Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Cotuit

Providence Foundation Meeting

Recommended Posts

Foundation: Incentives will ease parking woes

The Providence Foundation plans to lobby for legislation to provide economic incentives to build parking garages downtown.

BY GREGORY SMITH Journal Staff Writer | January 19, 2005

PROVIDENCE -- Private developers need state and local tax incentives in order to build much-needed parking garages downtown, according to Providence Foundation leaders.

They said at the foundation's annual meeting last night that obtaining tax-incentive laws from the governor and the General Assembly is a priority of their organization for 2005.

The parking supply downtown is inadequate, said newly elected foundation chairman Robert T. Gormley, vice chairman of Citizens Financial Group, and former foundation chairman John J. Bowen, who is president of Johnson & Wales University.

But garage construction is said to be costly.

A conventionally financed garage built without a public subsidy and having to pay regular Providence taxes would provide no return on an investor's money and might well operate at a loss, Gormley said.

So some combination of tax-exempt financing that would allow a developer to borrow at a lower rate of interest and one or two other tax incentives would be necessary to spur garage development, he said.

One kind of potent incentive, he said, would be a state tax credit similar to the existing tax credit for historical-rehabilitation projects. The state would forgo some tax revenue in order to jump-start a project that, over time, would indirectly generate increased state tax revenue, according to the rationale.

The men said the foundation will lobby the governor and legislature in order to win the legislation, as it has already begun to do with the mayor and City Council.

The nonprofit foundation, composed of 115 companies and institutions and affiliated with the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to the redevelopment of downtown and the city as a whole.

A crowd of about 110 movers and shakers from the public and private sectors gathered for the foundation's 29th annual meeting in the ballroom of the new Hotel Providence at Westminster and Mathewson streets in Downcity.

As its primary objective for the year, the foundation wants to see the state arrange financing and contract with a developer or a builder to construct a garage behind the Garrahy courthouse on Dorrance Street.

The project has been kicked around for seven or eight years and it is past time to act, Gormley and Bowen said.

"We're trying really to be a catalyst to help that get done," Gormley said.

As part two of its top objective, the foundation is encouraging the city to develop a downtown parking system that would include better signs and entail the hiring of a full-time employee to concentrate on parking issues.

The courthouse garage and downtown parking system together are one of six initiatives that the foundation laid out for 2005.

Among them are:

Creation of a detailed redevelopment plan for the Old Harbor district and the land to be opened up by the relocation of Route 195

Assisting the city with its economic development strategy

Helping to revitalize Downcity

Implementing the new business improvement district in Downcity

As part of the meeting, GTECH was honored for building its corporate headquarters in Providence. Bowen presented GTECH with the foundation's Presidential Award.

And Gormley dropped a hint about a potential major project. He said he would like to see more of Citizens' thousands of employees brought together in Providence. If his corporation is willing, Gormley said, he would like to have them working at a harborfront campus.

Much of the conversation before and after the meeting was about the new hotel, which Michael McMahon, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, called a jewel. L'Epicureo restaurant, which won a following at its former Federal Hill location, is now part of the 80-room hotel.

Johnson & Wales furnished the food for a pre- and post-meeting reception because the restaurant is not operating yet; it is scheduled to open Jan. 31.

"I think in the next two years you'll see a lot more jewels come out of the box" in Providence, McMahon said.

The hotel awaits a certificate of occupancy from the city and hopes to have its first overnight guest no later than next week.

From The Providence Journal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


For the parking garage, I think (hope) there is finally enough momentum downcity for people to believe that the parking garage is needed and will be used. A few years ago the fear of building an empty colossus that would never make it's money back may have been present. I also think Cicilline is fully on board with the idea of having to spend money to make money (i.e. excuse taxes to generate taxes). Whether the state will get on board... making it easier for people to patronize downcity businesses could spur the job growth that Cacieri is promising.

The Citizens harbourfront 'campus' both intirgues me, and scares me. One, what does 'harbourfront' mean, Allens Ave? Are we going to move workers out of Downcity? That doesn't sound good. Also the word 'campus' makes me think of a West Warwick office park, we don't need any office parks in Providence. Also the Citizens building is 100% (or nearly 100%) occupied right now, but if Citizens moves out, it no longer will be, will we have to wait that much longer for another new downcity/Capital Centre office building. And why the hell would Citizens want to leave such a prominent location? I'd rather see them expand where they are, building another building in Capital Centre. I guess we'll have to wait and see what this big secret is all about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would assume harborfront would be by Clifford and Dorrance... I think that would be good..

Personally, I have never had trouble getting a space in downcity.. But then again, I'm originally from Boston, where you can almost never get a space, so maybe my view is tainted..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would assume harborfront would be by Clifford and Dorrance... I think that would be good..

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's what I would hope too.

Personally, I have never had trouble getting a space in downcity.. But then again, I'm originally from Boston, where you can almost never get a space, so maybe my view is tainted..

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I lived in Boston and New York, and I don't own a car now, so I don't feel anyone's pain when it comes to parking in Providence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.