U. gets 90 offers for cheap Angell St. houses

Monday, January 26, 2009

Correction appended.

It’s not surprising that the University received 90 inquiries about the sale of two historic houses it owns on Angell Street. After all, the University was offering them for just $10 each.

The two houses, located at 127 and 129 Angell St., are being relocated to clear the way for the Mind Brain Behavior Building as part of the Plan for Academic Enrichment. The University announced in October that it would sell the houses for $10 apiece as long as the buyers relocated them, though it would provide up to $1 million to defray the moving costs.

Ninety parties inquired about the discounted properties, nine of whom returned applications, Michael McCormick, assistant vice president of planning, design and construction, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. Five of the proposed sites are on the city’s East Side and therefore the most feasible, he wrote.

University administrators reviewed the proposals internally and then shared them with members of the Providence Preservation Society, Providence Historic District Commission, Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Providence Department of Planning and Development and the City Forester, McCormick wrote.

“At this point, we have identified preferences and are working with those applicants to be sure that they have an appropriate site, that they will be able to execute the move and that they are willing to preserve the properties,” he wrote.

The timing of the relocations will depend on fund raising and “our ability to clear all of the hurdles that are inherent in this type of arrangement,” McCormick wrote.

The single-family house at 129 Angell ‘can be moved in one piece, making it easier and less expensive to move,” McCormick wrote. The smaller size will translate into fewer renovations needed after the move. Though only 3 of the 9 proposals were made regarding the larger house at 127 Angell, McCormick wrote that he is “confident that it will be moved.” Moving the larger house will be more complicated, requiring it to be cut into multiple pieces to maneuver through the roads and around trees.

The Herald reported in October that administrators wanted to “preserve the historic integrity” of the College Hill neighborhood and had therefore decided to move the houses, which were built in the middle of the 19th century, rather than demolish them.

The houses were most recently used as housing for graduate and medical students, but are now vacant. Moving the houses will require the buildings to be disconnected from their utilities, lifted from their foundations to wheels, and moved with hydraulic jacks.

A photo that accompanied an article in last Friday’s Herald (“U. gets 90 offers for cheap Angell St. houses,” Jan. 23) was incorrectly attributed to Eunice Hong ’11. The photo was taken by Kim Perley ’10. Due to an editing error in the same article, the headline incorrectly stated that 90 offers were received for the properties. In fact, 90 inquiries were received and nine serious offers were made.

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