Updated July 28 at 1:28pm

Shooters redevelopment plan collapses, state to reassess

It’s back to square one for Rhode Island’s redevelopment of the former Shooters nightclub property in Providence. The R.I. Department of Environmental Management officially broke off talks May 1 with Bowl Arts LLC, the community group that had been hoping to build a concert and performing arts venue on the site.

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Shooters redevelopment plan collapses, state to reassess

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PROVIDENCE - It’s back to square one for Rhode Island’s redevelopment of the former Shooters nightclub property on the Providence waterfront.

The R.I. Department of Environmental Management officially broke off talks May 1 with Bowl Arts LLC, the community group that had been hoping to build a concert and performing arts venue on the site, said R.I. DEM Deputy Chief Lisa Primiano Tuesday.

Bowl Arts and the state had been negotiating a long-term lease for the 1.7-acre site since the group made the only formal response to a request for proposals in the summer of 2012.

But despite enthusiasm for the project from both state officials and Fox Point neighbors, Primiano said Bowl Arts was never able to raise the money needed to make it viable.

“There was more than one sticking point, but one thing they had to do was raise capital, and they were not able to do that,” Primiano said.

“They had spent considerable time and energy on structuring the bid and on financing and were working hard as a team,” she added. “We were supportive of their proposal till the end. There was not a change of heart, but because of the time frame, we felt we needed to step back.”

Attempts to reach Bowl Arts founder Sam White and organization attorney Keith Fayan were unsuccessful.

The property next to India Point Park, which opened in 1990, has been vacant since 2000 when the nightclub, then in its second incarnation as Bootleggers, shut its doors.

After a plan to build condominiums at the site was defeated by neighbors, Rhode Island voters in 2010 approved a referendum to buy it for $3.2 million.

The state demolished the nightclub building in 2011 and, after a less formal request for ideas brought back eight responses, issued a formal RFP in August 2012.

The RFP barred residential development and required a restaurant and public dock space. The winner would enter a 20-year lease for the land and be subject to property taxes.

With the Bowl Arts concert venue plan now dead, Primiano said the state intends to spend the next few weeks re-evaluating the situation and looking for the best option.

The state still has about $100,000 left from the 2010 bond and Primiano said she hopes that’s enough to complete temporary work to make the site publicly accessible this summer while a permanent use is found. That temporary work would include landscaping, fencing off the foundation (instead of the whole lot) and removing unwanted vegetation.

Longer term, Primiano said DEM would try to analyze why there wasn’t more interest in the previous RFP and reach out to those who had previously expressed interest.

“Just like we tried to do the last time, we are open minded in hearing from anyone with thoughts on it,” Primiano said. “We will calculate what went wrong and find out what the major obstacles are.”

She said residential uses are unlikely to be considered under DEM’s ownership.

shooters nightclub, lisa primiano, dem, department of environmental management, india point park, providence waterfront, fox point, bowl arts, bootleggers, residential use

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Obadiah2

Why are officials surprised that the site found few takers especially since they put severe restrictions on the purposes to which the site could be used for??? What is wrong with a condominium project? Why do you allow neighbors who are very biased and selfish have the right to rule out residential development. I could understand their objection if it was a production facility going in there, but not residences. In a city that needs tax revenue why aren't officials pushing projects that would produce such an income stream. Also, Providence does not need another park without a firm commitment and funds to maintain. India Point is already a mess and for pete's sake, put in an irrigation system because by early summer the place is a dust bowl.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | Report this
ProvidenceBizNerd

In my own personal pipe-dream, I'd still love to see a "Providence Eye" ferris wheel like that which is found in major cities such as London, Paris, and the proposed Staten Island, NYC.

• Tourist Attraction

• Reference to Rhode Island's long gone amusement park history

• Jobs

• Waterfront recreation

• Visually interesting architecture

• Possible year-round facilities

• One of a kind regional attraction

• Something for kids AND adults to partake in

• Amazing views of Providence, the skyline, Narragansett Bay, The Newport Bridge, ...

• Etc.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Report this
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