Arts group still in talks with DEM on Shooters site redevelopment

A local arts group is in its second year of negotiations with state officials about a plan to build a waterfront concert venue on the site of the former Shooters nightclub in Providence. More

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Arts group still in talks with DEM on Shooters site redevelopment

PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
BOWL ARTS LLC is "still in discussions" with the R.I. Department of Environmental Management about building a concert venue at the site of the former Shooters nightclub, pictured above before its demolition in 2011.
Posted 12/27/13

PROVIDENCE – A local arts group is in its second year of negotiations with state officials about a plan to build a waterfront concert venue on the site of the former Shooters nightclub in Providence.

Bowl Arts LLC, the only organization to submit a formal proposal to redevelop the 1.7-acre property in November 2012, is “still in discussions” with the state about financing and other details of the project, according to the R.I. Department of Environmental Management.

“We are still in discussions with Bowl Arts and have made progress on several fronts,” said R.I. DEM Deputy Chief Lisa Primiano in a late December email. “However, we are still a ways off from signing a formal agreement.”

Determining whether the Bowl Arts plan is viable was not expected to take this long.

Last winter, a state decision on whether to proceed with the proposal was slated for April, but was moved back to July and then to December.

Primiano did not give a current estimate of when a decision might be made. Keith E. Fayan, an attorney representing Bowl Arts, could not be immediately reached for comment.

After the Shooters nightclub was closed in 2000, the state acquired the parcel as part of the Interstate-195 relocation project. Initial plans to build condominiums on the site met neighborhood opposition, and in 2010 state voters approved borrowing $3.2 million to transfer the property to the DEM in order to redevelop it for public use.

The state’s request for proposals released in the fall of 2012 sought a developer to enter into a 20-year lease, build a multi-use complex including a restaurant and public-entertainment options, and pay taxes on the property.

Although several organizations expressed initial interest, only Bowl Arts, led by the organizers of the annual Wooly Fair arts festival in Providence, submitted a formal proposal.

Previously state officials said they liked the Bowl Arts plan, but needed more detail on it, including how it would be financed.

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