Regal Plating

A simple mid-century industrial building used for jewelry industry purposes over the past 50 years razed in 2011 for speculative purposes

About this Property

Reason for Demolition

The buildings came down in March, 2011. They were not under Industrial Commercial Buildings District (ICBD) protection, or any other, for that matter. The owner applied for all the necessary permits and were granted them. It was believed that Brown University was behind this occurrence, but nothing ever came of that rumor. The owner’s – G + K Realty Co, 85 South Street – are land-banking the property until the “Knowledge District” makes the land more valuable. Then who knows. Maybe it is the owner’s intent to sell it to Brown at a premium once the land is cleaned up and remediated.

Unfortunately, a familiar story happened – there are only plans for a surface parking lot and a “hole” in the streetscape for the time being. As the former building and land under it soaked up plating chemicals for the past 80+ years, there must have been some serious underground contamination issues to be dealt with (and a parking lot is the cheapest way to encapsulate it). The plating process is very toxic, and the Regal Plating company had been doing it for at least 50 years. A new owner might have to foot the bill for proper remediation, we are not sure.

The owner of the property sent ArtInRuins the real estate overview as a PDF. The asking price in 2011 was $3.2 million. Loopnet had a listing for this property as early as 2007.

We love, love, loved the gothic font on that sign. Very nice example of 1950’s industrial lettering.

Current Events

The site, sadly, nearly 15 years later, is still a parking lot. The URL that was on the sales flyer PDF is no longer in service. We have not done any research into whether or not the land was sold between now and 2011.


Some records show that the Regal Plating Company was established in 1948 and employed up to 43 people. Their activities were Metal Finishing, Plating, Metal Polishing, Metalworking, Gold Plating, Silver Plating, Gold & Silver Plating, Metal, Polishing, Finishing, and Buffing.

The building was not listed as a contributing structure in the “Providence Jewelry Manufacturing Historic District” nomination form, 1985.


  • 1920–1951 Sanborn Insurance Map (page 24) — At the northwest corner of South and Chestnut Streets are two wooden structures. Number 85 is a two-story dwelling, while 81–83 is a two-story Jewelry Manufacturing building.
  • 1920–1955 Sanborn Insurance Map (page 14) — Same corner, there is now a concrete block building that has replaced those two previous wooden structures. The building is two-story and occupies the entire plat from boundary edge to boundary edge.