Providence’s “Waterfront Charrette” begins today at 9am at Johnson & Wales Harborside campus (directions).  You can download the schedule here.  Please come out and show your support for Providence’s working waterfront!

Today’s Providence Journal also has an article previewing the charrette:

The greatest focus will be on the city’s industrial port area on Allens Avenue north of Thurbers Avenue, where the city is considering changing the zoning to mixed-use to allow condos.

This evening, a consultant hired by the city will present the results of its economic study projecting the dollar-value impacts of four waterfront development scenarios.

In anticipation of that report, the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance, a group of Allens Avenue industrial businesses, commissioned a study by FXM Associates, a consultant based in Mattapoisett, Mass., that focuses on seven of those businesses.

The study found that the companies’ annual total sales average $294 million. They employ 372 workers, 90 percent of them full time. The report states that the seven businesses paid $716,371 in property taxes to the city, $546,000 in sales taxes to the state, and $4.2 million in excise taxes and fees.

The study concludes it would take 1,400 new condos or apartments, inhabited by new city residents, to replace the jobs lost if the seven industrial businesses closed.

Brothers Joel and David Cohen, the owners of Promet Marine Services, an Allens Avenue shipyard, have been the loudest voices in The Working Waterfront Alliance. They contend that condos in the area would be a death knell for the industrial businesses.

“The mayor would have you believe that everybody would love to live next to a heavy industrial shipyard,” Joel Cohen said.

“They’d complain us out of business. It would be death by a thousand paper cuts,” David Cohen said.

Initially, the Cohens said, they tried to convince the city that mixed-use zoning would be a bad idea. Now, they have shifted their focus to the court of public opinion and to state lawmakers because, they say, the city is not listening. Mayor David N. Cicilline, the brothers say, has made up his mind.

“We have to convince the general public, and people within the State House,” Joel Cohen said.

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