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About this Property
In 2000 design ideas for this parcel has started to float around. Right alongside the State capitol, any idea that proposed a high rise came under scrutiny — would it detract from the state house? Would views from Benefit Street and College Hill be ruined?
A chunky high-rise project was proposed in late 2000 with architects Jung Brennan and construction manager Emporis called “10 Park Row.” It would have been a 24-story luxury residential tower with 190 units including a 340-car parking garage. The project never moved forward, mostly because of the dip in the real estate market at the end of 2001. Citizens Bank building owners also opposed the plan.
Another idea in 2003 consisted of three high-rises and two lower-level apartment buildings proposed by R.S. Roth, Inc. of Brookline, MA.1 The developer planned to extend the 20-foot-wide Riverwalk from its current terminus at One Citizens Plaza northward to Smith Street about 1,000 feet along the Moshassuck River. The Capital Center Commission approved waivers of its design standards to allow the buildings to be taller at some points than generally permitted.
An initial plan showed an above-ground parking deck butting up against the Riverwalk, with the apartments oriented to the interior of the project site. At the insistence of the committee, however, which wants to maintain Providence as a walkable city, project designers reworked the buildings into a series of townhouses with front stoops on the Riverwalk. The roofs were reworked to be broken up into smaller masses and hide the mechanicals to appease East Siders along College Hill who complained about obstruction of their views.
255 apartments will be part of the $35–40-million first phase of Capitol Cove. The buildings sit atop a two-level parking deck with 360 spaces.2
The design changed a few times over the course of project planning. At one point, Stillman Street (between the Avalon Complex and the parking lots behind Citizens) was supposed to be extended though Parcel 6 to Canal Street, splitting the parcel in two. There were going to be two phases to this project, with phase 2 being a residential tower. That never happened. At one point, the design team changed as well. The architectural firm of Elkus Manfredi was originally chosen and mentioned in news stories, but another firm shows the project on their website. Maybe the firm split into two?
Construction took a long time, mostly because the design changed after ground was broken. Construction costs increased or were higher than expected by the developer, and changes were made early in the construction process.
The developer thought that these units were “mid-range” at the time:
The Capitol Cove developers believe their project will attract a different consumer. “We are in a different market, more competitive, lower-rise units,” [Doug] Weeks said. “We feel as though we will be able to bring them in cheaper.” The apartments will range from 800 to 1,200 square feet and rent for $1,700 to $2,700 a month3
People we knew at the time thought that was actually the high-end, right on par with other “luxury” developments at the time. The project did have a hard time filling up at first, until Johnson and Wales agreed to rent many of the units for their students.
The design to our eyes is not great. As can be seen in our last photo, the materials have not aged well — or the student residents are very hard on it. The building has many changes in material and surface to break up the mass of it. We’re not a huge fan of this style, if it can be called that, but we are a big believer in density and its much better than a parking lot.
#In the News
A few years after the project’s completion, it was purchased by Johnson & Wales to be used as student dormitories. From Providence Business News, September 4, 2012:
Johnson & Wales University has signed a new 10-year lease for One Park Row West, the former Capitol Cove condominium complex on the banks of the Moshassuck River the school has used as a student dormitory since 2009.
“Apartment Plans Under Review”, Laura Ricketson, Providence Business News, November 14, 2003. Excerpted from UrbanPlanet.com, captured October 31, 2020. https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/1217-in-progress-capitol-cove/ ↩
“Upscale apartments planned at College Hill”, Gregory Smith, Providence Journal, November 14, 2003. Originally from http://www.projo.com/metro/content/projo_20031114_parcel6.24a045.html. Excerpted from UrbanPlanet.com, captured October 31, 2020. https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/1217-in-progress-capitol-cove/ ↩
“Capital Center Development: Another Sign Of The Building Boom”, Cathleen F. Crowley, Providence Journal, June 15, 2005. Original URL not archived. ↩