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


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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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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