Edge College Hill Two design wins initial approval

THE DESIGN approved conceptually by the Downtown Design Review Committee features 11 stories at the highest point, five stories on North Water Street and three stories on the corner parcel. / COURTESY DBVW Architects.
THE DESIGN approved conceptually by the Downtown Design Review Committee features 11 stories at the highest point, five stories on North Water Street and three stories on the corner parcel. / COURTESY DBVW Architects.

PROVIDENCE — With a design that reflected reduced height and other concessions to unhappy neighbors, the Edge College Hill Two building won a conceptual approval Monday from the city’s Downtown Design Review Committee.

The project to place an apartment building over an existing L-shaped parking lot at the base of College Hill will now come in a structure with three section heights, at 11, five and three stories.

The project is located at 131 Canal St., between Canal and North Main streets, and will become a second development to Edge College Hill apartments, now under construction.

Initially introduced in December 2017 with a top height of 15 stories, the project went through a series of revisions over the past several months.

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Initially, many neighbors on College Hill who spoke at public meetings were opposed to the size of the new building. By Monday, with a reduced size, most in the committee’s audience were in favor of the project.

The latest revision would take the building facing North Main Street down to a level of five stories, rather than seven.

It wasn’t clear Monday how many apartments would be contained in the project. Initially, 227 apartments were proposed, to be marketed to students attending universities in Providence.

Committee members said they liked the way the buildings appeared, and said they appreciated that the project developer, Vision Properties, was willing to reduce the size of the building.

“I like the scale of this,” said Clark Schoettle, a committee member.

Some changes that committee members said they still wanted to see made included extending more glass walls on the street-level retail building facing North Main Street. Some residents of Providence remain opposed. Grant Dulgarian told the committee the city’s Historic District Commission should have had authority over the project. And he said the downtown zoning — which allowed construction of a nine-story building on that site, without the height bonus afforded by including street-level retail — should never have been extended across the river.

“The land between North Main Street and Canal Street should reflect the eastern side of North Main Street,” he said, referring to the scale of the residential area of the East Side.

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