Cornish Associates, with Nordblom, Completes Purchase of ProJo Building

Jun 24, 2015

Credit RIPR file photo

Developer Arnold "Buff" Chace's Cornish Associates has completed its purchase of the historic Providence Journal building at 75 Fountain St. in downtown Providence, teaming up with Massachusetts-based Nordblom Company on the deal.

The purchase includes two parking lots at 78 Fountain St. and 1 Eddy St.

“We are delighted with this exciting new project in the heart of Providence and are pleased to be partnering in these acquisitions with Boston-based Nordblom Company who share a similar vision and considerable experience in the nearby Boston-area markets," Chace said in a statement. "Bringing additional office tenants into the building and activating the street-level spaces at Emmet Square will inject renewed vitality into the neighborhood around the Convention Center. The additional tenants and foot-traffic will help support the burgeoning restaurant and retail environment in downcity.”

Chace's intention to buy the ProJo building was first reported by RIPR in March. At the time, Chace said he hoped to retain the ProJo as a tenant, while improving office space to attract additional clients. He also said he wanted to remake the two garages as residential buildings with retail on the ground floor.

Terms of the sale by A.H. Belo, the former owner of the ProJo, were not disclosed.

According to a statement, Cornish and Nordblom plan to immediately begin improvements to the building.

"Their plan includes modernizing and revitalizing this iconic property while offering leases to a broad cross section of tenants ranging from full-floor users to 2-5,000 square foot occupants," the two firms said. "With the building’s large windows and tall, bright spaces, it will provide exceptional new offices at very competitive rents in the marketplace. This is the first time, since its construction, that significant space has been available in this property and it offers an extraordinary opportunity for a wide range of prospective tenants. When renovations are complete at the close of 2015, the building will feature 160,000 square feet of renovated office space as well as over 10,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space facing the newly re-designed Emmet Square."

Providence-based Site Specific will oversee the renovation, with Spagnolo Gisness & Associates of Boston as the architect.

The prominent Depression-era architect Albert Kahn, known for his extensive work in Detroit, designed the ProJo building.