The city of Warwick has made a big mistake permitting a developer to tear down the Elizabeth Mill near T.F. Green State Airport, in Warwick. Warwickers are always miffed that airline captains say “Welcome to Providence” upon landing in Warwick. But Warwick is very much a placeless place, at least compared to Providence, which is the state capital and the official destination for all flights coming into Rhode Island.
Warwick is trying to turn the area around the airport into a destination for intermodal mixed-use development, but in letting a developer who said he would save the Elizabeth Mill instead tear it down for something like the illustration at left, the city is getting off on the wrong foot. I’m not buying that the mill was not salvageable. Michael Integlia says he will market apartments in the new building for people who find its “funky” aesthetic appealing. But this is not funky, it is merely fucked up.
If Warwick wants pilots to say “Welcome to Warwick,” the city must do more to prevent places like the Elizabeth Mill from being torn down to make way for places that increase the city’s increasingly famous placelessness.