About Us

About Us


Cornish Associates

Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Cornish Associates is a community developer dedicated to building a thriving neighborhood in the city’s downtown area.  The company was founded in 1986 by Arnold Buffum Chace, Jr., a visionary resident, committed to helping Providence re-establish its rightful place as a premier, mid-sized city in America.

Cornish’s work began in 5 turn-of-the-century, largely abandoned buildings located in a cluster behind Providence’s City Hall. Their work in the neighborhood has continued for more than three decades. The company’s strategy, starting with these early projects, has been centered around the use of charettes, or community input sessions that brought together architects, government officials, and community members to share their own vision and to develop a plan in which all groups were invested.

Today, the company owns and manages 13 redeveloped historic properties in downtown Providence and is a partner in ownership of 3 additional downtown properties. Of the 16 projects, 10 are mixed-use, with commercial on the lower floors and residential above. Together with its partners and key city leaders, Cornish has redeveloped and reused historic and largely abandoned buildings, as well as built place-appropriate new structures in key locations. In total, Cornish has developed 438 residential units and more than 120,000 square feet of commercial space in downtown Providence.

Westminster Lofts, Cornish’s property management division, oversees the daily needs of 13 the properties, including the residential leasing.

Beyond development and property management, the Cornish team provides support to the downtown community in other, less traditional ways. InDowncity, its marketing and communication group, is dedicated to supporting the small businesses in the district through robust social media outreach and the hosting of large-scale events throughout the year.

Recognized as experts in urban design, the Cornish team is committed to the visible in the company’s planning, design, and management services. This penchant for attention to detail and devotion to preserving the character established decades before in a thriving downtown, has attracted restaurants and retail establishments, visitors and residents, and importantly, other investors, into the city’s core. 

What is New Urbanism?


Buff’s vision for a thriving downtown Providence and belief in the power of collaboration has transformed an area of blighted buildings into businesses and residences and a true neighborhood.

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