Smart Hotel Project
Smart Hotels Group has proposed a boutique hotel at the corner of Angell and Brook Streets on College Hill. The site chosen is currently occupied by three dwellings (dating from 1857- c. 1895) that contribute to the College Hill National Historic Landmark District. Last year the proposal was rejected by the City Plan Commission (CPC), but received support from Mayor Elorza and the opportunity to submit a revised proposal. We expect the developer to return to CPC in June 2020.
PPS’ Planning & Architectural Review Committee (PAR) has reviewed both proposals– the original and the revised. While PPS supports the hotel development in concept and acknowledges its need on the institution-rich East Side, we find the location problematic due the required demolition of the buildings at 209, 211, and 217 Angell Street. The assembly of these three houses at a prominent intersection present a case where historic preservation should prevail in Providence.
The streetscape these dwellings creates is consistent with the residential scale of the eastern end of Angell Street, an important east-west travel corridor in the city. PPS accepts that demolition can be justified for economic benefit and the organic growth of healthy cities. However, we believe that these contiguous houses at this location contribute significantly to the historic fabric of the district.
PPS is not anti-development. We support new development that enhances a sense of place and demonstrates design sensitivity to that place. The bar is high, especially at a location that is neither vacant nor blighted, such as this proposal.
These views have been expressed to the developer, along with our hope that a new location will be considered. Apart from the location, the project has merit and would be a positive addition to Providence. We appreciate Smart Hotels’ receptiveness to feedback from neighbors and PAR on matters of design, street presence, and traffic patterns, and their efforts to reduce the size and scale of the building. We are confident that this developer would achieve welcome new construction in College Hill at an alternative location