Providence riverfront hotel project gets OK to move forward

PROVIDENCE — After hearing two impassioned proposals from Rhode Island’s artistic, historical and neighborhood communities for alternative uses of a tiny parcel of land, the 195 Commission Monday night instead voted to proceed with a controversial hotel project on the property.

Before voting, commissioners Elizabeth “Beppie” Huidekoper and Sandra Smith emphasized concerns about the hotel design proposed by Massachusetts developer Gerald Fandetti on the former public helicopter landing area on the east bank of the Providence River. They said they want the developer to rework the design before the project would ultimately move forward on Parcel 1A.

The commission’s Level 1 approval invites Fandetti to begin a detailed design review process and begin negotiations over a potential purchase of the property.

Plus, commissioners said they liked the other two proposals and hope to find ways to make them work elsewhere on nearly 26 acres of former highway land freed for development and public parks by the state’s highway realignment.

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