Brook Street dormitory demolition to begin in mid-October

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The demolition of the Brook Street dormitories will begin on or around Oct. 18, according to University officials who spoke in a virtual residential room briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

The University also presented a more complete schedule for the project: construction of the dormitories themselves will begin in January or February 2022, and the project will welcome juniors and seniors from the 2023-2024 school year.

The two residential halls will occupy space on both sides of Brook Street between Charlesfield Street and Power Street. Construction is proceeding over objections from some College Hill residents concerned about the scale of the dorms and the demolition of two historic homes and local businesses on the grounds, The Herald previously reported.

The dormitories will accommodate 350 students, and there will be green spaces at the southern ends of each residence. The street entrance to the west dormitory will have a large wooden walkway, and this building will have a commercial space on the first floor. “We are proposing to include approximately 1,300 square feet of retail space,” said college architect Craig Barton ’78. “We have not yet determined who will be the tenant for this. “

There is also space for a “proposed future residence” diagonally across the Power Street car park, which may be developed in the future but will remain green space for now.

Paul Dietel, assistant vice president for planning, design and construction, told the webinar that construction will run from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. He also described the noise mitigation strategies to be implemented, including minimizing vehicle idling and monitoring noise levels at the site.

Kikuyo Shaw ’24 lives in Barbour Hall, one block from the construction site. “I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about noise since I’m not a light sleeper, although I can certainly recognize how annoying or annoying it can be to constantly hear work in the early morning hours,” she wrote in a message to The Herald.

Sidewalks on Brook Street will also be closed to pedestrians during working hours.

East Side Mini Mart closed after 28 years last month before the project was demolished, The Herald previously reported. On October 3, Bagel Gourmet, a breakfast staple for Brown’s college students, took to Instagram to announce the closure of its Brook Street location after 25 years.

“Our Brook Street location will move to Meeting Street (even closer to Thayer!),” Read the caption of the article. “Until then, there will be a disruption in bagel production, which means not all locations will be carrying bagels until we move into the new location.”

These companies have been aware of the plans for the Brook Street dormitory since February 2020, University spokesman Brian Clark wrote in an email to the Herald. “Since then, we have engaged in discussions with each tenant to support their relocation efforts, including discussions of possible relocation to other properties owned by Brown. “

Toby Arment ’23, director of academic relations for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere and president of ResCouncil, a student group that advises the Office of Residential Life, hopes the dormitory will help ease the pressure from off-campus student housing. in the rental market. for residents.

“I am very happy that Brown is taking an initiative to help ease the burden that students place on housing,” Arment said. The impact “is immense and it really needs to be mitigated”.

The Brook Street dormitory is under construction to allow students to live on campus for six out of eight semesters, Deitel told the webinar.

Arment said he believes the new dormitory will help with this mission, as long as class sizes remain stable. “It will do absolutely no good if (the University) uses this as a way to increase enrollment,” Arment said.

“Our goal is really to both complement and reinforce the sense of belonging of the campus and the neighborhood, and also to create spaces that are universally accessible and sustainable and inviting to use all year round,” said Noah Biklen ’97 , partner of Deborah Burke Partners, an architectural firm that oversaw the project.

But throughout the nomination process, several residents of Ward 1 were worried about the new dorms, The Herald previously reported. More than 1,100 residents have signed a petition asking the University to change the design to better match the character and appearance of the community and to preserve the historic properties located on the grounds.

The Herald had previously reported that these requests were largely denied, although retail spaces were reintroduced at the request of residents.

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Clark previously told the Herald that building heights had already been reduced and that the University had “worked diligently to support the relocation of the three residential houses, in partnership with local community organizations and elected officials.” The University also offered $ 75,000 per house to cover potential relocation costs.

In a September 29 editorial for the Providence Journal, Providence Preservation Society executive director Brent Runyon and Fox Point Neighborhood Association president Nick Cicchitelli detailed their lingering concerns about the University’s response to complaints from the community and their reluctance to preserve the homes. on the property.

“In recent months, Brown has largely refused to scale back his designs to align with the scale of College Hill and nearby Fox Point,” they wrote. “In September, we asked the University to save several historic houses nearby in order to preserve some of the charm and livability of our neighborhood. Again, Paxson refused.

They concluded the article by writing, “University leaders need to demonstrate that they value the community in which they exist. “

Through conversations with several community groups, “we have answered questions, gathered feedback and considered feedback from community members who have varying opinions on the elements of the project,” Clark previously wrote in an e -mail to the Herald.

Arment stressed that the University has an important role to play in shaping the community. Students, he added, should be aware of this reality.

“I hope Brown’s students continue to be aware of our impact on off-campus housing and the community in which we live,” said Arment.



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