Too Tall Or Too Ugly? — Hearing

(7.25) Great . . . another cash-strapped New York developer with a tower complex. I had hoped to reject this latest proposal based on aesthetics alone, but it appears now that developer Jason Fane will be needing more money than first thought. So grab your wallets. Kate Bramson has an update in the ProJo on the latest analysis conducted for the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission: “Study: ‘Substantial Subsidy’ probably needed for proposed Providence high-rise.”

The analysis conducted for the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission questions Fane’s assumptions that a 40-story tower would need only $18.5 million in public subsidies and would generate a 6.99-percent “return on cost,” defined as the net operating income divided by project cost.

Instead, the consultants for the 195 commission project that the tower would have a financing gap somewhere between $32.5 million and $44.8 million, if the high-rise tower were to achieve market-rate returns.

Maybe there are some Russian oligarchs with money in need of laundering hanging around, because I’m pretty sure the taxpayers of Rhode Island won’t be kicking in on this one.

The I-195 Development District Commission will be holding a hearing Tuesday with presentations on the proposed development on Parcel 42: one by Jason Fane of The Fane Organization; another by Patricia Adell of the Real Estate Solutions Group, the company that performed this new financial analysis for the commission.

Also on the agenda is an opportunity for public comment. This means you!

The Jewelry District Association has been keeping on top of things. In a recent communication they provided some context for the meeting.

Although the Fane proposal has been called a “new proposal” the commission is treating this as a revision to the original three tower proposal, and therefore they are considering it for a Level 2 decision.

Our sources tell us the meeting agenda, relative to Parcel 42, is to have Fane present the proposal, have Utile (the commission’s urban planning consultant) present their comments on their proposal, allow a Q&A session from the commissioners and then follow with a public comment period.  After the public presents comments, the commissioners will vote on a Level 2 approval while in Executive Session.

And yes, the height of the tower is a huge concern. Getting past the Providence City Council creates another hurdle for developers. From Bramson’s article,

Fane cannot build a tower this high without Providence City Council approval for a zoning change, and [195 District Executive Director Peter] McNally said it’s time now for the commission to consider whether it’s appropriate for Fane to seek that approval.

Tower Hearing, 5pm, Tuesday, July 25, Commerce Corporation Offices, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, (directions)


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