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City Council head has no plans to revisit skyscraper project

December 3, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The head of the Providence City Council isn’t planning to try to override a mayoral veto that jeopardizes a plan for a 46-story skyscraper, a spokesman said Monday.

Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza vetoed a zoning change that would have allowed the proposed Hope Point Tower in Providence. If built, it would be the tallest building in the state.

The council could override the veto, and the state’s legislative leaders have asked councilors to do so.

Council President David Salvatore isn’t planning to bring it back for a vote, according to council spokesman Billy Kepner. Salvatore doesn’t support the skyscraper’s proposed location and has abstained from past votes.

Councilors who supported the zoning change could bring it back, but it’s not on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, Kepner added. It would take 10 of the 15 members to override Elorza’s veto.

Elorza said he vetoed the change Friday because the city wouldn’t have final approval of the tower’s design, which was his top priority. He told the council that if the building is going to reshape the Providence skyline, the city should be able to approve what it looks like.

New York developer Jason Fane called the veto an “extraordinarily punitive action” against the project and the economic development it represents. He said he endeavored to compromise in good faith to get an agreement done that best serves the interest of Providence residents.

Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a joint statement Friday that the proposed tower represents a major private investment in Providence that would show developers the city is a worthwhile place to invest. They said Elorza is standing in the way of progress.

The zoning change would have raised the maximum building height to 600 feet at the parcel on Dyer Street where Fane wants to build luxury apartments. The land was freed up by the relocation of Interstate 195.

Ruggerio is working on legislation to remove the city’s jurisdiction over zoning in the state-owned I-195 redevelopment district, his spokesman said Monday.

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