Pilgrim Lofts former Lawton Moving & Storage, Pilgrim Congregational Church


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Residential project rehabilitates once majestic church in Providence’s West End

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Below is old news... the latest news seems to be encapsulated in the latest anecdote below.

Community groups lose bid to block Armory condo plan

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 | Providence Journal
By Daniel Barbarisi

A local development partnership has received the key zoning variance it needs to go forward with a condo project in the Armory District, over the opposition of the local neighborhood association, the area’s councilman and the Providence Preservation Society.

Developers Bernie Guttin and Nathan Lindenfeld want to renovate the four-story Lawton Family Realty warehouse at 19-21 Harrison St. into 20 residential condominiums, ranging in size from 960 to 1,125 square feet and selling for between $225,000 and $260,000.

But the lot only has four parking spaces, requiring the developers to ask for a zoning variance to get around city parking requirements, and forcing them to look for alternate parking spots. So the developer has made a deal with the New Covenant church across the street to lease 10 spaces, and has an agreement to purchase the U.S. Gas property on the corner of Westminster and Dexter streets, roughly two blocks away from the proposed condos. The surface lot at the U.S. Gas station would be used for parking and the building on the site converted to offices for the management company.

Generally, however, neighbors have been supportive of the reuse of the building, assuming the parking situation could be solved.

“I think it’s great that they’re interested in reusing the building. What concerns me is the parking,” said Jack Gold, executive director of the Providence Preservation Society. City Councilman John J. Lombardi, who represents the area, also voiced his concern about the parking problem in a letter to the Zoning Board.

But the solution that the developers came up with raised new problems for the neighborhood groups. “The largest concern we have is with the U.S. Gas site,” said Kari Lang, executive director of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association. The site, she said, had been earmarked in neighborhood plans as a perfect spot for mixed-use development. “Now, it’ll be stuck for years and years as a parking lot,” she said.

Members of the Zoning Board acknowledged that the solution wasn’t perfect, but said that it’s still an improvement. The board voted to approve the variance by a 4-to-1vote.

With the variance in hand, Guttin said he expects the project to start in July, and finish early in 2008, perhaps in February.


From ProvPlan.org/PPS: It is a large, brick, Late Victorian church building notable for its elaborate decoration, including brick corbelling, engaged columns, round-arch openings, projecting brick piers, and brownstone trim. The building was originally constructed for a church and was later used as a furniture warehouse. Entrances are located within recessed openings at both the north and south bays of the façade (east). The southernen trance features paired, paneled wood doors set within a recessed, round-arch opening articulated with brick corbelling, delicate, engaged columns, and stone trim. The northern entrance features the same articulation but has been altered for use by vehicles; it now contains a large, roll-top vehicular door. Fenestration consists of narrow, round-arch openings now filled in with brick or concrete block; original trim remains. Two, one-story, flat-roof, concrete block additions project from the building’s rear elevation.

According to an RIHPHC data sheet for the property, the Pilgrim Congregational Church was constructed in 1866. Maps from 1875, 1882, 1895, and 1918 identify the structure as Pilgrim Congregational Church. According to assessor’s records, ownership of the building was transferred to James A. Foster in 1918. Historic maps show that two additions were made to the rear and Powhattan Street sides of the building during this time. The property was acquired by Herbert Schofield in 1936.Schofield is identified on the 1937 map as the building’s occupant.By 1949 the property was occupied by Furne, a furniture store, andHarrison Furniture. Around 1956 another addition was made to the Powhattan Street side of the building. The building currently houses the Lawton Moving and Storage Company.

Claire Feb 12 2018 The church is in the process of being renovated into residential units called Pilgrim Lofts — pilgrimlofts.com

current owner Jun 25 2009 The above project has been dissolved, and the building sold. The current plan is a smaller number of units, less than 10. To update the history above, hand-written documents from the Pilgrim Congregational Church written in the 1800s show that the cornerstone was laid in August 1873, and the church dedicated (I assume completed) on November 20, 1874. The year mentioned above, 1866 was the year a committee was formed to explore the building of a church.

tawana that building would be useful, for many other things than more condos that aren’t and needed parking spaces that aren’t available. How about affordable housing? How about just getting a profitable business inside?

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