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Cornish’s Steve Durkee named to Rhode Island Design Hall of Fame

The RI Design Hall of Fame has been established to recognize the lifetime achievements of RI-based designers who have made significant contributions through their design practice to the design industry, other industry sectors, or the community or world at large.

In addition to Steve, industrial designer Martin Keen; industrial designer Aidan Petrie; and urban designer/architect William (Bill) D. Warner are being inducted into the Hall of Fame. More details at DesignWeekRI.

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Downtown living in the Providence Journal

The Providence Journal had an article this weekend about living downtown: Downtown Providence now a place to work, play and live

City dwellers taste nine of ENO’s rosés on the rooftop of the Peerless building, while margaritas refresh couples dancing the salsa at the Providence Marriott.

That same Thursday, moviegoers watch the “The Professional” inside Aurora on Westminster Street while Rhode Island Vegan Awareness shows “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” at Providence Place Cinemas.

Circus performers entertain at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum; an Ellie’s Bakery cart roams the streets with banana peanut butter ice-cream sandwiches; and an electro indie pop band, Homeboy, plays at Burnside Park.

All of this — plus the final gallery night of the Providence Polaroid Project, a pop-up business in vacant office space on Westminster — happens as diners eat at more than 80 restaurants, cafés and pubs in the capital city.

And all the attractions are so close that people who live downtown can walk to nearly everywhere.
The neighborhood, not including the Jewelry District, almost doubled in population between 2000 and 2010 — from 2,678 people to 4,569. At least six buildings have been renovated into mixed-use developments and apartments since 2010, and they are practically full.

The article also includes a short video featuring Cornish’s own Steve Durkee:

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ProJo: Providence ‘unfriendly’ to business

A New York-based developer who considered bidding on a piece of the Route 195 land says he chose not to because the city is “an unfriendly environment for business.”

Commercial real-estate developer Richard Miller, of The Pegasus Group, visited Rhode Island in 2011 and again this spring; he liked what he saw enough to pick a potential parcel on the western side of the river near Chestnut Street.

But in the end, his team chose not to submit a proposal to the Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission, which controls about 40 acres in the heart of the city, 20 of which are available for development.

The commission’s executive director, Jan A. Brodie, speaks frequently about the cost of building in Providence compared with the income generated here. Building costs are similar to New York and Boston, but the revenue from these projects is much lower.

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PBN: Cornish purchases Lapham Building for $2.7M, sees trouble in historic tax credit cuts

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Providence Business News reports on Cornish’s purchase of the historic Lapham Building on Westminster Street:

Cornish Associates LP has added to its Westminster Street portfolio again.

The Providence firm responsible for much of the residential redevelopment of downtown has purchased the historic Lapham Building for $2.7 million, director of development Steve Durkee confirmed Monday.

As with its neighboring properties, Cornish intends to convert the vacant nine-story office building at 290 Westminster St. into apartments with shops and eateries at street level.

However, those plans could be delayed if state lawmakers do not provide funding for Rhode Island’s historic tax credit program, which Cornish was hoping to deploy on the Lapham project, Durkee said.

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Providence Business News: Living downtown a draw for next-gen talent, jobs

Providence Foundation executive director Dan Baudouin writes an Op-Ed for Providence Business News about the value of mixed-use residential development in Downtown Providence:

Some have questioned the value of residential and mixed-use developments in downtown and other parts of Providence. Their question: “Don’t we need jobs, not housing?” The answer: Residential and mixed-use projects will produce jobs, as well as other long-term benefits to our city and our state.

Projects such as those planned at The Foundry, the Kinsley Building, and even the Industrial Trust Building at 111 Westminster (aka the Superman Building), are needed to support a strong and comprehensive economic-development strategy.

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Prime Restaurant Space For Lease

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Downcity Providence’s Alice Building is home to Symposium Books, Bodega Malasana, 250 Westminster St. and 36 fully leased luxury lofts above. The first floor corner unit was recently renovated and serves as a restaurant and bar, with ample dining room, kitchen and storage.

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This unit is centrally located at the corner of Westminster St and Union St, the heart of the downcity neighborhood. Arguably the area’s premier location, this unit is located  on a bustling corner with plenty of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Directly across Union St. is Grant’s Block park, providing a wonderful opportunity to host outdoor activities and extend the premises of 250 Westminster St. with ample outdoor seating. This busy corner is ideal for a morning, noon and night restaurant/cafe looking to make the most of the high volume.

Within a two block radius are Providence’s financial district, University of Rhode Island, RISD graduate school, Johnson & Wales, Providence Performing Arts Center, Westminster Lofts, Downtown hotels, and Providence City Hall. This location has thousands of built-in customers passing by daily, including residents, college students, tourists and local professionals.

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  • Size: 2,644SF
  • Rental Rate: $25/SF/Year
  • Lease Type: NNN
  • Use: Restaurant
  • Date Available: Currently

To arrange a tour contact Joanna Levitt at Cornish Associates  | 401.421.0254  | joanna_levitt@cornishlp.com.  Click here to view the listing.

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Cornish’s Steve Durkee and PPS’ Lucie Searle: Now is the time to capitalize on Providence’s assets

Over the last 40 years, we have been bold in the city of Providence. We’ve moved train tracks, rivers and highways, added parks, rejuvenated historic properties and promoted new construction. This significant investment has literally shifted the city’s built environment and created a refreshed energy and engagement in our future. And through all this, the historic fabric of our downtown core has remained intact.

It is an exciting and critical time for us. These investments, coupled with national trends leaning in our favor, have positioned Providence for great opportunity and growth. Now is the time to capitalize on this work and make the critical decisions to propel our city toward positive growth and prosperity for the next 40 years and beyond. And now is the time for very strong, committed and focused leadership to make this happen.

Read the full article at The Providence Journal.

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Cornish’s Steve Durkee Guest Mindsetter on GoLocalProv: Why Providence Needs Superman

Why rental apartments? Why not build office space? The answer is one of simple supply and demand and real life tax and real estate value consequences. Two separate economic impact studies both concluded the current office market in Providence is weak, with historically and consistently low absorption rates for office space. Restoring the building for office use would have a strong negative impact on surrounding office space in the city by flooding the supply and forcing rents down.

The apartment market in downtown Providence is very strong with current occupancy rates at approximately 97%. The redevelopment of 111 Westminster Street as largely residential units meets an immediate demand for housing downtown. Drawing from Cornish’s experience with nearly 200 apartments along Westminster Street, it is anticipated that these units will appeal to a diverse set of renters, from students to empty-nesters, young professionals and those moving into the downtown seeking a more urban lifestyle.

Read the full article at GoLocalProv.

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