According to the City, the Ward Baking Co. Building (the yellow brick corner building) was originally slated for demolition along with the rest of the complex, but action by the Historic District Commission helped encourage developers to find a solution that could potentially save the building. The building is now threatened by exposure since demolition of other portions of the complex.
The property is being developed by Commonwealth Ventures, who are also working on Davol Square. According to Jason Martin at the Planning Department, the intent of the developer is to build a mixed-used development that would reportedly house knowledge economy/medical office space, to be called “Victory Square” (I guess “Baking Pavillion” seemed too specific). The developers received a Tax Abatement from the City which has a set of milestones they have to meet. So far they have master plan approval from City Plan Commission (in February 2011), but according to the agreement, they need to receive preliminary plan approval from the CPC by July 18, 2012.
From the Feb 2011 report prepared for the City Plan Commission meeting:
The applicant is proposing to demolish portions of the existing building to build three separate structures of 7, 8 and 6 stories. [...] Development is expected to phased [sic] into three stages. Landscaping includes pocket parks and plantings along the periphery. Parking is proposed through a parking structure at full buildout but on surface lots in initial phases.
Included in this set of photos — and in the redevelopment parcel — is the former Gallery Nightclub. It looks obviously like a former car repair shop (probably a chain) but this has not been confirmed.
From PPS and the Industrial Sites amd Commercial Buildings Survey
It is a large, one- and two-story, brick, flat-roof complex comprised of the original block and numerous ells constructed between 1908 and 1956. The building is bound by Eddy Street, Globe Street, and Manchester Street (now known as Marengo Street). The building’s primary entrance is set within the chamfered corner of a two-story block which stands at the intersection of Eddy and Marengo streets. The entrance is flanked by single-light sidelights and set below several bands of brick corbelling. This two-story block and the one-story block attached to its west elevation were both part of the original building and appear on the 1908 Sanborn map. The two-story, blonde brick block features projecting brick piers between each bay topped with stone trim. Fenestration is comprised of rectangular openings with a combination of glass block and boarded up windows.
A one-story, rectangular, flat-roof ell to the west along Marengo Street was constructed in 1917 and appears on the 1918 map. This block features rectangular, regularly-spaced window openings and a row of four vehicular entrances along its north (Marengo Street) elevation. This block is identified as a loading shed on Sanborn maps. Attached to its west end is another one-story block constructed in 1946. A one-story, square, flat-roof structure was added to the south end of the complex (Globe Street) between 1918 and 1926. This block is identified as Ward’s Bakery Garage.
According to a combination of both maps and business directories the Ward Baking Company building was constructed between 1901 and 1908. Between 1908 and 1918 small additions used for storage were made to the rear of the building. By 1926, an addition was made to the Eddy Street side of the building, adding an additional 6,432 square feet. Between 1937 and 1956 a large section for storage was added to the rear of the building.
The Ward Baking Company remained at this location through to around 1976. The building was then left vacant through 1980. Retailer’s Food Center Wholesale took over the site between 1985 and 1988. Tara Manufacturing Co. and Ideal Rack Co. were also housed there around 1988; they shared the space with Wholesale Foods. By 1993 the building was once again left vacant. A sign on the building identifies its occupant as Victory Finishing Technologies.
albert barnds Mar 14 2015 I work at wards for 13 years. I did all jobs as a vacation relief end up as a head wrapper in all breads. it was the best job I ever had. I am 80 years old today a big hello to my fellow workers. Rest in peace ANGELO MILETTA.
Alan Mackiewicz Jul 8 2013 I worked there as a maintenance mechanic for Ward Baking for about three years until the bakery ceased operations. Actually I worked there after operations ceased until the bakery equipment was removed and the building turned over to the new owners. The tanks in the basement contained liquid sugar and lard and were kept heated. It was a spooky place at night when it was empty and there were a few break-ins. We had to keep a Stationary Engineer on duty twenty-four hours as long as the boiler was in operation, mostly for heat after baking ceased. It was a good operation worked by a great bunch of hard working guys and it was one of my better bakery jobs. I worked at the old Bond Bakery, one in Central Falls and Wonder in Natick, Mass. John Senecal, the maint super and I worked the last shift together and turned over the building. I can still picture the guys and the layout of the interior, remember the sounds and smells. It was a solid building and I hope it didn't go down easily.
Jim Miletta Feb 18 2013 My father had worked there up until 1970. At that time it was the headquarters for baking and distributing of the old Tip Top bread. I had made frequent visits in th 70s. Sad to see it go.
Noman Aug 23 2012 I went in there a little while ago. Not much to see. The upper floor has a bunch of industrial type stuff, some weird chemicals. The basement is pretty creepy, and had what I imagine was an old chemical room.
Marc Berman Mar 13 2010 What’s goin’ on with the sign lettering anyway? Was the person who installed them cross-eyed? I can’t imagine how they would be attached to the building in such a way as to allow that much movement? Oh well.
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