Westminster Street parking lot opens

THE FORMER PROVIDENCE NATIONAL BANK facade on Westminster Street in the city's Financial District, shown in an artist's rendering with the metal trestle supporting it removed. The parking lot depicted on the right of the image opened Friday.
Posted 7/6/12

PROVIDENCE – The empty lot created by the demolition of the former Providence National Bank in the Financial District in anticipation of a condominium tower that never materialized has opened as a parking lot.

Metropark Ltd., under a lease for the lot from its owner, O’Connor Capital Partners, Friday opened a surface parking lot with 85 to 90 spaces that spans the block from Westminster Street to Weybosset Street.

The lot was created when the former bank, located at 35 Weybosset St. and also known at the Downing Corp. building, and the Buck-A-Book building at 110 Westminster St., were razed in 2005 to make room for the One Ten Westminster project. Initially designed to be a 32-story condominium tower, and then as the real estate market cooled, scaled back to be a combination hotel/condominium tower, with connections to The Arcade next door, the project was finally abandoned in the aftermath of the Great Recession, which curtailed access to credit for development projects.

Metropark President Charlie Meyers said that parking demand is up in the city, so that despite paying what he characterized as the “highest rent in the city,” he believes the lot will produce income. He pointed to recent activity in the neighborhood, including the rehabilitation of The Arcade as a mixed residential and commercial space, as well as the pending re-opening of the Custom House restaurant.

Despite losing six spaces in the lot when the support tressle for the Providence National Bank facade was moved from the Weybosset Street sidewalk to the inside of the structure, Meyers said “the sidewalk looks great.”

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