For an ongoing forum on the development of this building (from Aug 2003 till now) visit the UrbanPlanet thread.
From the Providence Journal:
The Downtown Design Review Committee unanimously approved a series of requests Monday that officially cleared the way for the Procaccianti Group Inc. to start tearing down the old John E. Fogarty Building on Fountain Street, possibly within three months.
The planned hotel would be one of Marriott International Inc.'s Residence Inn extended-stay units, architect Harry Wheeler of Group 1 Partnership in Boston told the committee. It would have 154 rooms, each with a kitchenette. Wheeler said the most recent trends at Marriott's reservations system show visitors booking stays for between four and six days.
The nearly 50-year-old Fogarty building is one of downtown’s most striking examples of the post-war Brutalist style of architecture. Formerly owned by the city, it has been vacant for more than a decade and has been the target of significant vandalism. Residents and business people in the area have repeatedly claimed its only apparent purpose in recent years has been to attract undesirable people to the neighborhood, especially after dark.
Vincent Mesolella, chairman of the Narragansett Bay Commission and a former state representative, has proposed building a $57-million hotel on the Fountain Street site. The 13-story, all-suites hotel would have a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness center. (Ed: Mesolella, as we understand it, also owns the former Police Station site, and built the new Public Safety Complex in a no-bid contract with the department)
The existing vacant building would be razed to make way for a 250-room all-suites hotel on Sabin Street across from the Rhode Island Convention Center. The hotel would be connected to the Convention Center by a footbridge and would have dedicated parking for 240 cars in the Convention Center garage. The authority would prefer to have more rooms and amenities to suit its convention-goers, and to have as close an association with the hotel as possible in order to get guaranteed blocks of rooms at the times and the prices it would like.
At the building’s 1998 assessed value of $5.9 million, the annual tax bill would be $196,300, according to the city tax assessor’s office. If Mesolella’s hotel project were brought to fruition, he would also pay a personal property tax, which would generate an estimated $199,600 a year for the city.
Last year, Governor Carcieri vetoed the General Assembly’s attempt to grant Mesolella $20 million in tax credits to help finance the hotel. Mesolella says he is still going forward with the project, however, and may seek financing through the Procaccianti Group, which is developing a second tower at The Westin Providence hotel and has plans to reconstruct the nearby Holiday Inn Downtown.
Mesolella said last week that he is on track to meet the guidelines set by the Providence Redevelopment Agency. His agreement with the agency requires him to purchase the Fogarty building by June 30, and to begin construction within 120 days of the closing. (Ed: What is the status, then, since it is obvious no construction has been done?)
Mesolella will need demolition approval from the city Historic District Commission, design approval of the hotel building from the Downcity District Design Review Committee, and a waiver of the building height limit from the Zoning Board of Review. The building would be about 5 feet taller than the maximum allowed by the city zoning code, according to architect Duncan Pendlebury.
The Redevelopment Agency owns the Fogarty Building, having bought it from the city in the financial preparations that were made for the construction of the Public Safety Complex. There was a package deal between Mesolella and Cianci in which Mesolella and a partner agreed to build the Public Safety Complex and a luxury hotel on the site of what was then the police-fire headquarters at LaSalle Square.
The Fogarty Building is valued at $2,965,570 and the land at $1,353,630, for a total of $4,319,200, according to the company revaluing Providence’s real estate.
One of several government buildings constructed in Providence in the 1960s and 70s, the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building was designed by Castellucci, Galli, & Planka architects in 1968 to house the state welfare office (now Rhode Island Department of Human Services), which remained in the building until 1999. Since then, the building and site have been proposed for various forms of redevelopment, from a sports museum to a temporary home for the police department to a hotel. It was occupied for a period by a middle school while a new structure was being constructed. — from Brown University’s Library collection
Jeffrey Allcock Apr 7 2016 I never had any experience of this building when it was in use (thank god) but I used to work next door when it was vacant, and it was a good place to smoke a j and even take a piss if you had to. I’ve sort of grown fond of it since, despite or maybe because of its defiant ugliness: it’s certainly like no other building downtown. I think I’ll be sad to see it go, especially if it’s replaced by another Lego-style hotel like the Westin.
john Mar 6 2011 This building used to facilitate the “state wellfare office” growing up pretty poor, me and many i know can remember spending many grueling hours in early 80’s sitting/playing in multicolored plastic chairs in a vast waiting room. Back when food stamps were actual paper money lol.
Cotuit (Ed. note: This property previously languished in our RIP section) It may be a bit premature to label this one a RIP, though not too many tears may be shed if it were to come down. TPGs latest proposal for the building calls for glassing in the ground floor arcade and attracting restaurant/retail on the ground floor with offices above. There is a *chance* that they may add more floors to the building, the structure apparently can support it. The building has been dubbed OneEleven Fountain.
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