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Old 11-17-2013, 08:42 AM
 
Location: College Hill
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Just curious -- I notice there's not many retail stores downtown, though I understand there used to be. Did the creation of the mall destroy retail downtown, or had retail already fled the city? In short, has Providence Place Mall been good for the city?
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Amelia Island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfieBoy View Post
Just curious -- I notice there's not many retail stores downtown, though I understand there used to be. Did the creation of the mall destroy retail downtown, or had retail already fled the city? In short, has Providence Place Mall been good for the city?
For those of us a little older we remember downtown Providence in the sixties and seventy's being extremely vibrant.....the exodus to the suburbs coupled with Midland Mall and other suburban shopping malls certainly helped take away from downtown's retail presence. I can remember the Outlet, Shepard's and the Arcade the most. Downtown rocked back then and you also had quite a few companies that employed hundreds that are no longer there that fueled many small business's.

I think the mall amongst other improvements downtown have helped.

Last edited by JBtwinz; 11-17-2013 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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It was the Midland Mall... and then Warwick Mall which did the damage. Suburbia at its best!

All the stores I shopped in growing up are gone. Peerless, Gladdings, Shepard's, Fox, Outlet, Cherry & Webb, Jordan Marsh, Filene's..............

While I live in PVD, I do not like Providence Place. It's easier to go to Emerald Square.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfieBoy View Post
Had retail already fled the city? In short, has Providence Place Mall been good for the city?
No doubt the PP mall has been good for the city.

In the late sixties or early seventies a 7-8 block section of Westminster St was closed to cars and made into a pedestrian mall- which turned out to be a huge mistake. It was reopened to traffic after about 10 (?) years and the downtown revived a bit.

The things that have revived the city most in the past number of years have been the various colleges moving into the area, the building of the civic center and the new hotels, as well as the development of the river walk along with new residential units. Before that few lived downtown (especially since the swath cut by I95 which destroyed a lot of homes and divided the city ).
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:54 PM
 
Location: College Hill
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Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
No doubt the PP mall has been good for the city.
How?

Quote:
In the late sixties or early seventies a 7-8 block section of Westminster St was closed to cars and made into a pedestrian mall- which turned out to be a huge mistake. It was reopened to traffic after about 10 (?) years and the downtown revived a bit.
Why a mistake? I mean, I love downtown just the way it is, but a car-free zone sounds intriguing.

Quote:
The things that have revived the city most in the past number of years have been the various colleges moving into the area, the building of the civic center and the new hotels, as well as the development of the river walk along with new residential units. Before that few lived downtown (especially since the swath cut by I95 which destroyed a lot of homes and divided the city ).
Do you think colleges and universities are good economic drivers for the city?
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfieBoy View Post
How?

Brings people to the city who will spend their money - helps local economy.


Why a mistake? I mean, I love downtown just the way it is, but a car-free zone sounds intriguing.



Do you think colleges and universities are good economic drivers for the city?
I think they are good for a city's "status", but hurt the overall economy of a city from a tax perspective. The colleges take up a lot of real estate that could be used for tax-paying enterprises. Plus, the majority of college students pay little or no taxes, so that is a large population who don't help the state. But the presence of a college may attract people who DO have jobs and are taxpayers, so there is a plus-side. But overall, in my opinion and from a revenue-generation standpoint only, I would put colleges in the same category as churches with regard to non-tax-generating real estate.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Cranston
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Originally Posted by Raiderman View Post
I think they are good for a city's "status", but hurt the overall economy of a city from a tax perspective. The colleges take up a lot of real estate that could be used for tax-paying enterprises. Plus, the majority of college students pay little or no taxes, so that is a large population who don't help the state. But the presence of a college may attract people who DO have jobs and are taxpayers, so there is a plus-side. But overall, in my opinion and from a revenue-generation standpoint only, I would put colleges in the same category as churches with regard to non-tax-generating real estate.
Fortunately Taveras has convinced schools like Brown and Johnson and Wales to contribute to the city's revenue stream quite generously. Who knows if other Mayors would be as convincing though.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
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Originally Posted by Rnrboy View Post
Fortunately Taveras has convinced schools like Brown and Johnson and Wales to contribute to the city's revenue stream quite generously. Who knows if other Mayors would be as convincing though.
I heard about that. It was a very good move to help with the ailing fiscal situation in Providence. I wonder if that could be the start for other entities to follow suit.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ocngypz View Post
It was the Midland Mall... and then Warwick Mall which did the damage. Suburbia at its best!

All the stores I shopped in growing up are gone. Peerless, Gladdings, Shepard's, Fox, Outlet, Cherry & Webb, Jordan Marsh, Filene's..............

While I live in PVD, I do not like Providence Place. It's easier to go to Emerald Square.

Do you remember Tilden-Thurber ? they were one of the last to leave. Jean's Dress Shop? McGarry's restaurant? The Ming Garden ? The Outlet Co. We all (who lived in the "country) went into the city for prom gowns either at Peerless or Gladdings. There were actually sales ladies who waited on shoppers! What a concept. Santa Claus at Shepards for the holidays was a big deal. And speaking of downtown Prov., there were nice theaters: Lowe's (which morphed into PPAC), the Strand, the Majestic if I remember correctly. There was even a grocery market on Weybosset St. Called what else: The Weybosset St. Market. My parents purchased my first piano at Avery Piano on Weybosset St. Avery's held on several years after the downtown Prov. "slide" and I even traded my piano in there on a larger one in the late 80's. And, there was the "phone company", where a lot of girls got jobs after high school as switchboard operators until the phone company got all split up.

Providence was fairly vibrant until all the stores left, then the crime and unsavory characters took over. Even Kennedy Plaza was safe and cleaner, people didn't "p" in the streets or in the doorways of buildings either. Federal Hill was run by the mob and people were safe walking or parking up there ... Ray Patriarca could be found sitting outside Angelo's restaurant, John Cicilline's office, or at his pinball machine joint, and always wore white socks with shiny black shoes.

Jordan Marsh was at Warwick Mall then morphed into Filene's. I believe Sears is the only one still at Midland Mall (maybe).

All in all, Providence Place Mall (imo) was a huge plus for Providence, some nice higher end stores, excellent restaurants and so forth. Before it was built, that land was a large dusty parking lot on a hill. They couldn't do much about the grade of that land though, and as a result, the multi level parking garage as it is now will remain one of the worst parking garages ever.

Last edited by QuilterChick; 11-17-2013 at 04:37 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:08 PM
 
Location: College Hill
2,903 posts, read 3,190,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post

...

All in all, Providence Place Mall (imo) was a huge plus for Providence, some nice higher end stores, excellent restaurants and so forth. Before it was built, that land was a large dusty parking lot on a hill. They couldn't do much about the grade of that land though, and as a result, the multi level parking garage as it is now will remain one of the worst parking garages ever.
Thanks for that very informative walk down memory lane. It sounds like Providence was really bustling back then. I wish there were a grocery store downtown.

What do I know, but, yes, people p in the streets and maybe Providence is a little ragged at the edges, but it has so much character and what's left of the "good old days" is enough for me. I suspect the people are pretty much the same, and the attitude of the city really reminds me of New York -- BS walks in PVD, and there are enough characters in the city to make it highly entertaining. And the food is so good!

I'm not a mall shopper, I prefer boutique stores, but even in Manhattan, they've evaporated. Columbus Avenue used to have a ton of great little stores, but they've been replaced with Banana Republics and Gaps, so I think the end of the era of unique shopping in Providence is mirrored in most places. Hell, you guys have Park South (or is it South Park) which is gigantic.

The one good thing about PP Mall is the architecture -- it's broken up enough that it's not this huge mass of bulk. I like that. I don't like waiting five minutes for the traffic lights to change on Francis Street, though.
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