Q&A: Steele On Why She Opposes The Fane Tower In The I-195 District

May 24, 2018

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

New York developer Jason Fane’s proposal for a 600-foot residential tower in Providence’s I-195 District has sparked sharp debate. Fane calls his concept an iconic structure that would bring fresh vitality to Rhode Island’s capital. But opponents say the scale of the project is too big, and that the I-195 District is the wrong location.

Sharon Steele, president of the Jewelry District Association, is one of the leading opponents of the Fane tower proposal. She said the envisioned 600-foot height is 500 feet taller than the best practices recommended for the I-195 District under Providence's planning guidelines.

Steele said opponents of the Fane tower proposal in Providence are encouraging the developer to consider other locations for the project. She said moving the proposed 46-story building project away from the I-195 District would solve opponents’ concerns.

“We’re into win-win, so we would like Mr. Fane and this is something that I’ve discussed with Jason to decide that there is an alternate site in Providence," she said, "whether that’s down at 110 Westminster or something in the Capital Center.”

110 Westminster was the site of an envisioned luxury housing development about 13 years. The project did not go forward and the site is now a parking lot.

A spokesman for Fane, Dante Bellini, said the developer is not interested in considering alternative sites for his proposed tower.

Last week, Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio shared some of his views on why he supports the Fane tower.