Where’s the market for Hope Point?

The proposed tower could set a new standard for luxury condos in Providence, but where will the buyers come from?

PUBLIC HEARING: A public hearing before the Downtown Design Review Committee in Providence on the proposal for the Hope Point tower by developer Jason Fane, president of The Fane Organization. From left, Fane; his sister Daria Fane, vice president of The Fane Organization; and their architect, Gianni Ria, director of design, IBI Group. In the foreground recommending denial of the project is City Councilman Seth Yurdin.
 / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
PUBLIC HEARING: A public hearing before the Downtown Design Review Committee in Providence on the proposal for the Hope Point tower by developer Jason Fane, president of The Fane Organization. From left, Fane; his sister Daria Fane, vice president of The Fane Organization; and their architect, Gianni Ria, director of design, IBI Group. In the foreground recommending denial of the project is City Councilman Seth Yurdin.
 / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
How high can the Hope Point tower climb? Its size has fueled doubters who say it won’t fit in, leading to extensive government review of…

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I really don’t understand why everyone is concerned if Fane is making a smart business decision or not. It’s not the job of the commissions to judge business viability. These are the same nimbys that went on and on about how the Providence Place Mall was stupid and should never be built and it would never make any money. Well it’s still operating and is still the hub of activity at the top of waterplace park. So let Fane build his tower and take the risk. 20 million in subsidies is nothing compared to what we are giving away to others.

    • I really don’t understand why we have to keep explaining to people like you that when large scale development projects fail there are significant costs that fall on communities and taxpayers. Look up the concept of externalities–I’m not going to force knowledge into a closed mind. And read this article: it makes the case clearly that the demand isn’t there. Do you live in Providence? Do you see the demand for over 400 $1M+ condos? No, you don’t. Btw, the mall, like malls everywhere, is dying a slow ugly death, so don’t use that as your example.

      • First, malls are not dying all over and those with challenges are reinventing themselves. Unlike the Swansea Mall and the Galleria you dwell on, Providence Place will not die but will change as needed. Obviously you don’t read that homes on the East Side, Barrington, Lincoln, Newport, Jamestown and the South Coast of Rhode island are now selling in the millions. This PBN edition states the sale of a $3.6 million dollar home in Charlestown. Newspapers constantly make news of it, probably because they most always list the realtor and these realtors are still paying big dollars for advertising. So where are these buyers of these over $1 million dollar homes coming from and does that point really matter? What does matter is that the high rise condo’s already in downtown Providence are sold out. The Jefferson is converting to condos because the market is there and no one complains to them about converting apartments to condos. This is a healthy sign for downtown Providence and new apts along either side of Canal Street are now selling well. A signature high rise in Providence is now needed and this new tower fills the bill and will also fill up as there are people out there who can afford this. those prices. Hopefully it will fill with people new to Providence.

        • This is wishful thinking and fantastical extrapolation from a tiny handful of data points–points which bear very little relation to the subject (the $1M+ buyer in Barrington has next to nothing in common with the purported buyer of these condos besides money). And, yes, malls everywhere are dying, shrinking, morphing into other uses as the model is out-dated and as the entire face of retail is changing. *And* you failed to address my central concern about the impact on the community if this project fails because, no, Fane and his investors are not the only ones with exposure here–anyone with a rudimentary understanding of economics would understand that. Lastly, I hate to break it to you, but that building in the picture is never getting built. It was never meant to be. There’s literally 0% chance the final product resembles that rending in any way whatsoever–Fane is playing a different game here and I don’t know what it is but I’m smart enough to know that he knows that building isn’t viable. Whole lot of fantasists in this state seem to be falling for it though.

  2. I agree. And the “naysayers” said the same thing about the Convention Center – it would fail and become a gambling Casino. Providence needs to change its mindset and jump into the 21st Century before it passes us by. And the residents of the Jewelry District need to step back. This is not about the Jewelry District. This is about the economic future and well-being of the entire city. And the comments of those in the jewelry district, including design, height and affordable housing are nothing more than rouses for their real concern, which is “not in my back yard”. If residents of the Jewelry district don’t want high rises and the hustle and bustle that goes with such buildings, they should have never moved into the downtown area. As for affordable housing, we have neighborhoods full of unused/abandoned housing stock that should be the focus of affordable housing efforts. Providence is a small city and the beauty is that these neighborhoods are an easy commute to downtown. Our city needs the economic opportunities afforded by the Hope Point project or, at the very least, the symbolic statement it would present that Providence is a city on the move! And Mayor Elorza needs to stop playing to special interest groups like the jewelry district and do what is right for all 180,000 residents of the city. In 1900, five of the largest industries in the world were headquartered in Providence, Providence was the 20th largest city in the United States an was among the 10 wealthiest cities in the country and Rhode Island had the highest per capita income in the country. That success did not come from the sort of lack of forward thinking naysayers we have opposing the Hope Point Tower. It is high time Providence and Rhode Island regain its former prominence. Naysayers, GET OUT OF THE WAY OF OUR FUTURE!

  3. This project fits right in with the commission’s mission – to build a vibrant economic base for the district (residential, commercial, innovation, education).

    The objectors are the same crowd of small town elites with the same old refrain of “too much, too big, too tall, too this, too that”. They have their huge park and $21 million bridge. End this.

    This is a $300 million investment in the city – there is NO reason to hold this up any further. Approve its design and let it move forward. Enough is enough of the obstruction.