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Another year, another debate over the Fane tower in Providence

Image of the redesigned Fane tower, a luxury residential building proposed for Providence, R.I.FANE ORGANIZATION

A New York developer seeking to build Rhode Island’s tallest skyscraper on the former I-195 land in Providence has won his legal battles against those seeking to block his project, but he has largely lost in the court of public opinion as delay after delay has prevented even a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Tonight, Jason Fane is back in front of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, where he could face a new set of challenges.

Fane is seeking to alter the design of his proposed 46-story luxury residential tower along Dyer Street to allow for additional apartments (from 557 to 618). The new proposal also reduces the size of a parking podium and the amount of indoor retail space.


But a consultant is recommending that the commission not approve the plan “until and unless there are significant design revisions” that addresses several concerns: wind impact, the design of both the tower and the podium, and an “unsatisfactory site plan and park activation.”

The recommendations from Utile, a Boston design firm, are filled with in-the-weeds jargon that I’m not going to pretend to understand, but you can read the full report here.

As has been the case ever since the project was first proposed in 2016 (it was originally three buildings), you can expect the always-Fane supporters and never-Fane opponents to continue to wrestle over every detail.

Meanwhile, an even more pressing question looms: Does Fane have the ability to secure the financing for a project his team claims is going to cost $300 million (but most local developers think will be much higher)?

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.