The Fane Tower of Providence is “very much alive” despite the delays

Do you remember the Fane tower?

The planned 46-story apartment building in Providence’s jewelry district that divided neighbors, elected officials and critics who love architecture is still very real, according to its developer.

About five years after Jason Fane of New York City first proposed the $ 300 million project – which would become the tallest building in the state – his team are still working on the design details and are in talks with the panel of the state which controls the ground where it would be located.

“They are extremely busy and are actively working on the project,” Fane spokesperson James Malachowski said on Friday. “There are teams of engineers and architects who are visibly working on the details of the design.”

When the skyscraper could go from rendering to reality, however, remains a question.

This summer, the I-195 District Redevelopment Commission extended the June 30 deadline until the end of August in its buy and sell agreement with Fane. The “exercise date” deadline would commit it to proceed with the $ 3.2 million purchase of the proposed construction site.

At the end of September, the panel again extended the date for the exercise, this time until September 15, according to Cara Cromwell, spokesperson for Commission 195.

In the meantime, Fane has met a deadline to provide more detailed design drawings for the project, which the commission is currently reviewing, she said.

The purchase and sale contract set the closing date for the sale of the land one year after the exercise date, so the latest extensions are pushing this deadline from summer to fall 2022.

Commission 195 gave its initial blessing to the project – officially known as Hope Point Tower – in July 2017.

It took another 16 months after that to get a zoning change through Providence City Council.

Then, opponents sued the city to protest the zoning change. And when they lost, they appealed the Superior Court decision to the state Supreme Court. A decision on this appeal is pending.

From late 2018 through most of 2020, progress towards the tower exterior has been minimal as Fane missed deadlines, sparking frustration in Commission 195 and raising questions as to whether the ride was a pipe dream.

At the end of last year, Fane paid an overdue deposit of $ 250,000 to the commission and agreed to a new schedule that included the provision of detailed design documents. The Fane team delivered a set of design documents in May and also conducted test polls at the site around this time.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic initially disrupted downtown real estate across the country, the market has recently gained momentum.

The owners of the vacant 26-story Industrial Trust building, now the state’s tallest at around 425 feet, have rekindled talks about a residential conversion of the old office building, another sign that the demand for downtown apartments returned.

Despite the years that have passed since its first proposal, the size (over 500 feet tall), basic layout and exterior appearance of the Fane Tower – with curves unique to Providence – remain unchanged, said Malachowski. It would have around 500 apartments at market price and 330 parking spaces in an indoor garage.

It is eligible for $ 25 million in state tax credits and a 20-year tax treaty with the city, which is expected to save $ 54 million.

“The Commission continues to work with Fane OrganIzation on its proposed project while holding it accountable for a reasonable timeframe and implementing a payment structure that protects the public interest,” said Commission President 195 , Robert Davis, in an email.

Fane hopes to break new ground on the tower at some point next year, Malachowski said, adding he couldn’t be more specific.

“The project is alive and well,” he said. “The pandemic has put it on hold, of course. There have been delays with regulatory approvals that have taken longer than expected. But, lately, it’s been going at full speed.”

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