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Westminster Street Revitalization

Providence, Rhode Island
Date 2021
Size Approx. 105,000 SF
Cost Approx. $20M
Client Cornish Associates
  • PPS Preservation Awards - Commercial Rehabilitation Award, 2022

In 2015, Union was hired to design a multi-faceted, adaptive reuse project for the revitalization of three historic buildings – the Lapham, Wit, and Trayne Buildings – on Westminster Street in downtown Providence. The buildings, built between 1893 and 1925, had a storied history, and each had been built with construction techniques and materials that were the advanced thinking of their time – from flat-arch, terracotta floor decking to create fireproof floors in 1904 to a façade supported only by slender steel columns at the corners in 1925. The buildings had also been modified in various ways that didn’t always honor their historic character.

These differences in construction required an understanding of how to upgrade and modernize the buildings for each construction type while also being sensitive that all three are contributing buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, a new building was to be constructed within a very small footprint to expand the Trayne building.

Through creative design the new building serves as an addition to the Trayne building, allowing the two buildings to share an elevator and stairways. The Lapham and Wit buildings, which shared a party wall, were also joined on the second floor, which now serves as commercial office space.

With the Lapham and Trayne buildings originally built as commercial office space and the Wit building built as a retail shop, all now have retail storefronts on the first floor. Other than the second floor of the Lapham and Wit buildings, the upper stories are now residential adding numerous apartments to the downtown community.


Awards & Recognition