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Frankie811

PROPOSED: Bellevue Ave. Condo/retail midrise

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Commission rejects Bellevue Gardens project. Developer Aram Garabedian says he will probably shelve redevelopment plans after the Historic District Commission bounces his proposal. [The Providence Journal]

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

BY RICHARD SALIT

Journal Staff Writer

NEWPORT -- The Historic District Commission last night unanimously shot down a $40- to $60-million plan to transform the 1950s-era Bellevue Gardens strip mall into a midrise complex with condominiums on the top three floors, retail space on the ground floor and some parking underground.

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sounded like a good proposal and almost anything would be better than the huge parking lot there now

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sounded like a good proposal and almost anything would be better than the huge parking lot there now

Yeah, except that this proposal would have kept the parking lot. Much of the opposition to the proposal was that it was more or less on the footprint of the current building.

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Commission likes revision to condo, retail center

NEWPORT -- Although it didn't take a vote, the city's Historic District Commission last night seemed welcoming of developer Aram Garabedian's plan to convert the one-story Bellevue Gardens Shopping Center into a mid-rise luxury-condominium complex with stores and a restaurant on the ground floor.

The sprawling shopping center, located across from the Tennis Hall of Fame, is generally seen as the bane of beautiful Bellevue Avenue.

http://www.projo.com/ri/newport/content/pr...e8.32ffbdb.html

Bellevue-Gardens.gif

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Commission likes revision to condo, retail center

NEWPORT -- Although it didn't take a vote, the city's Historic District Commission last night seemed welcoming of developer Aram Garabedian's plan to convert the one-story Bellevue Gardens Shopping Center into a mid-rise luxury-condominium complex with stores and a restaurant on the ground floor.

The sprawling shopping center, located across from the Tennis Hall of Fame, is generally seen as the bane of beautiful Bellevue Avenue.

http://www.projo.com/ri/newport/content/pr...e8.32ffbdb.html

Bellevue-Gardens.gif

that's a great idea. that shopping center is hideous.

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Although this sounds like a huge improvement, the developer says he can't move the building out to Bellevue Ave., b/c he can't break the CVS lease. So the sprawling surface parking lot fronting Bellevue will remain, although the developer promises to 'beautify' it, and reduce the parking spaces down to 288.

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Great news, though I still see no reason this couldn't be built up to Bellevue Ave. Let CVS front an interior lot with signage on the street, if they don't want to move into new construction. It would look so much better than a parking lot fronting the avenue, no matter how well landscaped.

There are some renderings of the (pre-modification) proposal in the windows of one of the vacant storefronts there. I've been meaning to take some pics.

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Although this sounds like a huge improvement, the developer says he can't move the building out to Bellevue Ave., b/c he can't break the CVS lease. So the sprawling surface parking lot fronting Bellevue will remain, although the developer promises to 'beautify' it, and reduce the parking spaces down to 288.

i figured... that sucks though. at least it will add some density, even with the parking lot.

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There are some renderings of the (pre-modification) proposal in the windows of one of the vacant storefronts there. I've been meaning to take some pics.

Please do; I'm curious to see what's being proposed. Regardless, it will be a huge improvement over what's there now.

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I believe these are the latest renderings. The ones that I mentioned above are those dated Sept. 9 in that pdf, as well as the watercolor at the end.

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I'll step out on a limb here: definitely an improvement over what's there now. ;-)

I like what they're doing for King St, the little street that parallels Bellevue at the rear of the complex. That street was kind of a shame before. Half colonial, half commercial ugly. Huge improvement there. It'll feel like a real street again.

I also like the revisions the developers have made to their own proposal. Less clutter in the appearance.

All in all, I like it. The parking lot in front is a pity, but the building is where it is where it is. The trees should help somewhat. The more the merrier.

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I'll step out on a limb here: definitely an improvement over what's there now. ;-)

I like what they're doing for King St, the little street that parallels Bellevue at the rear of the complex. That street was kind of a shame before. Half colonial, half commercial ugly. Huge improvement there. It'll feel like a real street again.

I also like the revisions the developers have made to their own proposal. Less clutter in the appearance.

All in all, I like it. The parking lot in front is a pity, but the building is where it is where it is. The trees should help somewhat. The more the merrier.

They have done a really good job, and I do think they do a great job with the parking lot, for the way it is. But for the developers to make the revisions on there own was nice as well.

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MUCH better than what's currently there...

I feel like you don't like what they are going to do, but I feel like the front parking lot isn't even that bad when you "fancy" it up, I think it is nice.

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I feel like you don't like what they are going to do, but I feel like the front parking lot isn't even that bad when you "fancy" it up, I think it is nice.

i like what they're going to do. i don't like that there's a huge parking lot fronting such a major street that should be more walkable than it is. while there is a shopping plaza across the street with a parking lot, that parking lot is longer and goes farther back with part of that shopping plaza built to the sidewalk. the one that this project is for is completely fronted by the huge parking lot. at the very least, that parking lot should've been built behind the building.

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i like what they're going to do. i don't like that there's a huge parking lot fronting such a major street that should be more walkable than it is. while there is a shopping plaza across the street with a parking lot, that parking lot is longer and goes farther back with part of that shopping plaza built to the sidewalk. the one that this project is for is completely fronted by the huge parking lot. at the very least, that parking lot should've been built behind the building.

I don't know the money details, if they have the money to displace the building and put a new one towards the street than yes, but I figured that money was an issue like all things and for that being said it is hard to complain about it.

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K, so now we've got a thread for Bellevue Gardens. And let me start by asking a question that's been bugging me: I understand the limitations of renovating an existing structure, but why can't the developer build a small structure for retail close to the street to tighten up the feel of the area? On the corner of Bellevue and Williams, say ...

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K, so now we've got a thread for Bellevue Gardens. And let me start by asking a question that's been bugging me: I understand the limitations of renovating an existing structure, but why can't the developer build a small structure for retail close to the street to tighten up the feel of the area? On the corner of Bellevue and Williams, say ...

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Basically, it went somewhat like this: any building that is constructed directly across from the Casino, the Audrain Building, and Travers Block would immediately be compared to these architectural gems. Not to mention the fact that this particular stretch of Bellevue is narrower than most; new buildings along Bellevue would block the fantastic views we now have of the Casino, Audrain, and Travers.

The effort was instead to focus on selling the parking lot as a kind of square for Bellevue Avenue, to continue to showcase the architecture across the street while increasing the vegetation in the lot. I understand their reasoning behind this.

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It doesn't have to be Williams, either. I'd happy with something on the other end of the parking lot, Jones Ave, which -- well, what the hell, is there even anything on Jones Ave?

Now that I think about it, I imagine Jones is only there as a service road for that strip mall. For the trucks. Pity. If not for that, it could probably be condemned and the developer could use that land too, say for something like the SmithBarney building in the plaza across the street.

Something, anything, to create a better sense of space in that area.

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It doesn't have to be Williams, either. I'd happy with something on the other end of the parking lot, Jones Ave, which -- well, what the hell, is there even anything on Jones Ave?

Now that I think about it, I imagine Jones is only there as a service road for that strip mall. For the trucks. Pity. If not for that, it could probably be condemned and the developer could use that land too, say for something like the SmithBarney building in the plaza across the street.

Something, anything, to create a better sense of space in that area.

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That's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. Actually, incorporating that plan with Garabedian's plan, it puts every one of the streets in question to better use than now. Short of a full-scale demo and rebuild, it would be ideal.

Mapman, this cracked me up:

2) King Street. Currently, the shopping center moons the tennis courts, King House and colonial homes with its ugly ass. This needs to be fixed.

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Bellevue Gardens close to approval, but is held up by stormwater runoff concerns [1/30/07 Daily News]

Some excerpts from the Daily News:

When the special meeting of the Newport Zoning Board of Review began Monday at 6:30 p.m., just about everyone in the packed City Council chamber expected a decision on the proposed $40 million-plus Bellevue Gardens project by the end of the night. Even the board's chairman, Peter J. O'Connell, was talking about closing the hearing by 9:30 p.m. and taking a vote soon afterwards.

As it got close to 11 p.m., though, the board members were talking about scheduling a Feb. 26 meeting to call additional expert witnesses to talk about stormwater runoff. With additional witnesses pending, the attorneys present could not complete their closing arguments.

It was the zoning board's third hearing on the proposal.

Stabach said the developer is proposing to install 1,500 feet of pipe, three feet in diameter, under the parking lot to collect runoff. This grid would hold the water and then discharge at a slow rate into the stormwater pipe on Bowery Street.

Board members had problems with this proposal.

For the proposed Bellevue Gardens stormwater collection system to work, a stormwater pipe must be laid along King Street to Bowery Street. It remains to be worked out how much of this work the city would pay for, and how much the developer.

Attorney Bonnie Watson, representing abutter Henry Rosemont, argued the developer should be required to retain more of the stormwater runoff on site, instead of detaining it for later discharge.

The zoning board is the last major hurdle for the Bellevue Gardens proposal.

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ProJo Editorial:

Don

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It happened! For real, this time! Bellevue Gardens gets approved! It will (!) be built!

And with cutting-edge green roofing and stormwater retention, to boot...

http://www.newportdailynews.com/articles/2.../news/news2.txt

And in the ProJo: http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo_20...ue.1e8f3d3.html

The $40 million condominium and retail complex proposed at Bellevue Gardens in Newport won its final major approval from the city Monday night when the Zoning Board of Review voted 5-0 to grant the project a special-use permit.

Noreen Drexel, a prominent Bellevue Avenue resident and philanthropist, hugged architect John Grosvenor, congratulating him on getting the project through after more than two years before the Historic District Commission, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Review. In the fall of 2005, the HDC rejected the project, forcing it to be downsized and redesigned.

The 21/2-story chateau-style building will feature a rooftop garden that offers views of Newport Harbor to the west, and contain 43 two- and three-bedroom condominiums. The exterior will be shingled, with a mansard roof, dormers, towers and redwood balcony rails. There will be retail stores on the first floor. The architectural style of the building will reflect the style of historic buildings along Bellevue Avenue, such as the Newport Casino.Henry Rosemont of Thomas Street, who pressed the developer for a better stormwater management plan, and his attorney, Bonnie Watson, also said they were pleased.

Rosement hired the Horsley Witten Group of Sandwich, Mass., and its president, Scott W. Horsely, to propose low-impact techniques for managing and retaining stormwater on the property. Horsely then worked with VHB of Providence, the engineering firm hired by Bliss Properties, and the developer's landscape architect to develop a plan that all parties bought into, including the Zoning Board.

Horsley and VHB civil engineer John Stabach explained how "bioretention areas" and "rain gardens" would be constructed throughout the property to replace the large impermeable asphalt parking area that now exists there.

The engineers also will dig out strips about 3 feet deep, lined with cement and filled with a biofilter soil. These areas would be in depressed areas with permeable pacers nearby so that water would flow into them. The dug-out areas would be filled with vegetation. As stormwater filters though the soil, it will be cleaned by the time it reaches the bottom, where it will flow into a pipe that eventually will tie into a city stormwater pipe.

There will be cisterns to catch runoff from the roof. The water in the cisterns will be used for irrigation and perhaps for toilets. In addition to the rain garden on the roof, other rain gardens also are planned on the ground.

Horsely, an adjunct professor at Tufts University, teaches stormwater management at workshops run by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"This project could become a tremendous example for other projects in Newport and the state of Rhode Island," he said.

The system is so effective, he said, it will retain 50 percent of stormwater on site even if 3.4 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period - the magnitude of a storm expected every two years. The developer also agreed that the stormwater collection system would provide water quality treatment for the first inch of rain, the first flush over pavement that usually is the most polluted.

City department heads will work on details as they oversee the development plan in the coming months. Also, the Historic District Commission will review details of the design, but these processes are not expected to hinder the construction timetable. The project will be built in phases over a four-year period.

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