Updated March 26 at 12:27am

Cornish, Nordblom partnership could bring apartments, grocery market to Providence

A new building covering a full city block could help fill in downtown Providence, bringing with it the potential for an urban grocery market, under a plan pursued by Providence-based Cornish Associates and Burlington, Mass.-based Nordblom Co.

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Cornish, Nordblom partnership could bring apartments, grocery market to Providence

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PROVIDENCE – A new building covering a full city block could help fill in downtown Providence, bringing with it the potential for an urban grocery market, under a plan pursued by Providence-based Cornish Associates and Burlington, Mass.-based Nordblom Co.

The $48 million project has already received approval from the R.I. Commerce Corp. for up to $6.1 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits.

On Monday, the development team will seek permission from the city’s Downtown Design Review Committee to tear down a small masonry building, at 66 Fountain St., and place a six-story structure over the site and adjacent surface parking lot. The design of the new building, by architect Cube3, of Lawrence, Mass., is the primary focus of the city’s hearing.

The Cornish-Nordblom project, called 78 Fountain, would occupy the block bound by Fountain, Mathewson, Clemence and Washington streets. It would include 203,236 square feet of new construction.

It would include space for two restaurants fronting Fountain Street, and a 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot urban market fronting Washington Street, said Arnold "Buff" Chace Jr., managing partner of Cornish Associates. He has spoken with locally-owned markets about the potential for the location, including Brigido’s Fresh Market, which has three locations in northern Rhode Island.

“We need a market downtown and this is a wonderful location,” Chace said.

On the five floors above, a mixture of efficiency apartments, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units would be installed. The apartment mix would also include some three-bedroom units, Chace said. In all, 140 apartments are planned.

The project is among the latest in downtown Providence that would add more apartment housing. The district now has several thousand residents, but no full-service grocery store.

The design of the building itself is intended to not compete with the more elaborate construction of other notable buildings, but to serve as more of a backdrop. If the project moves forward, Chace said he would be seeking a tax stabilization agreement from the city of Providence.

Potentially, construction could begin in the fall.

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ANM

That sounds magnificent... good luck with the project.

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