Battle continues on Providence's working waterfront

Today marks the start of the City of Providence's charette for the future of the waterfront along Allens Avenue. Dan Barbarisi offers coverage here. For my previous report on the clashing visions for the area, click here.

The Providence Working Waterfront Alliance has released a study to coincide with the planning session. Here are some of the highlights:

Today, the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance released the results of an economic impact analysis conducted by waterfront economic planning specialists FXM Associates.

The study analyzed the economic impact of seven Allens Avenue area businesses; Promet Marine Services (marine repair), Sprague Energy (oil storage and materials handling), Providence Steamboat (tugboat services), Narragansett Improvement (asphalt plant), Walco Electric (automation engineering and industrial service), Philip Services Corp. (environmental services), and J. Goodison Company (marine repair).

Just these 7 water-dependent, water-enhanced, and industrial businesses were found to be responsible for:

$294,000,000 in annual business sales

372 workers (90% full time) with an average total compensation of approximately $60,000 per year

Direct, indirect, and induced effects combined = $324 million in total business output within the state, over 700 jobs, and nearly $30 million in household income

The FXM Associates study also estimated the amount of new residential and retail development that would be needed to achieve the same level of employment and income now generated by existing Allens Avenue businesses. According to the study:

It would take over 1,400 new households (condos or apartments) to generate enough spending to create the 370 direct jobs now attributable to existing businesses.

To achieve an equivalent level of household income for Rhode Island residents to that now generated by existing Allens Avenue businesses would require nearly 1,200 retail jobs.

At roughly 700 square feet of retail space per employee on average, there would need to be over 800,000 square feet of new retail/restaurant uses to approximate the household income now directly provided by existing Allens Avenue businesses.

These new retail uses would need to be supported by about 4,900 new residents to Rhode Island so as not to simply divert spending away from existing local establishments.

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