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#Reason for Demolition
A proposed new 32-story condo tower proposal called the One Ten Westminster was proposed for this site and caused quite a hub-bub. The full news story is below.
The condo tower was never built. Fifteen years later (in 2020), a parking lot is the only thing at this location aside from the stabilized (but deteriorating) facade of the 1940s bank extension at 50 Weybosset Street.
Jason Allard produced a video about the remaining bank façade on YouTube called “Abandoned Providence National Bank Façade” in June of 2021.
The building had been officially determined a contributing structure to the architectural and historical significance of the Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building at 90 Westminster arguably would have been eligible for National Register listing on its own merits. It was significant because of its quality as an example of a Georgian Revival commercial architecture of the early 20th century, and the fact that it was built to be the headquarters of Rhode Island’s oldest bank.
Two blocks on the second story had two dates carved: 1791 and 1929. 1929 was the date the building was constructed while 1791 most likely denotes the incorporation of the Providence National Bank Company. At the time that it was built (1929), it was noted for its expansive use of glass. Later, in 1937, it was called one of the best modern commercial buildings in the state. In 2005 it was demolished for the 110 Westminster project, which was never built.
From the National Register nomination form for the Downtown Providence Historic District, prepared by William McKenzie Woodward, Principal Historic Preservation Planner, 1984
100 Westminster Providence National Bank Building (1929, 1950): Howe & Church, architects. Colonial Revival; 3-story, brick-sheathed, structure with flank-gable roof on Westminster façade and flat roof on Weybosset elevation; irregular plan. Westminster façade — three bays with arcaded first story below stone string course; serlian-motif window in center of second story flanked by simple rectangular windows; dentil cornice; three dormers with triangular and segmental-arch pediments, paneled balustrade at crest of roof. Weybosset elevation — five bays with projecting center pavilion; arcaded first story; quoined corners and rectangular windows with splayed keystone lintels on second and third stories; broad entablature; gable end with oval window on center pavilion flanked by balustrade with urns.
Built to house the Providence National Bank, formed by the 1920 merger of the Providence Bank and the Merchants National Bank, the building replaced the Lyceum Building (1858). Through corporate mergers, it developed first to Union Trust Company and later to the Industrial National Bank (now Fleet Bank) following corporate mergers in the 1950s. The building now houses Fleet Bank’s Trust Department. Providence National Bank Building is a well designed small building that adds variety to the streetscape through its almost domestic scale; its form and detail evoke the early residential neighborhood in the area.
#In the News
32-Story Condo Tower Would Hold R.I.’S Highest Homes
A city ordinance preventing demolition is voided by a Superior Court judge.
By Gregory Smith Providence Journal | February 25, 2005
A joint venture of Providence and Boston developers plans to build a $90-million, luxury condominium tower on Westminster Street in the city’s business center. The 32-story tower would be the first skyscraper built in the Financial District in 20 years, since the Fleet Center opened across Westminster Street from the project site.
At 360 feet, the tower would be Rhode Island’s tallest residential structure, according to the developers. But it would not match other skyscrapers on Westminster Street. The Industrial National Bank Building is 420 feet tall, and One Financial Plaza (more widely known as the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust tower) reaches 408 feet.
The 130 new condos would sell for $500,000 to $2.5 million and would appeal to empty-nesters, young professionals, students, people associated with Brown University and RISD, and people from the Boston area.
The project would straddle the tapered end of a city block, behind the Turks Head Building, stretching from Westminster to Weybosset Street. It would feature a ground-floor grocery store and cafe on the Weybosset Street side, and the second through seventh floors would be parking levels, providing about 170 spaces.
Featuring a glassy, modern design, the tower announced yesterday would be connected to the nation’s oldest indoor shopping center, the Arcade (which dates to 1828), providing a new stream of customers for the lightly patronized commercial building.
But it would doom a Colonial Revival building at 90 Westminster St, put up in 1929, that historians consider integral to the Downtown Providence National Historic District. If the city gives permission, the developers would raze that building as well as another at 110 Westminster St. The building at 110 Westminster, which used to house a Buck-a-Book store, separates the parking lot from the Arcade.
The building at 90 Westminster was extended through to Weybosset Street in 1950, and at the city’s request the developers would save the neoclassical frontage on Weybosset to a depth of about 20 feet. That would serve as the front of the 7,500-square-foot grocery store and cafe.
Cicilline and the developers said the project, to be called One Ten Westminster, would be financed privately and not require any public subsidies. O’Marah said the developers hope to break ground this year and to complete construction by late 2007.
The building would contain about 390,000 square feet, with the condos ranging in size from 900 square feet to 3,500-plus square feet for two-story units. Its seventh floor would be dedicated to an 11,000-square-foot, outdoor garden, a fitness center and a residents’ lounge with a full kitchen.
“This will not be just another development, but a piece of notable architecture for Providence, a centerpiece the city can point to and be proud of,” Lloyd Granoff said. The Granoffs considered creating office space at the site, but opted for residential use because, Lloyd Granoff said, the market for first-class office space in Providence has been static for years.
Asked whether the changes planned for the Financial District represent its decline as an office center, Granoff said, “I wouldn’t use the word decline. After 5 o’clock it is totally dead. I think now you’re going to find a mixture [of uses] there. At night you’re going to have people walking around. And that’s a lot nicer thing.”
Lloyd Granoff, of Providence, is chairman of the Providence Public Buildings Authority. Evan Granoff, of Bristol, is chairman of the Downtown Providence District Management Authority. The authority is a new public agency that will oversee a special safety patrol and cleaning crew in Downcity and parts of the Financial and Jewelry districts.