While not under eminent threat of demolition, PPS remains concerned about the future of the city-owned former Water Supply Board building off Smith Street in Mount Pleasant.
This former utility administration building is a bit of an architectural mystery. The Providence Industrial Sites and Commercial Buildings Survey dates the Water Supply Board Building to 1908, yet the current façade appears more Art Deco in appearance than that date would suggest. The structure is a one- and two-story, flat-roofed, brick industrial office building. The streamlined design of the stone and steel clad entrance and curved corner is probably a modification dating from the early 1950s when the City bought the building for the Water Board under the administration of Mayor Walter Reynolds.
The history of its use is more straightforward. The Rhode Island Company had their Academy Avenue Car House at this location as of 1918. Ownership transferred to the United Electric Railways company three years later. By the outbreak of the Second World War, the property was transferred to the Supreme Amusement Corporation, and in 1950 it was acquired by the City of Providence for use by the Water Supply Board.
As of February, 2019, the Water Supply Board has vacated the property for new offices off Huntington Avenue, leaving the future of the Academy Avenue building unknown. Neighboring La Salle Academy has shown interest in the property and is discussing the potential of its use with the community. Future uses, or demolition, of the building will require approval by the Historic District Commission as it is protected under Providence Landmarks District-Industrial and Commercial jurisdiction. It has been included on the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Most Endangered Properties lists. PPS advocates for adaptive reuse of this versatile and stylistically notable building.