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  • Amy Mendillo for Providence Monthly

Parcel 8/8A: What Will be Built Behind Trader Joe's?

As excited as neighbors may feel about the new Trader Joes on South Main and South Water streets (which will open in October), they seem just as invested in the fate of the plot of land behind it. At the July FPNA meeting, residents of Fox Point and the Jewelry District peppered two local developers with questions on their building proposals for Parcel 8/8a. The plot, located just off the 195 off-ramp at South Main Street, adjacent to the structure-in-progress on Parcel 6, boasts river views to the west and panoramic city views to the north. “The lot is significant,” commented developer Richard Baccari. “It is the doorstep to Downtown.”

The two building proposals could not be more different. Baccari’s proposal, a mixed-use building with office spaces, high-end condominiums, and in his words, “an upscale, destination rooftop restaurant,” drew praise from neighbors for its appealing design, with a descending, stepped roofline, and ample parking. “[The building] looks quite nice coming off the highway,” commented one resident. “It is well thought-out.” Another neighbor, herself an architect, commended Baccari for the potential impact of the building to the surrounding area. “It is extraordinary,” she said. “It integrates in all directions. The building itself is quite beautiful.” Others criticized the proposal for its lack of affordability. “Luxury condos don’t add as much to the vibrancy of the community as one might wish,” another neighbor said.

The second proposal, presented by Jordan Durham of D + P Real Estate, prioritizes ecologically responsible building materials and practices. “Sustainability is at the core of what we do,” Durham said. The D+P proposal includes a corporate headquarters, affordable residential rental units, and first-floor retail space. The structure will look like two attached buildings, Durham explained, each five to six stories. The corporate headquarters will have a traditional brick exterior and the apartments will appear “modern and playful,” he said. While residents lauded the project for bringing stable jobs to the neighborhood as well as much-needed workforce housing, they expressed concern about lack of parking and unsatisfying design. “The two units don’t work well together visually,” commented one neighbor. Another characterized the architecture as, “generic.”

Durham said he is willing to work with neighbors to revise the design of the building; residents will no doubt rise to the occasion.

Photo, Amy Mendillo


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