EDITORIAL: Embrace Fane’s $150M Investment in Providence. We Can Perfect the Design.
Friday, December 09, 2016
In contrast, “Worcester has seen close to $3 billion in investment over the past five years," Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus said during a Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. "Across the city, property values in the last year have shot up by a billion dollars. That sounds like a big city to me,” he added
Really, we are now falling behind Worcester.
Now, a New York developer has come forward and proposed a 43-story tower coupled with a $150 million investment. Jason Fane says this is just the beginning of a three-phase $500 million investment in Providence. An investment which would be the largest in Providence since the heavily subsidized Providence Place Mall. Between tax treaties and sales tax concessions taxpayers invested more in the mall than the developers — not even counting the highways ramps.
Fane’s initial designs may not be pleasing to many, but the design process has not even begun. Most Rhode Islanders want to change our last place business rankings and chasing away major developers before the process has begun is not a great business strategy.
We need to face reality. The most iconic building on our skyline has been empty for more than three years and other than voyeuristic tours, the building is an embarrassment. That developer continues to hold the Governor and the legislature hostage for tens of millions in state funded incentives.
Fane’s project can and will be improved. He is a smart developer and wants to build a project that will be celebrated — it is good for business and leasing.
A $150 million private investment is just what Rhode Island’s 50th ranked business ranking needs — a shot in the arm.
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