Which Development for Fox Point Waterfront? Neighbors Weigh Options
In mid-October, leaders at three Boston-based development firms shared building proposals with Fox Point neighbors for the area of land located between South Main and South Water streets at the eastern edge of the Van Leesten pedestrian bridge, also known as Parcel 2 of the I-195 District (current home of the 10,000 Suns exhibit). Each of the developers is hoping to win approval from the I-195 Commission through its multi-step, competitive bidding process.
Since October, residents have offered feedback on these designs—and their opinions are strong. On one hand, neighbors expressed concern that all three designs are too large and blocky, each with six-story mixed-use residences spanning two large city blocks. One resident described the proposals as appearing, “like massive walls blocking off Fox Point.” Others expressed strong concerns that the developers have not included enough mixed-housing units, have not allotted adequate parking and with one exception, have not planned for ecological events such as storm water surges and flooding.
On the other hand, neighbors expressed enthusiasm for two of the three designs. “I admire the way the ‘city walk’ concept flows through the property…and allows pedestrians to connect to other parts of Providence,” commented one neighbor of the proposal by the Parent + Diamond firm; “It looks inviting.” Others praised the brick exterior of the Urbanica design, as well as that firm’s appealing façade on South Main Street, dynamic ground-level gathering spaces, and apartments for artists.
So while Fox Point residents would like to see more attention paid to scale, parking, and ecological concerns—plus the inclusion of more mixed-housing units—many are excited to see how the process plays out. Given the dramatic influx of housing developments into the area in the coming months and years, FPNA hopes the winning developer will consider neighbor feedback when modifying its plans.
Image, Amy Mendillo