This is the third year on the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List for the Water Supply Building on Academy Avenue. This structure seems ideally suited for a mixed-use repurposing. The building is a reasonable size and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and schools. Academy Avenue is a busy thoroughfare, but if the street level was to be converted to retail and commercial, that would be a plus.
The steel, stone, and brick street façade seen today reflects the later Streamline Moderne style, an evolution of Art Deco, which likely dates from work done under Mayor Walter Reynolds in 1954. The structure is a one- and two-story, flat-roofed, brick industrial office building with a notable curved corner at its southern end.
The Water Supply Board vacated the property in 2017 for new offices off Huntington Avenue leaving the future of the Academy Avenue building uncertain. Future uses, or demolition, of the building will require approval by the Historic District Commission as it is protected by Providence Landmarks District – Industrial & Commercial Buildings District designation.
Check out these Streamline Moderne gems. Below is the facade on Academy Avenue.
Last month we highlighted the former state Board of Public Roads building.