- Amy Mendillo for Providence Monthly
Neighbors Reject Fane Tower—Again
Few local development projects have stirred as much public opinion in recent years as the proposed Fane Tower, the 47-story residential building now under consideration—again—by the 195 Commission for Parcel 42 of 195 land. The developer, who years ago received a green light from the Commission to build the tower, came before the body in January to seek approval of a less expensive, pared-down design.
Of the 100 or so people who attended the January meeting, many gave public testimony, starting with the Commission’s own design consultant, Utile, who recommend against approval. The firm not only cited problems with the quality of the design of the tower and the parking podium, but with potentially dangerous wind effects created by the building and “undesirable and unsafe” entry and exit arrangements for the parking garage.
Residents, advocates, architects, union reps, and leaders of FPNA, the Jewelry District Association (JDA), the Mile of History Association (MOHA), and the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) went on to speak overwhelmingly in opposition to the current iteration of the design. Fox Point neighbor Harry Bilodeau implored the Commission to "do the right thing" by voting down this "monster" of a building. Sharon Steele of the JDA noted that the Fane organization has never provided any market data supporting the need for this development. "There is real-world risk that Fane will never be able to complete the project," she said.
FPNA President Nick Cicchitelli and Vice President Daisy Schnepel decried the design, function, and feasibility of the project in a recent letter to the Commission, saying that “the simplistic, watered-down redesign of the tower and podium makes the structure look like a generic office building, not an iconic structure.” FPNA has opposed this project from the start and—along with other neighbors—strongly encourages the Commission to reject it.
Image, Amy Mendillo