Images of this Property
19 images: Press to view larger or scroll sideways to see more. Contributions from Rhode Island Photograph Collection, Providence Public Library and Scott Lapham for AS220 and TRAC Builders
About this Property
There is a Then and Now photo pair for this property! View the Then & Now photos
The redevelopment of the former Dreyfus Hotel into affordable live/work spaces for artists has cemented AS220’s commitment to artists and the downtown. AS220’s Empire Street studios has artists spaces in more of a dormitory style, while the Dreyfus allows older or more established artists to live and work in their own private studio.
AS220 had been ready to revitalize another building in the downtown for a number of years. In 1997, AS220 proposed an extension of their Empire Street space into the Lederer-Packard Building on the corner of Washington and Empire. The proposal would have only added 6 studio units along with shared print and video production studios. The Dreyfus is a much larger investment into the community.
A ground-floor restaurant called Local 121 opened in 2007, occupying the former Dreyfus Bar as well as a ratskeller space. The restaurant lasted in the space for 10 years and decided to close in March of 2017. In October 2020, a new restaurant opened in the same space called The George, named after George Washington. We hope that it can sustain itself through these COVID-19 times.
The Dreyfus is now 14 live/work artist studios, 4 work studios, a print studio, and main office space for AS220. Rents for eleven of the fourteen studios are affordable and a resident’s income must not exceed a specified maximum. More information and floor plans at as220.org/livework-studios/dreyfus/
In 1975, Johnson & Wales University acquired the Dreyfus and converted it to dormitory space for between 40 and 50 students. The building was vacated by J&W in 2000.
From the National Register nomination form for the Downtown Providence Historic District, prepared by William McKenzie Woodward, Principal Historic Preservation Planner, 1984
119 Washington — Hotel Dreyfus ca 1890; 1917: Original architect unknown; William R. Walker and Son, architects for  renovation, 4-story brick-and-stone sheathing with a flat roof; rusticated brick first story; glazed terra-cotta frieze separating first and second stories; upper stories articulated by regularly spaced 3-story arches surrounding windows; decorative, glazed terra-cotta spandrels between windows; elaborate frieze below heavy bracketed cornice. A handsome paneled bar and restaurant remains on the ground floor.
The Hotel Dreyfus was a successful hotel with a popular cafe when it was completely remodeled in 1917 better to accommodate patrons in the growing theatre district, Unaltered since its 1917 remodeling, the Dreyfus is a handsome, vital part of the Washington Street streetscape.
#In the News
More about the former Local 121
Providence restaurant Local 121 to close in March
by Jack Perry
Providence Journal | February 17, 2017 (abridged)
Local 121, a downtown restaurant that’s specialized in serving food from local farms, is closing its doors after operating on Washington Street for a decade.
Owned and operated by Josh and Nancy Miller, the restaurant was the anchor tenant in AS220′s Dreyfus building at 121 Washington St., which AS220 bought and restored between 2005 and 2007, according to AS220, an artist-run nonprofit that supports and promotes the arts.
The Millers were quoted in the press release saying, “Our lease with AS220 expires in April, and pursuing another 10-year option would have us as restaurant owners and operators into our ’70s. We are not interested in doing that through this stage of our lives. We are committed to marketing this beautiful restaurant for sale as a turnkey operation, with the full cooperation and participation of AS220.
“We want to thank our staff and many patrons. We especially want to thank the many local farmers, fishermen and other local purveyors for helping us to pioneer the farm-to-table concept in Rhode Island.”
Josh Miller also owns Trinity Brewhouse in downtown Providence. Miller is a state senator for Rhode Island.
In 2010, the restaurant was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Culinary Cup award, given by the Culinary Institute of America, the National Restaurant Association, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, according to AS220. It was in recognition of their work “advocating for sustainable economic efforts in Providence by using locally produced food and beverages.”
Captured February 7, 2021 from https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20170217/providence-restaurant-local-121-to-close-in-march