PROVIDENCE – A developer who wants to build a second building of luxury apartments aimed at college students introduced a new design Monday to the Providence Downtown Design Review Committee that dramatically reduces the size of the structure and no longer requires the use of development rights transferred from an adjacent historical building.
The revised design for Edge College Hill Two would involve a building of 11 stories, about 40 feet shorter than the original design, according to attorney Zachary Darrow, who represents the developer, Vision Properties of Conshohocken, Pa.
The L-shaped apartment structure would wrap around the Congdon & Carpenter building, which is a series of three colonial-era buildings on Steeple Street, said architect Martha Werenfels, a principal at DBVW Architects. But the new design would pull the apartment building off the street at South Main Street to allow a view of the Congdon & Carpenter building coming down College Hill, Werenfels said.
Providence zoning allows a nine-story building on the site, which is now a parking lot. The plans seek a 20 percent bonus for development of two additional floors, which the developer is seeking through a waiver tied to a public use of the first floor. The design presented Monday has room for four retail tenants on that floor.
The remaining floors would include apartments ranging in size from studios to two bedrooms, generally under 525 square-feet, according to revised plans submitted to the city. It wasn’t clear how many apartments would be created. The original 15-story design involved 227 apartments.
The developer is now constructing another apartment building on an adjacent site, called Edge College Hill. The revised design for the second phase would have a lower height than the building now under construction. In addition, an alley will be created between the Congdon & Carpenter building and the new structure, to hide garbage bins and utility boxes. “It provides an opportunity to get all of the services behind the historic building, in an alley way,” Werenfels said. “So, none of the services are visible from a public right of way.”
Parking is not required under city zoning for downtown development. But committee members at the Downtown Design Review Committee meeting questioned why the developer didn’t include it. One member said the restaurants in the area would certainly have an impact because of the loss of the surface parking, and the absence of public parking associated with the project.
Darrow noted that the city does not require parking in residential structures downtown.
“We can’t design outside the code,” he said.
A public hearing on the project will be scheduled. The committee did not take any formal action Monday, other than to receive the new design.
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.