Providence Preservation Society Industrial Sites and Commercial Buildings Survey 2001-2002 (w' some updates)

PCIS Business Inventory

In 2004, the Partnership for Creative Industrial Space (PCIS) initiated a tenant survey of Industrial and Commercial Buildings District (ICBD) properties at the request of the City of Providence’s Department of Planning and Development. The survey data capture current business information and project the total number of businesses and jobs facilitated by the district. The results illustrate a significant presence of commercial activity in the ICBD.

The survey serves as part of PCIS’s mission to preserve and create affordable commercial space in Providence, specifically in the ICBD. By including business information in the PPS/Providence Plan Mill Database, PCIS furthers its initiative to provide the city with information on the businesses, artists, manufacturers and occupants within ICBD buildings. PCIS hopes that communitywide awareness of these businesses will encourage the responsible inclusion of creative and small business interests when planning the redevelopment and preservation of these historically significant properties.

Methodology: PCIS Tenant Survey
ICBD Tenant surveys are conducted in the field, in buildings on ICBD historic properties (as defined in the PPS Mill Listings). Properties are selected to be surveyed based on their proximity to neighborhoods where speculation of historic redevelopment projects has been most concentrated, in order to collect pre-redevelopment commercial information before further redevelopment occurs. For this reason, nearly all ICBD buildings in the Olneyville and Valley neighborhoods have been surveyed. PCIS plans to survey all buildings in the ICBD in the near future, in order to gain the most accurate citywide information.

The survey is conducted anonymously, in order to protect tenants’ privacy. Survey data include: Number of employees (working and/or based in the building), number of years the business has been located in the building, nature of business, size of space, and additional information related to the business. Businesses are grouped into six categories: Artist, Business, Manufacturing, Non-profit, Retail, and Storage. All information is totaled and averaged for each ICBD property. Data is then projected to estimate totals for the entire district. (Please see for more details related to survey methodology.)

The PPS Mill Database tables include the following information for each surveyed building: total number of businesses in the building (“Businesses”), total number of people employed in the building (“Employees”), and average number of years each business has been located in the building (“Average Years”). Updated business information is also included as part of the written narrative for each property. Additional information, including business types and citywide projections, is available on the PCIS website (

Coming soon… Redevelopment Information
In order to quantify the impact of redevelopment on commercial activity in the ICBD, PCIS has continued to collect commercial tenant information for buildings that have undergone recent redevelopment. “Redevelopments” include properties that have been fully redeveloped, are in the process of being redeveloped and/or have experienced a significant change in use or ownership since 1990. PCIS and the Providence Plan are in the process of creating a Before/After feature that will allow the user to view business activity of ICBD properties before and after redevelopment. Check back soon!

*See Survey_Data_Projections excel file for Field Definitions sheet and more specific methodology

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The online Industrial Sites and Commercial Buildings Survey is a partnership between the Providence Preservation Society and The Providence Plan