Westminster Street, #1577

also known as Shop Work Eat Live Local (SWELL)

A WBNA project house built on the site of a former auto body business along bustling Westminster Street

About this Property


In 2004, West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) purchased a vacant and blighted property at 1577 Westminster. The site of a former auto body shop was set to become new residential construction with ground floor retail.

A design competition was held for the site where architects were asked to design a building that would serve as a model of sustainable green architecture with retail and affordable housing spaces. Guidelines included adherence to the West Side Overlay District, a Providence Zoning Ordinance that was jointly created between the WBNA and the Providence Planning and Development Department. The ordinance stipulates “that existing and future development contributes to a continuous and active street that addresses the contextual, human-scale, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly […] needs of the neighborhood and encourages neighborhood-oriented economic development.”

Three proposals were presented during the 2005 WBNA Annual Meeting. Neighbors gave input by voting for their preference. These votes, combined with a jury comprised of local neighbors, architects and CDC members, selected the winning design from KITE Architects.

The project stalled for two years due to funding and the real estate collapse of 2008. Construction finally began in 2010. Seven affordable assisted residential rental units were created along with a single retail space which has since been divided into two.

Fuller history and project write up available on the WBNA website.

Design Reception

We like this building and its modern nod to a mansard roof. The design of that detail feels like a smart graphic illustration of an idea come to life. While it is more modern and it does still stand out on the street because of its color components, elements of the street level storefront and basic massing fit right into an area of Westminster full of triple deckers.