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NewTowner

Moving to Providence

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Hello! I am a longtime poster here at the UP, mostly in the Nashville forum.

...but, I am moving to Providence! I will be enrolling in Brown's Ph.D. program in the History of Art and Architecture (I am an architectural historian/designer) this fall. My wife and I are looking to purchase a sweet little house in the College Hill thereabouts. I've never even set foot in Providence, so I feel a little clueless...any ideas or recommendations?

I look forward to participating in the Providence forum once I have cut my teeth on the town. It seems like a really exciting place to be! Renaissance City, etc...

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Hello! I am a longtime poster here at the UP, mostly in the Nashville forum.

...but, I am moving to Providence! I will be enrolling in Brown's Ph.D. program in the History of Art and Architecture (I am an architectural historian/designer) this fall. My wife and I are looking to purchase a sweet little house in the College Hill thereabouts. I've never even set foot in Providence, so I feel a little clueless...any ideas or recommendations?

I look forward to participating in the Providence forum once I have cut my teeth on the town. It seems like a really exciting place to be! Renaissance City, etc...

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I'd say fox point would be primo. The neighborhood bounded by Benefit, Wickenden, Hope, and Williams is packed with small 18th and early 19th century homes in pristine condition, some on streets you can hardly fit a car down, 5 or 10 minutes walk from Brown. It can be a bit pricey though, I'm not sure what your budget is. If you're looking for a little more of a bargain/fixer upper, try the west side. It might seem like a drag being across town, but this is RI, and nothing is far.

Welcome to the City-State!

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Thanks for the reply! Fox Point sounds awesome. Our budget isn't enormous, but it's not bad, either...partially because we keep other expenses down by owning only one car, which means that living in walking distance to Brown is pretty important. I'll definitely check that neighborhood out when we come visit next weekend!

If anybody knows of any specific places for sale, please let me know. We are already talking to a realtor, but I am sure that loads of architectural gems change hands in Providence's East Side without any realtor help, or even knowledge.

I have never lived outside the South before (at least, in other parts of the United States), so this will be a big change for me! I am pretty excited to experience New England...particularly the Fall seasonableness, what with the trees and Halloween and Thanksgiving in a properly brisk environment, etc.

What is De Pasquale Square like? I've seen photos, and it looks pretty. What is the best place to sit outside and have a beer in Providence?

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Currently, I would say the best place to sit and have a beer is The Hot Club, and if you get a place in Fox Point, it is an easy walk!

Something to remember: Providence does not have overnight on street parking, so make sure whatever apartment or house you get has at least 1 parking space for your car!

Federal Hill, where DePasquale Plaza is, is an easy trolley ride to Brown, btw.

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What is the best place to sit outside and have a beer in Providence?

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Hi there, and welcome to Providence!

Most of the recs here are quite good. I've lived on the East Side for four years, and am currently looking for a house myself, so I can give you some perspective:

- PRICES: Single family prices, especially on older homes, have really held up on the East Side. Most desirable homes are still going for 5% or less than asking. Many sellers here also seem to have money and are willing to wait for "the price we deserve." Multifamily prices, though, have plummeted as condo converters have vanished with the health of the economy. On the flip side, though, because of this price plummet, very few multifamilies in habitable condition are on the market on the East Side.

- LISTINGS: Most properties I've seen are actually hitting MLS. Few are selling otherwise, if for no other reason than the market is strong and people want the best price. http://www.riliving.com is the best MLS listing site. Also check out www.residentialproperties.com. For better or worse, they dominate East Side listings, with about 75% of the market.

- LOCATION: Definitely talk to people who live here to get a sense of location. I cannot emphasize how important this is anywhere in Providence, the East Side included. This is especially key for Fox Point and Mount Hope. Wayland Square, College Hill, Blackstone, and Elmgrove are generally predicably desirable, but even here one needs to be careful. One street or block over from another can make all the difference in the world between desirability, crime, and resale.

For example, a friend of mine bought a gorgeous 3 bedroom condo when he moved here at what he thought was a good price (coming from San Francisco), he really liked the street of pretty and genuinely historic homes, and it was 2 minutes from his job and tons of shopping. Of course, no one mentioned to him it was about 300 feet from Hope High School which, for a variety of reasons, isn't at times the best place to be and he didn't even know it existed until after living here a few weeks. Now, 3 years later, he's had vandalism problems and in a glutted condo market he's trying to sell his place. His realtor (uselessly) lamented that if he was only a few blocks farther away from the high school, he'd probably be able to get a 50K more for it. He won't come close to breaking even on any sale now.

- INSPECTION: Get anyplace you look at inspected! I've heard horror stores of realtors (even buyers agents!!) encouraging people that, "Oh, trust me, I've looked this place over. It's in great shape." Every home on the East Side in almost every price, from entry level through sky's-the-limit range needs LOTS of work, and due to the many economic fluctuations in Providence's history (many beautiful historic homes may have gone from mansions with servants to students apartments to multifamilies then back to student apartments and then converted back to single families) there is a TON of "deferred maintenance" on many homes.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or recommendations (email from my website at www.garrisphoto.com). I'm very familiar with most of the East Side, although I know someone in particular who is scary-knowledgable about Fox Point and all real estate issues there. She's only been looking for a house in that neighborhood for 3 years...

- Garris

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Check out Hanover Street in the West End.. Best bang (literally) for your buck.. :shok:

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I am a little overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of hospitable responses here in the Providence forum! I guess Yankees aren't so standoffish after all.

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I will take a stab at the downtown question. Disclaimer, I haven't lived in Providence for about 9 months but when I did I was very involved in the downtown revitalization efforts.

For one thing, many Rhode Islanders call Providence's traditional downtown "Downcity." This likely has historic roots but I don't believe there is consensus on its evolution and popular usage.

I believe it accurate to state that Downcity Providence is moving in the direction of a 24-hour city but it is not quite there yet. Over the last 5 years or so, increased residential and hotel development, growth in the downtown student population, and significant new retail and restaurant development have lent certain parts of downtown (particularly around Weybosset, Westminster, Washington and Capital Center) an incipient 24-hour vibe. There is a high density of nightlife, theater and music venues (both good and bad) which also tends to animate the streets afterhours.

There are also 24-hour qualities in the works, like a 24 hour downtown grocery store. Taxi cab service seems to have increased as well. Given the lack of an excellent mass transit system and an overabundance of surface parking, activity can be patchy and varies block to block.

I believe in the next 5-10 years, we will see downtown Providence moving closer to 24 hour city status. There certainly has been a marked improvement over the past 5-10 years, when the CBD more or less emptied at 5pm.

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If you're looking at the East Side, avoid Doyle Ave between Camp and North Main and Pleasant St between Camp and North Main. They are the roughest streets. Also living on any block next to Billy Taylor Park (on the corner of Camp and Cypress) can be really loud and annoying.

You seem to be beyond the rowdy college age, so I'd avoid Thayer St as well. It's great to walk to, eat at and drink at, but it's not fun to live on.

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On a scale of 5pm to 24 hours, I'd say Providence in a midnight kind of city right now.

Dining, arts, and shows are well above average for a mid-sized city. Sports is overall average to better than average if you include the (nearby) Pawtucket Red Sox. Providence is perhaps an Arena league football team away from being above average to very good for a "minor league" sports town. 2 of the our local teams are directly tied to the major league teams in Boston (the Providence Bruins and the Paw Sox). Brown University offers quality Ivy League sports and Providence College offers Big east Hockey and Basketball.

The public bus system (RIPTA) is OK (better depending on where you live - lots of potential), commuter rail is very good going north to Boston and points between, and will be expanding south to the airport and a southern suburb in about 2 years. I think our airport is above average to great for a mid-sized facility. Inter-city rail via Amtrak is excellent since Providence is on the Northeast corridor making high speed rail to NYC about 3 hours away. Providence Station is actually one of Amtrak's busiest stations after the major cities.

I am certainly biased, but I love this place and hope you will too...

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Both Fox Point and Federal Hill boast good indian food options. Extra points to Federal Hill for the bakery options, which do not exist in Fox Point. Oh wait, is The Silver Star Bakery on Ives and Fremont still around? Good donuts there but i am not sure they make them every day. There is an awesome community garden in Fox Point and a dog park. Federal Hill has better little bars and more variety of restaurants. It is also a little more affordable. Fox Point is closer to Brown and a little more civilized (i think.)

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Both Fox Point and Federal Hill boast good indian food options. Extra points to Federal Hill for the bakery options, which do not exist in Fox Point. Oh wait, is The Silver Star Bakery on Ives and Fremont still around? Good donuts there but i am not sure they make them every day. There is an awesome community garden in Fox Point and a dog park. Federal Hill has better little bars and more variety of restaurants. It is also a little more affordable. Fox Point is closer to Brown and a little more civilized (i think.)

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This is a great house! Is the seller currently occupying it?

We'll definitely take a look at that one, no doubt. Is it (and are you) nearby any pubs? Are there any good Indian restaurants in the East Side of Providence? How tolerant are you of random, one-line questions?

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Please carry on the discussion in this thread.

Thank you.

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