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RIDOT revises 'skyline changing' project near Providence train station

The state of Rhode Island is revising its request for developers to create a ‘skyline changing’ project around the Providence train station. (WJAR)

The state of Rhode Island is revising its request for developers to create a ‘skyline changing’ project around the Providence train station. The intention is to piggyback on a $35 million bond issue approved by voters in 2014 to create a bus hub near the train station. The hub would not only connect trains to busses, but also serve to open up Kennedy Plaza for more park-like activities.

The Rhode Island department of Transportation (RIDOT) invited developers in to the project to try and generate additional activity beyond a bus terminal. Transit oriented development traditionally can provide retail outlets for commuter friendly services and products, and residential opportunities for commuters too. But the RIDOT request for qualifications to the three developers in the running was adjusted to include to presence of state offices in the project.

“In transit oriented developments like this, there is always a beneficial element of the state’s participation in this," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti tells NBC10 News. "Public - Private partnerships require some participation by the government entity.”

And now the state is deciding what degree of involvement, by studying where state offices are currently, are how many should be relocated into the transit hub. “We’re going to define at what level is it proper for the state," Alviti added. "Not too much, not too little but what, but not be the major component in this process."

It’s still so early in the process, the developers have not begun to make proposals, or drawings of what they envision. The state has identified nine parcels arouind the train station that could potentially be part of the development. Most of them are privately owned.

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