City approval enables Brown to proceed with revised performing arts center plan

The Providence City Plan Commission approved an amendment to Brown’s Institutional Master Plan, allowing the University to take the next step toward creating a new academic center for the performing arts.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —At its Monday, April 2, meeting, the Providence City Plan Commission (CPC) approved an amendment to Brown University’s Institutional Master Plan that includes the use of a plot of land between Angell and Olive Streets for a new performing arts center (PAC).

The CPC vote provides the authorization by the city required for the University to proceed with plans to build the PAC on the site. As a next step, the site will be presented for formal approval by the Corporation of Brown University at its meeting in May 2018.

Originally, the University had proposed locating the PAC on a plot between Angell and Waterman streets on the west side of The Walk, a series of linked green spaces that intersect campus. The original site encompassed six structures — one that would have remained, one that would have been relocated and four that would have been demolished.

Brown later revised the plan for the PAC, reducing the above-ground footprint of the proposed building and shifting it north to a smaller plot on The Walk between Angell and Olive streets, facing the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The shift in site will require the relocation of only a single structure, the Sharpe House on Angell Street, and no proposed demolitions.

The new site addresses community concerns about preservation of buildings, University officials said as it made plans public in February, while offering adjacency to other arts-centered academic facilities — a critical factor for an academic building that will be used by undergraduate students for classes, rehearsals, productions and research as well as making collaborative endeavors and performances possible.

“Brown is committed to being a good community partner, and we are pleased that the revised plan for the PAC, which we developed with community concerns in mind, allows us to move forward with this academic building,” said Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy. “The PAC will greatly strengthen undergraduate education in the arts, and we hope it will also serve as a bridge to the community. The design team at REX and Shawmut Construction were tremendous partners in ensuring Brown could meet its academic goals while responding to questions raised by the community.”