For future’s sake, City Council must approve Hope Point Tower

Nearly a month ago, more than four out of five respondents to a poll said that the Fane Organization’s Hope Point Tower should be built.

On Nov. 8 the Providence City Council’s Ordinance Committee agreed, recommending that the full council approve a variance to the zoning in the I-195 Redevelopment District that would allow the more than $300 million, 46-story residential tower to be completed.

The recommendation to approve sets up a series of City Council meetings at which advocates for and against the project will face off.

One argument against the tower is that its height, up to 600 feet based on the Fane Organization’s variance request, is out of character with the city, as well as well beyond the current 100-foot limit. To which we say, that’s the problem.

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Providence has a jealously guarded reputation for preservation, and it is one of its many assets. But it can also be a hindrance.

PBN has reported for years that the many – and often conflicting – steps developers must take in order to bring projects to completion can be a stumbling block to building here. The Fane proposal is yet another example of the bureaucratic twists and turns that happen all the time.

But in this case, it is more than that. Some in Providence seem to think that the past is the future. And so long as that attitude prevails, the city and the state will not be able to move forward.

So, yes, approve the Fane project. But also take a longer look at the city’s resistance to joining the 21st century. Its leaders might find that the future and the past can coexist.