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Providence Journal,
June 2, 2005
By Daniel Barbarisi

07 Feb 06: Plans for American Tourister Scrutinized
06 Apr 28: Royal Mill Clock Tower Tolls Again
06 Apr 9: Herb Weiss takes message on the Road
05 Dec 21: 14,500 sf Condo
05 Oct 30: The High Life
05 Oct 10: Jefferson Place goes condo
05 Sep 16: Pearl Street Lofts
05 Sep 1: The old Bomes Theatre
05 Aug 13: Brown purchases Old Stone Bank
05 Aug 11: Providence: Boom or Bust?
05 Aug 9: Taco Truk
05 Jul 15: SBER buys US Rubber
05 Jul 6: Sports Complex
05 Jun 21: Providence Kickball
05 Jun 17: Sasaki presents Vision 2020
05 Jun 16: State fixes Armory
05 Jun 15: Capital Center development
05 Jun 02: Trolley Barn demolished
05 May 13: Downtown BID team deployed
05 Apr 13: New Westin Tower revealed
05 Apr 17: Duany suggests redo public squares
05 Mar 25: Feldco re-negs on affordable units
05 Mar 21: A Better way for Warwick?
05 Feb 27: Interview with Buff Chace
05 Feb 25: 32-story condo tower proposed downtown
05 Feb 21: Developers want to buy Fidas

Historic trolley barn comes tumbling down

What many consider one of Rhode Island's most majestic buildings is coming down. Demolition began Tuesday on the brick-and-granite trolley barn on Cranston Street, and the razing of the 105-year-old landmark is expected to be completed by the end of next week.

There are no plans yet for the site.

The building's fate had been in question since a fire on May 3 caused minor damage and spotlighted it as a safety hazard. Four teenagers were charged with starting the blaze.

After the fire, Building Official Kerry Anderson cited the trolley barn as an unsafe structure, meaning it either had to be better secured or demolished. The owner, Paolino Properties, decided to raze the building, Anderson said.

The building was built in 1900 as a trolley storehouse, and later became a warehouse for the neighboring Narragansett Brewery, which closed in 1981. The brewery complex has been replaced with a development including stores, restaurants and the Katherine Gibbs School.

A series of prospective tenants had flirted with occupying the trolley barn for years.

"You lose a little bit of your history when you lose a building like that," said City Planner Kevin Flynn, who said the city has tried for years to entice tenants with tax breaks.

"I understand it's necessary. We had the building up as long as we could. It's just sad to me," he said.

The 108,000-square-foot structure sits on about 6.9 acres. Paolino Properties had most recently offered the property for a police station, but that option was rejected. The station will be built on another Paolino property, across the street.

"The razing of the trolley barn rids the city of a major safety concern," said Mayor Stephen P. Laffey.

Laffey said that the new police station in the neighborhood adds to the likelihood that the site will be used for economic development.

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