Arnold Building set for redevelopment, thanks to federal grant

(Updated, 6:30 p.m.) One of the narrowest and most endangered buildings in downtown Providence has a new lease on life. The city announced Tuesday that it has transferred the vacant George C. Arnold Building on Washington Street to a private partnership working with the Providence Revolving Fund to rehabilitate it. More

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Arnold Building set for redevelopment, thanks to federal grant

PBN FILE PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
PROVIDENCE HAS TRANSFERRED the vacant George C. Arnold Building to a developer, which in partnership with the Providence Revolving Fund and with the help of a federal grant, plans to redevelop the 90-year-old building into two retail shops and three apartments.
Posted 1/7/14

(Updated, 6:30 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – One of the narrowest and most endangered buildings in downtown Providence has a new lease on life.

The city announced Tuesday that it has sold the vacant George C. Arnold Building on Washington Street to a private partnership working with the Providence Revolving Fund to rehabilitate it.

The development group, 100 Washington LLC, purchased the building from the Providence Redevelopment Agency for $150,000, plus a $50,000 note payable only if they fail to complete work on the property within two years, said Dante Bellini Jr., spokesman for the PRA.

The city has also agreed to direct $220,000 in federal Community Development Block grant money to the new owners to help redevelop the three-story, 12.5-foot-wide building into three apartments above two ground floor storefronts.

The Providence Revolving Fund, a nonprofit that finances the restoration of historic buildings in the city, is joined in the 100 Washington Street LLC partnership by David Stem and Lori Quinn, according to a news release from Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

Stem was part of the group that, with assistance from the Revolving Fund, redeveloped Monohasset Mill on Kinsley Avenue on the city’s West Side.

The city’s Providence Redevelopment Agency seized the Arnold Building through eminent domain this summer.

Built in 1923, the building had been vacant since a fire in 2009 and was falling into disrepair. In 2012, the Providence Preservation Society placed the Arnold Building at the top of its 10 Most Endangered Buildings List.

Despite its small size, the Arnold Building is seen as important to preserving the streetscape on Washington Street, which features a number of surface parking lots.

“The renovation of the George C. Arnold Building at 100 Washington Street is going to have a tremendous impact on the continued revitalization of downtown,” said Providence Revolving Fund Executive Director Clark Schoettle in the news release. “This 13-foot deep building is a critical component of the streetscape, providing a liner between parking lots on Mathewson Street and the vast Providence Journal parking across Washington Street.”

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
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Obadiah2

The building's original use does not mesh with today's life style so effective future use must be based on a broader concept. There is no new construction in the Downcity area so maybe it's time to catalyze that development. One idea would be to combine the Arnold building with the parking lot to its south and build a high rise residential building incorporating the Arnold facade. The building could be designed with a below grade garage if feasible or above to serve the residents. The new structure would be connected to the Arnold building at the second floor which would allow the new buildings to have a covered driveway in front of main entrance off Mathewson Street. The first floor of Arnold could incorporate retail and restaurant and a walk thru to the new residence building. Arnold's upper floor could be used for residents' use such as a fitness center, support offices, etc.

Tuesday, January 7 | Report this
StaticA

It is hard to imagine who would want to live in this building. The rail cars drive by every 30 minutes in the back, and rowdy bar-goers frequent the area coming out from Snookers at night. While this building has an extensive history,(coffin making company?)I think it should be knocked down. Why not make it a park that highlights Providence's rich graffiti history?

Monday, January 13 | Report this
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