Antonio Guerra, Community Preservation Award
For almost fifty years, Antonio Guerra worked to bring new life to the 26 acre site formerly occupied by Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company. First as a construction manager, then as an owner, Guerra became a pioneer in preserving and revitalizing Rhode Island’s industrial architecture. Rebranded as “Capitol Industrial Center” following Brown & Sharpe’s departure, and now known as The Foundry Corporate Office Center and Promenade Apartments, Guerra and his family explored several proposals for the expansive property over the years – considering a convention center, stadium, and hotel. Today, the complex features a thoughtful combination of high end office space and apartments – preserving the historic character of Providence’s most recognizable industrial landscape.
Antonio Guerra began his career as an architect, helping to develop the Brick Marketplace in Newport and restoring several buildings in downtown Providence. When Guerra and his partners purchased the Brown & Sharpe complex in 1968, it was originally envisioned as an office park. In the 1970s, Guerra and his family became sole owners and operators of the complex, constantly upgrading the complex over the next two decades.
After placing the complex on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, Guerra was able to access state and federal historic tax credits to help finance a complete rehabilitation. The massive project included the replacement of 5,000 windows, and the removal of lead paint, asbestos, PCBs and other contaminates from several million square feet of surface and ground space. The remaining buildings now total approximately one million square feet of space.
Today, the complex features over 650,000 square feet of high end office space, and over 200 loft-style apartments located within 12 historic buildings constructed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over 2,000 people work within the complex, and more than 350 people live in the Promenade Apartments.
In the summer of 2014, Guerra and his family embarked on the rehabilitation of the 13th and final building in the complex, which has been vacant for over 30 years. Following the finalization of a tax-stabilization agreement with the City, construction of 196 new apartments is now underway. This most recent expansion will continue to bring new life and vitality to Providence.
Antonio Guerra passed away on October 11 at age 87.