VIDEO: $300M Fane Tower Plan Sparks More Debate in Providence Showdown

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


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Fane Tower presented before a packed City Council Chamber

New York developer Jason Fane was back in Providence on Monday night pushing for approval of his proposed $300 million residential tower. Fane’s team tells GoLocal that this revised height lowers the project height to just 531 feet.

"If the City Council approves our zoning application, the tower will provide four important benefits to Providence -- and Rhode Island," said Fane. "They are housing, taxes, jobs, and economic growth."

"This tower will demonstrate Providence's commitment to new levels of economic success and help draw the creative and imaginative workers to stimulate intellectual, cultural development and prosperity," said Fane.

But all are not supportive of Fane's project.

"When I was knocking on doors, I heard the same message -- people are consistently opposed to this project, as it currently exists," said Sam Bell, who won the Democratic primary for State Senate District 5 and faces no challenger in November. "We need as a city to come together to make projects work, [but] we need to listen to people of Providence who have concerns, and we need to understand that we have huge affordable housing's problematic."


The project was presented Monday night to the Providence City Council’s Ordinance Committee. The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) continues to voice opposition to the project and has an online petition. SEE HERE.

PPS said that even the revised plan “defies universal urban planning and preservation principles, namely, it requires spot zoning, unnecessary and perhaps illegal favoring of a single parcel; the scale is wrong for this parcel; it does not benefit the life of the streetscape nor the park.”

Providence Mayoral candidate Dee Dee Witman said in a statement on Monday, “I strongly believe that the developer, Jason Fane, deserves an audience with our city leaders to discuss his plans in detail and to open up the conversation to find where and how the city can collaborate with Fane’s team to create a focal point development at our waterfront.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime development that will enhance our waterfront neighborhoods and bring new housing and potentially hundreds of good-paying construction jobs to our city,” said Witman. “If Fane is able to address the residents’ concerns and alter his designs, I will happily support this project and the jobs it will create.”

She attended the hearing and testified on the project.

Others testifying for the project as part of the team was former URI Business School Dean Edward Mazze who authored a study in support of the project.

Mazze Study

According to Mazze, it has been estimated that by 2025 Providence will need 18,000 new multifamily units including apartments, duplexes, condominiums and townhouses.

"Hope Point Tower will be a solution to some of these housing needs with its more than 400 apartments and condominiums. The Hope Point Tower project will serve as a catalyst for additional investment, growth and development in Providence, Rhode Island," wrote Mazze.

Mazze's study finds that Fane’s project:

-    More than 1,535 direct and indirect jobs during the construction period

-    More than $85.7 million in wages during the construction period

-    $250 million in property taxes over the first 40 years – since the life of the building is over 40 years there will be many more years of property taxes paid to Providence

-    $12.7 million in non-property taxes and fees during the construction period

The ongoing operations and maintenance of Hope Point Tower after construction is estimated to generate:

-    More than 22 direct and indirect jobs

-    More than $901,000 in wages annually

-    Additional Providence revenue from taxes, fees, licenses and other sources                

The total direct and indirect annual impact of the retailers and restaurants located at Hope Point Tower using two different retail mix scenarios will generate:

Between 49 and 63 direct and indirect jobs

Total wages of $1.4 million to $1.8 million annually

Taxes of $287,000 to $428,000 annually

"The 400 to 800 residents of the apartment and condominium units could generate an additional $11.4 million for the Providence economy and support more than 115 jobs a year. Their rental payments will contribute to the economy. The residents will spend their disposable income on food, clothing, transportation, healthcare, and other goods and pay taxes. They will hire housekeepers and other service people.  This will help local businesses and their employees who pay taxes to Providence and Rhode Island. As the condominiums are sold and resold, the residents will provide employment to real estate professionals and mortgage lenders," wrote Mazze.

In addition, Mazze’s report cites, “HousingWorksRI has estimated that Providence will have 102,000 younger working-age persons, 20 to 44 by 2025 an increase of 26,000 persons over 2015, or 35 percent growth. There will also be a 43 percent growth of households in Providence by 2025. In 2016, there were 61,218 households in Providence."

This story was first published at 6 PM on 10/22/18 and was updated at 5:20 AM on 10/23/18.


Related Slideshow: Fane Unveils New Design for Tower


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