Thank you David Brussat for setting the record straight on how the opponents of the Fane Tower have been so frequently maligned during this battle. All along the ProJo editorial board has labeled us a “vocal minority of campaign contributors, special interests and BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody).” They think that “bananas” joke is hilarious and repeat it often. Problem is, they never identify all these other buildings we’ve supposedly been fighting.
In just the last couple of years alone, eight major new buildings have been completed in and near downtown, including the Wexford Innovation Center in the I-195 corridor, the River House apartments near the Point Street Bridge, the first of two proposed Edge College Hill residential towers on Canal Street, the low-rise Commons at Providence Station condos along the Moshassuck River in Capital Center, a Homewood Suites Hotel on Exchange Street, a Marriott Residence Inn on Fountain Street, a Woodspring Suites Hotel just outside of downtown on Corliss Street, and a large Rhode Island School of Design dormitory near Prospect Street on College Hill.
All of these large new buildings, and several more now under construction, went through the development process without a whisper of opposition. No proposed new buildings have been blocked in years.
If it seems that this ad hoc group of concerned citizens, architects, preservationists, local residents, city planners, real estate appraisers, and local bloggers has been around a while, that’s because we also opposed the original proposal for a stadium on this riverfront parcel, and for many of the same reasons. But this isn’t us fighting every building every where, this is us trying to get this particular parcel of riverfront land properly developed (while conforming to the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning rules!). We have made it very clear that Fane is welcome to build his tower, just not in this location.
A 12-story building has just been proposed in the Jewelry District with opposition developing over, guess what, a special height request. Providence resident Lewis D. Dana had this to say in “Few oppose building projects when they follow the rules.” (ProJo 10.27.19)
In the Jewelry District, we alleged not-in-my-back-yarders welcomed Wexford, cheered for South Street Landing, admired River House, and watch approvingly as Chestnut Commons nears completion.
But, a 12-story building on a cramped site at 155 Chestnut asks for bonus height? Developer Jason Fane gets spot zoned to break every rule in the book? That’s when we say “Nay!”
David Brussat writes at Architecture Here and There, where he addressed this issue in “Two Fumbles for Providence.” He also has more photos of the new buildings.
(Seen here is the west side of the Providence River with River House and South Street Landing, and if you can’t quite make out the Wexford Building in the distance . . . it’s because it’s conforming!
Below is the new RISD dorm on Waterman Street.
And I love the new Wexford Building on Dyer Street. This company conformed to height restrictions but will end up looking up the backside of the looming Fane Tower (complete with its six story parking garage) instead of towards the river, the pedestrian bridge, and College Hill as they had been expecting.
State “leadership” likes to talk about attracting new development to city. Why would anyone want to invest in a city that keeps changing the zoning and making exceptions. Don’t business people favor predictability?