PROVIDENCE — A Massachusetts-based attorney who specializes in real estate investments and his wife are proposing redevelopment plans for a rare multifamily property across from the Providence Place Mall.
Eric Shabshelowitz, who heads Boston-based Cabot & Company’s commercial division, and Carly H. Shabshelowitz, who works in health care, have filed an application with the Providence City Center Commission to raze the existing building at 9-11 Hayes St., which is steps from the Rhode Island State House, to construct a new five-story, mixed use building. Representatives for the Shabshelowitzs are expected to present their redevelopment plans during a commission meeting on Dec. 13.
According to documents obtained by the Globe, the new building would have retail or commercial space on the first floor, and 20 residential units on floors two through five. The residential spaces are expected to be “more practical and smaller sized” ranging from studios to two-bedroom units, according to a Nov. 9 letter submitted to the commission by the applicant’s attorney, Michael L. Mineau of Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP.
The couple purchased the property in 2019 for $725,000, according to real estate records. The multifamily home currently has three, three-bedroom apartments and a single one-bedroom unit. Prior to their purchase, the units were rented “under market” and were “predominately month-to-month tenancy,” according to a real estate listing.
The property currently has five parking spaces, but those will be eliminated, according to the proposal. Mineau wrote to the city that parking for residents will be coordinated with the parking garage located directly across the street, which is operated by the mall.
It’s unclear when the property was initially constructed. City records say 9 Hayes St. was built in 1920, but Mineau said it was “in or around 1900.”
The front of the property faces the side of the mall with The Cheesecake Factory’s entrance, and the rear looks out onto the back of the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The structure is abutted on one side by the Gloria Dei Evangelical Lutheran Church and on the other side by the Miran shipping building.
While the developer originally planed to make the proposed building 75 feet tall, with 25 residential units, the Shabshelowitzs eliminated one floor, bringing the height down to 60 feet and number of units to 20 in response to concerns from the Commission’s Design Review Committee, according to Mineau.
In designing their plans, the developers said they respected “the setting and character” of the Gloria Dei church, and the current height “preserves sight lines to the church.”
The property was once the home of Dr. T. Franklin Walsh, a prominent Providence educator who served as the first principal of Central High School. Prior to leading Central, he was the principal of Commercial High School for many years, which merged with Technical High School in 1933 to form Central. He also served on the board of directors of the Dorchester High School for Girls in the 1920s.
Walsh died in November 1945 at 70, and is buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.
The property has been used for both residential and business purposes. In 1984, the Rhode Island Medical Society used all of the floors for medical offices; later, some office spaces were occupied by the human resources department of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
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