The Providence Business News has an interesting article covering a recent tour of the Port of Providence by the Rhode Island General Assembly’s port study commission.  While Providence city officials are pushing to rezone much of the Allens Ave. working waterfront for mixed use condos and hotels, and claim that no new industrial businesses want to locate in the area, the PBN article quotes local real estate agent Frank Jacques who says the city’s plans are, in fact, scaring industry away:

In Providence, one group opposing the city’s vision is the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance, a business group formed to advocate against the rezoning. Its members said the city’s plans have long kept businesses from wanting to invest in property that could be rezoned.

At least one commercial property broker, Frank Jacques, agreed.

On the same day as the commission’s Allens Avenue tour, Jacques, principal of F.L. Jacques Company Inc., said he has a potential buyer for 434 Allens Ave., an 11.68-acre waterfront parcel that’s zoned for industrial use. That’s the parcel just north of Thurbers Avenue that Deller earlier in the day had pointed out to commission members.

Jacques declined to name the potential buyer, but said the company initially would bring 60 industrial jobs to Providence. He said he’s worried the company might be scared away by the city’s proposal. It wouldn’t be the first time that a company has pulled out of a deal for the property – that’s happened twice since the early 1990s, when the city started pushing for mixed use along the corridor, Jacques added.

But Jacques, the broker, disagreed that a mixed use would be the best way to grow jobs in the area north of Thurbers Avenue.

“We don’t need any more condominiums, we don’t need any more retail,” he said. “What we need in this state [are] jobs.”

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