Live, Work, Play - City Amends plans from “Retail” to “Mixed Use” in Tired Rumford/Pawtucket Plaza
Innovative Development from Carionato Group widely praised
The East Providence city council voted to amend its Comprehensive Plan from a zoning requirement of just "Retail" to a broader "Mixed Use." At its August 21st meeting the council approved a request from the Carpionato Group to develop the mostly vacant Narragansett Park Plaza in Rumford. The parcel used to house the former Narragansett Racetrack and a now vacant Stop & Shop super store. Kelly Coates, president and chief operating officer at the Carpionato Group, urged the City Council approve a series of requests from the company as it seeks to redevelop the sprawling commercial property on the Pawtucket/East Providence line. Coates and other company executives told the council that the project would rival its highly successful Chapel View in Cranston, RI. The transit-oriented site at the Pawtucket/East Providence line would be “a different version” of what’s been accomplished in Cranston, with varying demographics, but also “exactly the same,” said Coates. "Chapel View, a 420,000 square foot lifestyle center, located in Cranston, Rhode Island. Since the debut of the first phase in 2008 and through subsequent phases, Carpionato Properties has crafted an enchanting village, creating the vibrant mix of retail, first-class office space and exclusive high-end condominiums," said company press releases.
Details involve 119,000 square feet of office space, 240,770 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a drive-through restaurant and 70 residential units. "It certainly is working in Cranston, where the Chapel View lifestyle center is one of the most vibrant mixed-use developments in the state," said Coates. "Chapel View has never lost an office tenant, and rents are higher than every office in downtown Providence," he said. In Cranston, office tenants are treated to garage parking and secure access to spaces, all with great surrounding amenities companies are looking for. The 470,000-square-foot development is responsible for creating some 1,000 jobs on site, said a company statement.
"The transit-oriented site at the Pawtucket/East Providence line would be “a different version” of what’s been accomplished in Cranston, with varying demographics, but also “exactly the same,” said Coates. Coates mentioned the proximity of the Newport Avenue location to the South Attleboro train station and nearby Route 95 access.
The parcel of land in question is 22 acres in size with 14.4 acres located in East Providence. It is a joint development needing the approval of both Pawtucket and East Providence. The developer now has approval from both cities to proceed. The proposals required approvals in the city Comprehensive Plan, Map rezoning and text language.
The approved uses for the development are:
1) Three-family dwelling* and multi-family dwelling;
3) Sportsmen’s club;
4) Salesroom for display of motor vehicles, trailers,
building supplies, boats, or machinery: (2) With
storage and repair facilities;
5) New or used motor vehicle sales lot shall be
limited to the display of a maximum of ten (10)
6) Retail services for employees as detailed in
19-364, business/technology development;
7) Sale of business and/or industrial equipment and
8) Wholesale showroom: (2) With Storage and repair
9) Wholesale distribution or warehouse, excluding
10) Automotive repair shop;
11) Animal or veterinary hospital or kennel;
12) Business or industrial services: (2) With storage
and repair facilities;
13) Child day care centers;
14) Data processing centers;
15) Gasoline filling stations;
16) Amusement game centers;
17) Radio, television or wireless telecommunication
towers and antennas
18) Communication services and broadcasting offices;
19) Industrial trade schools
"A mixed use center allows people to work where they may also want to live and shop and dine out," said Coates. "It is a concept that is catching on everywhere." The zoning changes apply to just this project and not the entire city at once. However, other sites may apply for and use this model as a template for development.
No one spoke against the proposal while several in the council audience were approving. The owners of Simpson's Pharmacy spoke before the council and voiced concerns about traffic pattern changes and how they may affect their business located across the street from the proposed development. "We aren't negative, we support this plan. We just want to protect our long time business," they said.
The plan still has a few minor approvals to ascertain but is essentially approved.