State has deal to sell Hope Point Tower developer land for $3.1M

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Fane Hope Point Tower new rendering 4-25-2018_1524696400148.jpg_40733609_ver1.0_1280_720_1540218700515.jpg.jpg

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The New York developer seeking to build a 46-story skyscraper in Providence has reached an agreement to buy a parcel on the former I-195 land from the state, but construction of the building is still several years away.

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to enter into a $3.1-million purchase and sale agreement for Parcel 42 with developer Jason Fane, a deal that isn’t expected to close until at least Dec. 31, 2021.

The agreement and last week’s City Council decision to approve a zoning change on the parcel means Fane has now cleared two of the most significant hurdles when it comes to his proposal to build the state’s tallest skyscraper, dubbed the Hope Point Tower. But he still needs to complete the design process and secure financing for the project to move forward.

Fane has said he wants to spend $300 million on the mostly-residential project, which will include apartments and condominiums.

“We are certainly optimistic that we will enjoy a collegial and productive partnership with all the relevant parties during the design review process,” Dante Bellini, a spokesperson for Fane, said in a prepared statement. “It is our hope to gain approval as expeditiously as possible and quickly move this important project forward.”

Under the terms of the deal, Fane is required to apply for a tax stabilization agreement with the city, design review and a letter of concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Office by June 30, 2019 and must finalize those details within one year. The project qualifies for a 20-year tax deal with the city.

The projected closing date of the sale is Dec. 31, 2021, although a provision in the agreement allows the closing to be pushed back one year in the event of an economic recession.

Another factor: litigation stemming from the zoning change that raised the maximum height on Parcel 42 from 130 feet to 600 feet. The City Council approved the change last month, but Mayor Jorge Elorza issued a veto. The council voted to override the veto last week, but opponents of the project are widely expected to challenge the decision in court.

The purchase agreement with the commission projects that any litigation related to zoning will be resolved by April 30, 2020, although there are provisions that allow the date to moved back to the end of that year. Fane has agreed to spend at least $150,000 on the litigation.

Within three months of closing, the agreement requires construction to commence. Within nine months, the project must have at least two stories of the building completed. The entire project must be completed within 36 months of the beginning of construction.  Fane would face penalties of $75,000 per month by failing to reach those goals.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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