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Demolition update: Prov Police Station

A week after I posted on the possible demolition of the old Providence police station, the ProJo's Dan Barbarisi today reports that the Procaccianti Group is slated to seek permission Tuesday to do just that:

The site would be used as a surface parking lot until Procaccianti begins work on a mixed-use office tower with street-level restaurant and retail shops that it envisions there.

Procaccianti has been seeking to tear down the building for the better part of a year, but has been halted by the efforts of preservationists and neighborhood groups, who see the site as architecturally significant.

But this time, the Cranston developer will have city support, after acting Building Official Kerry Anderson inspected the building June 29, and found it to be in a state of “gross deterioration.”

Anderson ordered that Procaccianti “obtain the required permits and demolish the structure immediately,” citing significant water damage, a leaking roof, mortar joints cracking on the brick façade, and missing pieces of limestone on the exterior that reveal disintegrating steel anchors.

But the Providence Preservation Society and the West Broadway Neighborhood Association have also had their own experts, including Rhode Island School of Design architecture Prof. Wilbur Yoder, examine the site, and don’t believe it to be in any imminent danger of collapse.

“We think that this should be heard before the [Downcity Design Review Commission] before any action is taken, because the building is structurally sound,” said Kari Lang, executive director of the WBNA.

“The inside is pretty awful, but nobody’s saying that that needs to be saved. We just need to make sure that people can’t get in there; then it seems like a pretty safe situation,” she said.

Procaccianti has long said that the building, erected in 1938, attracts vandals and the homeless, is infested with rats, and is an accident waiting to happen.

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