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Developer Proposes 59 Apartments on Federal Hill: A Modern Urban Transformation

CEO Khai Intela
By Wheeler Cowperthwaite The Federal Hill neighborhood in Providence is abuzz with excitement as a developer plans to bring new life to the area. Kevin Diamond, principal of Providence Architecture and Building Co., has received...

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite

The Federal Hill neighborhood in Providence is abuzz with excitement as a developer plans to bring new life to the area. Kevin Diamond, principal of Providence Architecture and Building Co., has received the green light to add 59 apartments across three buildings. This major development is set to transform parking lots and vacant lots into a vibrant community.

Rezoning for a Bright Future

Diamond presented requests to rezone three lots - 20 America St., 64 America St., and 125 Tobey St. - from R-3 to R-4. This change would allow for more floors and units, maximizing the potential of these spaces. The City Plan Commission has recommended approving the rezoning with one condition: no short-term rentals.

Bridging the Gap: The Missing Middle

The proposed development aims to fill a gap in the housing market. Diamond and developer Dustin Dezube envision a "missing-middle" style of development, which strikes a balance between small multi-family buildings and large apartment complexes. These buildings offer higher density while retaining an approachable scale.

"These buildings chip away at the scarcity of units much quicker than a three-family house," says Dezube. The Providence Architecture and Building Co. has a total of 750 housing units in the pipeline, further revitalizing the city.

Where and What to Expect

20 America St.: Modern Luxury

One of the buildings will replace a parking lot on America Street. This 4-story apartment building will feature large windows on the first three floors and a recessed fourth floor reminiscent of a mansard roof. With 19 units, including studios and one- to two-bedroom apartments, this modern design aims to complement the surrounding neighborhood.

This proposed apartment building would replace a parking lot at 20 America St., off Atwells Avenue in Providence. This proposed apartment building would replace a parking lot at 20 America St., off Atwells Avenue in Providence.

64 America St.: A Blend of Classic and Contemporary

At 64 America St., a vacant lot will be transformed into a 26-unit, 4-story apartment building. Bay windows on either side of the building pay homage to classic architectural styles found in the neighborhood. The design seamlessly integrates modern elements while respecting the Queen Anne and Second Empire styles prevalent in the area.

This rendering shows a proposed apartment building at 64 America St. This rendering shows a proposed apartment building at 64 America St.

125 Tobey St.: A Low-Slung Gem

The smallest of the three buildings, 125 Tobey St., will feature a low-slung, three-story apartment building with 14 units. Designed to complement the neighborhood, the building will have a recessed third floor with balcony access. This thoughtfully planned development creates a small-scale urban infill, ensuring it harmonizes with the existing landscape.

This apartment complex is proposed for 125 Tobey St. on Federal Hill in Providence. This apartment complex is proposed for 125 Tobey St. on Federal Hill in Providence.

A Vision for the Future

The proposed projects pave the way for a new era in urban living. With a keen eye for detail, Diamond has designed these apartments to optimize space, creating functional and stylish living environments. The development is set to not only provide housing but also activate the area, making it a catalyst for growth and community engagement.

Parking: An Innovative Approach

Interestingly, none of these projects require on-site parking, as they fall below the 10,000 square feet threshold. However, two of the proposals will provide shared parking with existing buildings on the lots. This forward-thinking approach encourages walkability and reduces the reliance on cars.

Timeline and Approval Process

The next step for the project is approval from the City Council for the new zoning. If all goes well, plans will take approximately two years to be delivered. This includes the approval process, obtaining building permits, and finally constructing the buildings.

"It's probably two years to delivery from whenever we get the zone change," notes Dezube.

Upholding the Values

During the City Plan Commission meeting, concerns were raised regarding potential short-term rentals. Diamond assured the commission that short-term rentals were not part of the plan. To address this concern, the commission recommended a ban on short-term rentals in the R-4 zone for the three proposed lots, reinforcing the aim of creating a thriving residential community.

As this exciting development unfolds, the Federal Hill neighborhood eagerly awaits the transformation that will enhance the area's vibrancy and provide much-needed housing options. With a careful blend of modern and classic designs, these buildings will serve as beacons of progress, while still paying homage to the neighborhood's rich architectural heritage. The proposed development on Federal Hill is not just about buildings; it represents a vision for an inclusive and vibrant community.

Reach reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @WheelerReporter.

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