Brown University
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Brown University revises residence hall plans after community meetings

April 6, 2021
The university has reduced the size of the project and addressed the concerns of those living near the Providence, R.I., campus.

Brown University has revised its plans for a new two-building residence hall near the southern end of its Providence, R.I., campus after receiving feedback from nearby residents.

As originally envisioned on a site approved in June 2020 by Providence’s City Plan Commission, the project included buildings of 80,000 and 50,000 square feet.

In revising the plan, Brown addressed concerns about building scale and the transition from the neighborhood to the residence hall site.

The revised plan will:

  • reduce the above-ground footprint and overall scale of the western building by 16,000 square feet, and include step-downs from five to three stories on both buildings.
  • increase the setback distance between Power Street and the western building’s southern side, moving the structure outside of the Providence Historic District’s boundary line to enable new green space.
  • add publicly accessible green spaces at the southern end of both buildings, creating transitions from the surrounding community to the residence hall site that complement the neighborhood’s character.
  • eliminate a planned retail space in the western building.
The revised plan will reduce the number of student beds by about 50; the buildings will together house about 350 students. The plan maintains Brown’s commitment to increasing its on-campus housing capacity, which not only strengthens the experience for undergraduates, but also alleviates the impact that the demand for off-campus rental units has upon Providence neighborhoods.

University Architect Craig Barton says that with each building five stories at its highest point, and step-downs to three stories, the project is smaller than what city zoning would permit. Building entry points and services are purposefully positioned at the north side to reduce the impact of student foot traffic on local neighbors.

The University expects construction to begin in October 2021. The target timeline for project completion and building occupancy is Fall 2023.

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