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The Apex of Potential

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This is a unique building, which I'd very much like to see stay around. Pedestrian access to it and the river should be improved, but please don't demolish it unless you're going to put up something equally memorable.

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I really hope they can save the building too. It seems likeliest though that there will be another Big Box type retailer taking the space, which would mean that the giant parking field would stay. A museum would really be perfect, and allowing the parking lot to be divided up and developed as residential developments would be ideal.

It's amazing that basically an entire neighbourhood was leveled and is now a parking lot for one store. :sick:

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Beyond Apex in Pawtucket

Monday, January 24, 2005

With Pawtucket on the rise, in the arts and otherwise, it may be time for the city's planners to start whispering about the future of the prime waterfront property on which sits the Apex department-store chain's chief ornament -- the "ziggurat" store.

For now, the building houses a pared-down Apex shop, Rhode Island's Division of Motor Vehicles, and the Ciudad de Dios Church (in the space once occupied by a troubled Ocean State icon, Newport Creamery). Erected during the 1960s when the idea of a walkable city was at its lowest ebb, the huge white pyramid with its desolate acres of parking turns its back on the waterfront.

That could change. Cities across America are discovering the popularity of commercial developments that reconstruct (or construct anew) the sort of old streets that people love so much. For example, shoppers have flocked to a down-at-the-heels Los Angeles neighborhood since 2002, when developers opened a shopping center called The Grove, which features -- surprise! -- shops on streets (and a trolley).

The Grove's design calls to mind the great days of urban shopping before department stores moved to the suburbs and hooked their destinies to the car -- a destiny that, while not in decline, has proved problematic.

This sounds like just the thing for the 10-acre site along the Blackstone River, right across from Pawtucket's downtown. The idea that the Apex building is a landmark that should be preserved doesn't wash -- many people think that it is ugly (we agree), and it is only about 35 years old. Much of the downsized Apex store's foot traffic comes from people waiting to do business at the DMV. But since the DMV is moving to the Pastore Center, in Cranston, the handwriting is on the wall. Pawtucket should have its feelers out. A coup for the city could be in store.

From The Providence Journal

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I can't say I disagree with anything in that editorial. I wonder how fertile the market is there, however, given that Providence itself still hasn't finished developing its own riverfronts...

- Garris

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Considering someone wants to tear down the train station to build a strip mall, I'd say there is a desire for developers to build in Pawtucket. The city should be actively encouraging these people into areas where the developments will do the most good, i.e. Apex. I'd love to see Apex saved, but if someone has a good proposal to bring retail to Pawtucket, and embrace the river, then tear the sucker down.

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The Apex building does not do much for me but then again i dont like alot of what came from the 60's and 70s architecture

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Anybody know whats going on with the cleared lot right next to the Apex parking lot? What an eyesore especially being next to that massive lot...

It'd be really nice if we could get some sort of big destination store for the Apex building once the DMV moves out. So much potential with that nice front entrance right on the street. Any ideas for what kind of stores/venues could use this space, or build on the surface lot?

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Anybody know whats going on with the cleared lot right next to the Apex parking lot? What an eyesore especially being next to that massive lot...

It'd be really nice if we could get some sort of big destination store for the Apex building once the DMV moves out. So much potential with that nice front entrance right on the street. Any ideas for what kind of stores/venues could use this space, or build on the surface lot?

TRADER JOE'S!!!!1111!!!!

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TRADER JOE'S!!!!1111!!!!

Funny, I almost mentioned that as an idea but I wanted to see what other's would come up with. Anyway, good idea.

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Funny, I almost mentioned that as an idea but I wanted to see what other's would come up with. Anyway, good idea.

it is possible it fits TJs demographic needs. They like to be in existing buildings w/ existing infastructure, although the last i knew, they liked to be walkable, zero setback and in with other stores...certainly the TJs in VA aren't walkable or with zero setback, but are in old shopping plazas.

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TRADER JOE'S!!!!1111!!!!

oh man.. this would be such a great move. It would pull so many people to that area!

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it is possible it fits TJs demographic needs. They like to be in existing buildings w/ existing infastructure, although the last i knew, they liked to be walkable, zero setback and in with other stores...certainly the TJs in VA aren't walkable or with zero setback, but are in old shopping plazas.

The Apex is built up to the street on one end, with a huge set of stairs. They could make this the main entrance.

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Yeah, TJ's would be great. As for badly located TJ's, look no further than the one in Burlington, MA, in the middle of strip mall hell that puts Bald Hill Road to shame.

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the only trader joe's i've been to are in MA and CT. i think the one in MA i was at was the one in arlington. i am pretty sure it was in a small strip mall, set back from the street (i could be wrong). there is a big lot next to it though. and the one in CT in fairfield is also in a small strip mall with a parking lot in front of it, set back from the street (and not on a street that anyone would really want to walk on either).

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In Brookline the TJ is (or was, it's been a long time since I've been, it could have moved) in Coolidge Corner. It's in an old building built to the street, but it was a bank, so it has off street parking in the rear. There's a TJ on Boylston Street in Boston which I believe is actually down an escalator in the basement, anyone who knows Boylston Street obviously knows there is no off street parking. On the Cape TJ is in stripmall hell on Route 132 in Hyannis near the Cape Cod Mall. There also is (or was) a TJ on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. It has large surface parking, but is right alongside the dense Cambridgeport neighborhood. I believe there is a Whole Foods there as well now (a Bread & Circus was opening when I moved in 2000 so I assume it's a Whole Foods by now).

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