$7M Kennedy Plaza pavilion proposal puts poultry front and center

THE SINGLE proposal in response to a city solicitation for a food and drink pavilion and outdoor space in Kennedy Plaza features a fast-casual rotisserie chicken restaurant by the Dune Brothers owners. Pictured is a rendering of the area including the outdoor event and seating area. /COURTESY ARUP GROUP

PROVIDENCE – A fast-casual chicken joint named after the patron saint of poultry could be coming to Kennedy Plaza.

St. Gall Rotisserie, from the owners of Dune Brothers LLC, is the centerpiece of a pavilion and outdoor gathering space proposed by Boston architecture firm Merge Architects Inc. that was disclosed in response to a PBN public records request. Merge, which plans to partner with several Providence design and architecture firms, was the only company to respond to Providence’s public bid request, which closed on Sept. 29.

The city solicitation offered up to $8.2 million to design and build a food and drink pavilion in Kennedy Plaza, coupled with shaded outdoor seating, event space and landscape improvements. The project is one piece of the larger, $140 million vision to transform the Greater Kennedy Plaza area with pedestrian walkways, community gathering spaces and infrastructure improvements.

While Mayor Jorge O. Elorza has not identified funding sources to pay for most of his sweeping vision for Kennedy Plaza, the $8.2 million offered by the city to build the pavilion comes from federal stimulus dollars. Bidding documents calls for the design and construction of the “big shade” pavilion and seating space. Once built, the building and outdoor area are intended to pay for themselves using the money from food and beverage sales, rent and events, with one operator agreeing to oversee maintenance for at least four years.

- Advertisement -

As proposed by Merge, the team behind the downtown seafood shack Dune Brothers, would take over operations and maintenance of the area once built. That includes a fast-casual restaurant featuring free-range rotisserie chicken, fresh vegetable dishes, and drinks, open seven days a week for takeout or on-site dining, according to the proposal. 

The design, including a 4,000-square-foot building to house the restaurant and bathrooms and accompanying outdoor and event space, would be led by MERGE Architects. Design Under Sky, a Providence landscape architecture firm with work including the public art installation 10,000 Suns and the Roger Williams Park gateway, would be responsible for the 23,000 feet worth of landscape improvements and green infrastructure. 

Providence firm HB Design & Build, which worked on the Bayberry Beer Hall and Bayberry Garden, would oversee construction, according to the proposal.

The $7.2 million project estimate falls within the city’s budget, although the proposal points out that there is not a firm bid yet for the construction cost.

While the city and state are also working to move the bus depot from Kennedy Plaza to a new indoor bus hub at what is now a parking lot on Dorrance Street, the pavilion and outdoor seating area must work with the existing layout of bus berths and lanes, according to the city solicitation. The nonhistoric portion of the R.I. Public Transit Authority trolley building in Kennedy Plaza may be demolished as part of the future, second phase of work for the pavilion design.

The city anticipates awarding the bid in December, and beginning construction on the pavilion in 2024, with “substantial completion” by October 2024, according to the solicitation. RIPTA, which is overseeing plans to relocate the bus hub from Kennedy Plaza, expects to open a public bidding process this fall, choosing a development partner by the end of the year, according to spokeswoman Cristy Raposo Perry. 

Other elements of the Kennedy Plaza redesign, such as pedestrian walkways along East Approach and Washington Street, are already in design stages, with construction expected to begin next spring or summer, according to Tim Rondeau, a spokesperson for the Providence Planning Department. These improvements will require relocating two bus stops, but otherwise will not affect the bus depot in Kennedy Plaza.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

No posts to display