NEW: Rep. Lombardi Calls on Raimondo to Stop Fast Track of 6-10 Connector Rebuild
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Representative John Lombardi has called on Governor Gina Raimondo to halt the administration's proposed fast tracking of plans to rebuild the 6-10 connector.
“Make no mistake – this is a pivotal moment in the history of our state and its capital city. Any work on the 6-10 Connector will have a lasting impact on the City of Providence. The question is whether this project will leave a legacy of divided communities, long-term maintenance costs, environmental injustices, depressed property values and long-term health outcomes for those adjacent to the highway," wrote Lombardi in a letter to Raimondo.
"Or, could it help shape a future that includes economically and socially vibrant communities, healthy, safe and environmentally-conscious means of transportation and dynamic public spaces?” added Lombardi in his appeal.
Lombardi said he is supportive of the alternative design plan release by Utile Design on October 3 and the continued involvement of public input in the design process.
He is also advocating for a phased plan which allows the administration to address immediate safety needs while replacing the connector in stages over the next ten years with an improved design within budget.
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#5 Wexford-CV Properties
The Raimondo administration continues to work with the 195 Commission to seal the deal with the Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology for development of prime real estate on the former highway land. While a proposal was made back in June for a mixed-use project, the negotiations between the state and the life sciences have been mostly behind the scenes, with a key vote taken on the proposal taking place Monday night -- in closed session.
"It is important to note that a P&S while an important milestone, is still just a step in the development process," said Commission spokesperson Dyana Koelsch. You can see the plan as presented on the Jewelry District's website HERE. Will we see shovels shortly?
#4 General Electric
Reports that the Connecticut giant is eyeing a move elsewhere — with Rhode Island on that short list — has many a Ocean Stater excited at the possibility. The Boston Globe not surprisingly made the case that their state should top the list (taking a dig at the others), saying that the "Boston area is on the short list of contenders for the headquarters and its 800 people, as GE’s search focuses on high-cost states in the Northeast. In relation to those states, Massachusetts compares favorably on its business tax climate."
However a Connecticut State Rep told the Hartford Courant a month earlier that Rhode Island as an option “wouldn’t surprise him.” Said State Rep John Frey in November, “It's been expressed to me by a couple of people at GE that they've been impressed by what the governor has done with state employee liabilities." To say a GE coup by Raimondo would be monumental for Rhode Island would be an understatement.
#3 Citizens' Campus
The Rhode Island-based banking powerhouse has indicated that is looking for a vacant location state as a potential new campus for 4,000 + of its employees — while maintaining its headquarters downtown at One Citizens Plaza. There is little indication at this time however of consideration of a vacant parcel of prime Providence real estate just to its HQ's south (that being the Industrial National Bank “Superman” building); the bank is indicating that keeping its support facility in Cranston is still an option.
“The lease for our service and support facility in Cranston expires in 2018. We are exploring several opportunities ranging from renewal to potentially consolidating some of our staff and back office functions at a new location in Rhode Island," said Citizens spokesperson Jim Hughes. Watch to see how Citizens moves forward -- and what, if any, role Raimondo has in the process -- and outcome.
#2 Superman Building
The arguably most iconic building in Providence — and Rhode Island’s - skyline lost its last tenant in 2013, and a year later an appraiser deemed it to have “zero value.” A failed effort to utilized tax credits and public investment by High Rock Development has left watchers asking if and when anything is going to move into the historic (if slightly aging) building.
Former Mayor and real estate developer Joseph Paolino, who has been a vocal supporter of trying to get Citizens Bank into Superman, told GoLocal, “I think the biggest problem [in the city] is Superman, because it depresses everything around it. Paolino, who bought three properties nearby downtown back in 2014 — said the revelation that the Industrial National Bank building was empty had cost him a mortgage with a major lender.
Whether there is an opportunity for a Citizens Bank move, or a new developer to re-package a viable mixed-use proposal, if the Superman building is still empty in several years' time, that is not a win for anyone -- not the city, not the state, and not the Governor.
#1 195 Rollout
When Raimondo took office, she understandably made a number of changes on the 195 Commission. A tax stabilization agreement (TSA) structure was finalized this past summer, and the Commission has the Wexford biotech proposal moving forward — but how much more development, and how soon, will the Raimondo administration be able to accomplish what it pledged it would do?
Raimondo called for the 195 land to be a manufacturing hub during her campaign — and while year one might have been setting the stage, the next years are critical for the state — and Governor. Will she usher through her proposed Innovation Institute?
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