We obtained a pre-publication copy of a rather interesting upcoming story in the Other Paper. Here's how it reads:
Struever Brothers to redevelop Providence City Hall
Cicilline hails move as part of heightened ‘trust dividend.’
BY KENT DANISH, JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
PROVIDENCE — Continuing a steady stream of development projects around town, officials with Struever Brothers Eccles & Rouse yesterday announced plans to redevelop Providence City Hall as a luxury condominium with a macrobiotic juice bar, a solar-powered indoor putting range, and a tram to the nearby Providence Place Mall.
Mayor Cicilline, pointing to more than $3 billion in development unfolding across town, said, “There is no greater trust dividend than a developer who is literally willing to invest in the city. By focusing its latest effort on what was once a troubled municipal building, Struever Brothers is raising its investment to a new level.”
Bill Struever, who joined the mayor in announcing the project, noted that it comes after another Struever Brothers’ project, as part of the moving forward of the Heritage Harbor Museum, will include a building, dubbed “the dynamo house,” at the former Narragansett Electric power plant on the Providence waterfront. “When it comes to a residence with power,” quipped Struever, “City Hall is right up there.”
Architectural Digest will be on hand to document highlights of the $60 million development project, including the historic preservation of the vaulted ceilings in the council chambers, scene of several memorable showdowns between the mayor and recalcitrant council members, the cozy crawl space where investigators once hoped to plant a bug for use against Buddy Cianci, the rich patina of Providence political grit encrusted in the walls of the structure, and original ribald graffiti etched on men’s room walls, purportedly by Buckles Melise.
Although critics questioned the privatization of a public building, Cicilline dismissed the concern, noting how the growth in the city’s tax base will more than make up for the need to relocate Providence’s municipal offices to the Wanskuck YMCA and an abandoned mill in North Providence.
Not to be outdone, the Procaccianti Group, which is developing the so-called “power block” with a mix of commercial and residential projects exitending from downtown toward Federal Hill, unveiled plans to remake the Decatur Lounge and the Hive Archive’s gas-o-meter building into “high-end West Side artist dwellings for aspiring non-artists.” Noting the proximity of the latter to the increasingly hip Olneyville Square area, a company official said, “A lot has changed in the time since people equated Olneyville with scariness. We want to be a part of the Providence of tomorrow.”