The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission was formed in 2011 after the relocation of over 26 acres of land formerly occupied by Interstate 195.
Developments have included a public park, hotels, apartments, stores, mixed-use projects and more. As several parcels of land continue to be developed, community members and business owners have expressed both excitement and concerns about the economic and neighborhood impacts of the ongoing projects, The Herald previously reported.
With significant development across the district, and in the broader Jewelry District neighborhood, The Herald mapped out the 21 parcels of District land, compiling proposal and construction updates from the last 12 years.
Four proposals for Parcel 1A were heard at the Commission’s Nov. 15 meeting, including one from The Providence Flea, which currently leases the space to operate its market on Sundays. At the meeting, Commission Chairman Marc Crisafulli said that Providence Flea will have space to continue operating regardless of which proposal is chosen.
According to I-195 District guidelines, proposals will require a waiver from the 25-foot Urban Coastal Greenway construction setback, alignment with the College Hill National Register Historic District and a commemoration of the former Coin, Patriot and Doubloon streets as well as unnamed riverfront gangways. No parking lots or garages will be permitted in the parcel.
Developers submitting proposals for Parcel 5, which also falls within the College Hill National Register Historic District, are encouraged by District guidelines to account for the area’s foot and bicycle traffic in their designs.
In 2018, three developers proposed projects that included Parcel 5. Post Road Residential proposed a luxury apartment building and retail space for Parcel 5 only, while Spencer Providence LLC proposed a combination of housing, retail, restaurants, a hotel and a grocery store across Parcels 2 and 5. Crown Holdings — a team under the Carpionato Group — proposed a wet lab, medical office space, upscale hotel, apartments, restaurants and a grocery space for Parcels 2, 5 and 6, which the Commission later deemed unviable.
Residential uses are not permitted on Parcel 27 and I-195 District guidelines recommend that proposals prioritize active ground floor uses, especially along Clifford Street.
Parcels 34, 35, 37 and 41 are four of the five parcels in the West Side Highway District, which allows the greatest density and aims to promote both pedestrian activity and commercial and economic development. Specific recommendations from I-195 District guidelines include the prioritization of active ground floor uses and designs that engage pedestrian activity, such as through landscaping and “pocket parks.”
All four parcels have minimum building heights of six stories and maximum heights of 345 feet. During the final phase of construction at South Street Landing, Parcel 34 was temporarily leased as a staging site and has since remained open for proposals.
On Parcel 42, a three-skyscraper project was proposed in 2016 by the Fane Organization and approved in 2019. Due to increased costs, the original design could not be built and a new design was presented to the Commission in January 2023. Following design concerns from Utile, a consultant for the Commission, the group presented design updates in February.
But in March, the Fane Organization announced that the proposed luxury building would not be constructed, citing “recent risk factors” outside the developer’s control. The parcel remains open for proposals.
Parcels under contract
Urbanica proposed a two-building, mixed-use development for Parcel 2, which received conceptual design approval in July. The design includes 130,900 square feet of residential space encompassing 171 units, along with 8,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Groundbreaking is anticipated to occur in 2024 following final design approval.
Developers D+P Real Estate and Truth Box first presented a design for a mixed-use development and corporate headquarters for Bank Rhode Island for Parcels 8 and 8A in June 2022. The design received concept plan approval in November 2022, though further design changes are needed before final approval. Groundbreaking is expected to occur in 2024.
Lot 2 of Parcel 9, which includes Phase 2 of the mixed-income housing development, was first proposed by developer Pennrose in September 2020 and received final design approval a year later 2021. Phase 2 received concept plan approval in November 2022 and final plan approval in January 2023. A groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 took place in July 2023. Phase 2 construction is slated to begin in 2024. The majority of residential units in both phases will be affordable housing units.
In April 2023, the University announced a newly proposed mixed-use development by CV Properties that would combine Parcels 14 and 15 with adjacent property owned by Brown. The three-phase project will include residential units and ground-floor retail space, with laboratory and commercial spaces to follow. Following a presentation to the Commission, design revisions and public comment, CV Properties was selected as the preferred developer in May 2023.
Parcels 22 and 25 consist of several different lots, with Point 225 and the Aloft Hotel being completed on Lots 1 and 2 in 2019 and 2021, respectively. The proposed life sciences building for Lot 3 received final design approval in January 2023, with Rhode Island State Health and the University being anchor tenants. Lots 4 and 5 are still under contract with no project details currently available.
Construction in Parcel 6 was completed in 2022 and includes the long-awaited Trader Joe’s — which opened in November 2022 — along with 61 mixed-income residential units and commercial space. The Den Wine & Spirits and SHADES Pier Optical have since opened in the retail spaces.
The Parcel 28 Emblem 125 development, which includes a 249-unit residential building and ground-floor retail space, was completed in 2022. The 92-unit Chestnut Commons also features residential units over retail space and was completed in 2020 on Parcel 30. Parcels 31 and 36 were combined to form Johnson and Wales University’s Bowen Center for Science and Innovation. Groundbreaking for the academic space took place in 2015 and construction was completed in 2017.
Rhea Rasquinha is a Metro Section Editor covering Development and Infrastructure and also serves as Co-Chief of Illustrations. She previously covered the College Hill, Fox Point & the Jewelry District and Brown & Beyond beats. Rhea is a junior from New York studying Biomedical Engineering and loves dark chocolate and penguins.