is where I'd really like to see just 2 and even 1 story buildings. Tear down the Hess Station and build something one story or with a recessed second floor and a large well planted set back on the Point Street side.

I like that same aspect of the jewlry district, which is why I'm all about preserving it. I also think there's something really interesting in seeing what's in those buildings - even the less outstanding ones - through the lens of what they were. Who would have thought that a gas station would be host to a cultural hot spot?

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Cotuit--Yes, Olga's was once a gas station. As inspired as a reuse project as Seven Stars on Hope St.

Dryvit (a brand name for EIFS- Exterior Insulation and Finish System) is basically imitation stucco.

http://homebuying.about.com/cs/syntheticst.../eifs_facts.htm

Some claim it has practical benefits (insulation, etc.), but a lot of times it's used to cover up what a property owner might regard as a "tired old brick facade." You see a lot of it on Atwells as well as in the JD.

Those buildings in the JD that have Dryvit covering them should not come down. Rather, the Dryvit should come off.

As far opinions on the overall aesthetics of the JD is concerned, while I think most would agree there are too many surface parking lots and no enough trees, some people (myself included) love old industrial buildings and some don't. People who don't love old mills and factories aren't going to find a lot to like in the Jewelry District or in much of urban New England for that matter.

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Tear down the Hess Station and build something one story or with a recessed second floor and a large well planted set back on the Point Street side.

I know you dont own a car, but a lot of us do and I use that Hess station. Cheap gas and seeing as how I am a jersey boy and grew up getting the Hess trucks for Chanukah, Hess is nostalgic.

Nostalgia aside, a gas station in part of the whole neighborhood services equation and serves a vital role just like a pharmacy. I think that is the only one in the JD right? every neighborhood should have a gas station or two. As least until we can plug our cars into our home electrical outlets. :)

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...seeing as how I am a jersey boy and grew up getting the Hess trucks for Chanukah, Hess is nostalgic.

Absolutely! My sister and I (we're from the NY Metro) were just talking about this "Hess truck" gift nostalgia. She got me one almost every year for Chanukah when I was about ages 5-10. I still remember the words of the commercials to the music of "My Boyfriend's Back"... "The Hess truck's back and it's better than ev'er... Hey la, HEY LA, the Hess Truck's back!" Ah, nostalgia... :wub:

Vintage 1985:

hess_1984.jpg

Nostalgia aside, a gas station in part of the whole neighborhood services equation and serves a vital role just like a pharmacy. I think that is the only one in the JD right? every neighborhood should have a gas station or two.

There is the (nicer) Shell Station right across the Point Street Bridge off of Wickenden. Here's another SimCity-eque question... If you could only keep one, which gas station would you maintain and which would go?

- Garris

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There is the (nicer) Shell Station right across the Point Street Bridge off of Wickenden. Here's another SimCity-eque question... If you could only keep one, which gas station would you maintain and which would go?

- Garris

you might need both... some people are afraid of crossing the river...

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