15-story building proposed for College Hill site

A PHOTO OF a rendering by DBVW Architects, the proposed building is shown in red. The building to its left is the Edge College Hill building now under construction. The historical building on the site is at right. /PBN FILE PHOTO/MARY MACDONALD
A PHOTO OF a rendering by DBVW Architects, the proposed building is shown in red. The building to its left is the Edge College Hill building now under construction. The historical building on the site is at right. /PBN FILE PHOTO/MARY MACDONALD

PROVIDENCE – The developer of a mid-rise apartment building under construction at the base of College Hill is seeking permission for a second 15-story structure on an adjoining site.

The application by Steeple Street RI LLC would place the Edge College Hill Two building at 131 Canal St., with frontage on Canal, Elizabeth and North Main streets, and wrapping around the historic Congdon & Carpenter building.

The development pursued by Vision Properties, of Conshohocken, Pa., would require development rights transferred from the adjoining historical building to reach the proposed height of 15 stories.

Because the property is located in the College Hill National Register District, the R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission will need to approve the transfer of the development rights. The R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council would also have approval authority, because of the site’s proximity to the Moshassuck River.

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On Jan. 8, the project is expected to have a public hearing and a conceptual design review by the Downtown Design Review Committee. The project space is now occupied by a parking lot.

The architect is DBVW Architects, of Providence, the same firm that designed the Edge College Hill structure now under construction at 100 N. Main St.

Michael Viveiros, a principal at the firm, said the building would feature one-bedroom and efficiency apartments, but with larger footprints than the micro-units to be offered in the first building.

The two new buildings would not be mirror images in design. “We’re making a design very specific to the neighborhood and addressing what is a changing scale [in Providence],” he said.

The city zoning allows for 100 feet of height in new structures at that site. If the transfer of development rights is approved by the state historical commission, the building could gain another 58 feet.

While the new building dwarfs the smaller structure in scale, many cities have tall buildings adjoining historical structures.

“I hope people recognize that we’re a city,” Viveiros said. “There are examples of this all over the place.”

The plans submitted to the city indicate the building would have commercial or public uses on the ground level, with 227 apartments above. The 15th floor would be a rooftop lounge, according to the initial design.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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