In one of the biggest construction loans of the decade in New England, Fleet National Bank is arranging a $260 million loan for a 1.3 million- square-foot shopping mall in downtown Providence, R.I.

The unit of Fleet Financial Group Inc. has fully underwritten the five- year term loan to Commonwealth Development Corp., which is building Providence Place Mall, and Dresdner Bank is expected to take a $130 million piece of the loan.

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