New apartments downtown!

Tiny Merchants Bank Building next to Textron Building, seen from across Providence River. (ricurrency.com)

Tiny Merchants Bank Building next to Textron Building, seen from across Providence River. (ricurrency.com)

Our mini-Flatiron Building. (photosynth.net)

Our mini-Flatiron Building. (photosynth.net)

I have received an anonymous tip that the Mercants Bank Building, our mini-Flatiron brownstone “tower” opposite the Turk’s Head Building across the intersection of Westminster and Weybosset, is being renovated for apartments or condos. Excellent! Considering the units in rehabbed buildings (and possible new ones) being developed by Buff Chace, maybe this city is indeed headed for a re-renaissance!

Architecture Here and There

Upper portion of door surround at 32 Custom House St. Upper portion of door surround at 32 Custom House St.

Monday evening’s meeting of the Downtown Design Review Committee relieved concerns that one must feel upon news that a graceful old building is being renovated. Who knows what evil could be afoot. But the applicant, HM Ventures 7, of Brooklyn, seems to have only good things in mind, more restoration than renovation outside. The building at 32 Custom House St., built in 1875 and known as the Real Estate Title Insurance Building, will host 10 apartments and a ground floor shop or restaurant. Bravo!

Below this post are a few photos I took of the building last week.

Proposed garage in middle between proposed student dorm and existing South Street Station. (gcpvd.org) Proposed garage in middle between proposed student dorm and existing South Street Station. (gcpvd.org)

That’s the good news from that meeting. Before I spring the bad news on readers, note that it is now the Downtown Design Review Committee, not the Downcity…

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About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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