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Downtown Hotel Project Gets Initial Approval From Providence Finance Committee

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The Providence City Council finance committee voted to approve a proposed downtown hotel Tuesday night. The project was proposed earlier this year, but...

The Providence City Council finance committee voted to approve a proposed downtown hotel Tuesday night. The project was proposed earlier this year, but movement on the issue was slow.

A local developer wants to build a nine-story hotel on the site of a now-vacant government building. The project was proposed this summer, but the city’s finance committee did not vote on it for several months. Local construction workers felt opposition by a hotel workers union seemed to be stalling the project.

City councilman David Salvatore supports the hotel, and said the vote should have happened sooner.

"Anytime we consistently delay good projects it sends an adverse message to the business community, that Providence and Rhode Island is not a business-friendly community," said Salvatore.

The committee approved a 13-year tax break for the developer. Salvatore said the city currently collects about $50,000 a year in property taxes from the site.

"Throughout the term of the tax-stabilization agreement, the city will collect $3.2 million, and then begin collecting full taxes in year 13," said Salvatore. "That’s a win for the city of Providence."

Salvatore said the hotel is needed in the downtown area, as many of the area's current hotels regularly approach capacity. The project now needs two votes of approval from the full city council. Salvatore expects the body to take up the proposal before the end of the year.

The local hotel workers' union was set to support the deal if an amendment was included requiring hotel workers to receive pay above the minimum wage. That amendment wasn’t introduced, though it could be later.

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The vacant Fogarty Building in downtown Providence.
The vacant Fogarty Building in downtown Providence.