Coro Company Building

also known as Cohn & Rosenburger Jewelry

Once the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry, this building was vacant in the 80s but then revived by Lifespan as their corporate headquarters

About this Property

#Redevelopment

The Coro Building is a 270,000-square-foot, multi-wing Art-Deco style commercial building built for the Cohn & Rosenburger (hence, CoRo) jewelry firm right before the great depression and the stock market crash of 1929. The firm survived and thrived, expanding with a four story wing in 1947. The company continued to thrive, expanding with factory locations in Olneyville and Bristol, Canada, and England at it height in the 1960s and early 70s. In the late 60s, just around the time that the interstate highways cut through the city, the Coro building was attached to the former Phenix Iron Foundry as additional warehouse space. By 1979, however, fortunes had changed and manufacturing was closed by its parent company.

The building was vacant at the time of its photo and inclusion in the Jewelry Historic District nomination of 1985. The Lifespan non-profit hospital group purchased and renovated the building in the late 80s/early 90s. In a similar timeframe, Brown University redeveloped the former Phenix Iron Foundry building for medical-related use. Between 1988 and 1997, a large eight-story parking garage was built for Lifespan employees.

#Current Events

Not far from the Eddy Street hospital campuses across the highway — Rhode Island and Hasbro Hospitals — the Coro Building houses the majority of the research laboratories in the Lifespan system as well as Lifespan’s administrative offices. The Coro Building also includes an outpatient clinical research unit that includes five examination rooms in a close partnership with the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.1

#History

From the Providence Jewelry District National Register nomination form, 1985

Frank S. Perry, architect. This is a 3-story, flat-roof, U-shaped, reinforced-concrete building with pier and panel exterior walls. The panels are filled with large banks of industrial sash windows, with bands of beige brick beneath. The piers rise up to a low parapet that is trimmed with a moderate amount of Art Deco styling. The main entrance is in the center of the south facade, recessed between two projecting wings. A large aluminum-sheathed marquee shelters the doorway; the legend, “CORO BUILDING 1929”, adorns the wall above; and the parapet swells in an ogee arch at the roofline. Unlike the other factories in the district, the Coro Building has a front lawn planted with trees and shrubs and enclosed by an iron fence. The original contractor, the Edward Sturgeon Company, built a 4-story wing in a similar style (without the parapet!, on the western end of the building in 1946-47.

From the RIHPHC’s survey of Providence Industrial Sites, July 1981

167 Point Street, The Coro Company, which started as the Cohn & Rosenburger jewelry firm located in New York City, formed a Providence branch in 1911 at Abbott Park Place. Having outgrown its rented quarters, the Coro company commissioned Frank S. Perry to design a new building which was dedicated in 1929. The Coro building is a 3-story, U-shaped structure with a flat roof and a decorated parapet. Other features include a reinforced-concrete frame and a glass curtain wall. In 1947 the Edward Sturgeon Company (which was the contractor for the main building) constructed an addition to the west side of the factory. According to the Providence Journal, The Coro Company was the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry in the 1950s and 1960s. By 1964 Coro Inc. operated three branch plants in Providence, Olneyville, and Bristol. Two subsidiary companies were located in Canada and England. By 1970 the Coro Company had bought several other firms. The same year the Coro Company became a subsidiary of Richton International Corporation. In 1979 Richton International closed its Point Street factory; the Coro building is currently vacant.

  1. Information captured from a PDF snippet of a larger story about Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan, dated April 2014, at http://www.rimed.org/rimedicaljournal/2014/04/2014-04-47-news-porter-lifespan.pdf