This is too funny. I’ve been saying it for some time because I too have noticed the changes on Providence’s center of Federal Hill, Atwells Avenue.
If you read the article the true problem is in about the fifth paragraph. I’ll parse it out just so you can see:
Traditionalists on the Hill complain that some nightspots offering entertainment are doing a rough trade that bothers their customers and nearby apartment- and condo-dwellers and that challenges law enforcement. There has been minor violence, too-loud music and a tendency to put out too many tables and chairs, clogging the sidewalks.
Note I bolded the term ‘condo-dwellers’. Yes, they have been working diligently to turn all the apartments that were once on Atwells Ave. into condos. And when people pay a fairly high price to live in the center of it all, they don’t want to contend with any bullshit.
I’ve seen the same thing happen on Fountain St. in Providence. They took a disused office building and turned it all into condos. On the ground flour a pub/deli opened up. And across the street in one direction is The Roxy/Lupo’s, and entertainment venue.
And of course the condo owners complained to no effect. Both businesses are still going strong.
And you know what, the cops will probably crack down on the late night scene on Atwells. The one I hope they really clamp is the tables and chairs on the sidewalks. You can do that in wide open plazas, but not on city sidewalks. It’s to the point if you want to walk down that section of Atwells you have to dodge patrons and chairs. And not for anything, DePasqaule Plaza used to be a nice little plaza with a fountain. Now it’s all gated off with tables and chairs inside the fences. The fountain is still there but the plaza has lost its charm.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Another part of the article mentions that Providence is no longer majority Italian-American and that Latino and Southeast Asians are now a large contingent. They did miss one group, a fair number of those nightclubs on Atwells are owned by Lebanese and Moroccans.
And I can completely understand why you’d want to open a nightclub on Atwells Ave. The rents are fairly inexpensive, and running a club/bar is one of the lower overhead enterprises. If all you sell are booze and snacks, you’re looking at a markup percentage in the 200% to 300% range.
And eight years ago the City Council voted to rescind the cap on liquor licenses. How’d that work out?
But there does have to be some compromise to restore at least part of the character of the district. I’m glad to see that the entertainment licensees are being forced to pay for the police detail. It’s going to get to the point where it will become so expensive to open a nightclub on Atwells that it’ll fade. You can see it coming.