Officials: Luxury apartment project could be game-changer

Officials: Luxury apartment project could be game-changer

A mix of luxury apartments and commercial space could be coming to a vacant piece of property at 45 Division St., left, next to a new medical complex at right. (Valley Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)
Plan adds living, commercial space to Division Street property

PAWTUCKET - City officials say a plan to bring 200 luxury apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space to vacant land at 45 Division St. is the big score the downtown has been waiting for.

Dylan Zelazo, chief of staff to Mayor Donald Grebien, said officials are "very excited" about the potential development from the East Providence-based Peregrine Group.

The Peregrine proposal, though not completely analyzed yet by a panel charged with reviewing it, fits with a past market analysis commissioned by the Pawtucket Foundation calling for more residential and commercial development, said Zelazo. The mix of housing and commercial space would be located on more than 15 acres of land alongside a medical and physical therapy complex being built across from the new Pawtucket River Bridge.

If this proposal is finalized, said Zelazo, the city stands ready to aid Peregrine by developing new ways to access areas like local parks and the downtown.

Colin Kane, partner with the Peregrine Group, told GoLocalProv last week that his company was planning an "exciting" project of 200 apartments and extensive commercial space for this area on the riverfront. Kane did not respond to calls for comment.

Zelazo said city officials love the idea of luxury apartments with desirable waterfront views and "beautiful" look at the Pawtucket River Bridge.

Zelazo previously confirmed for The Breeze that Peregrine officials were not planning a hotel as part of the project. He called the luxury apartment project an "ambitious" one and a potential "game-changer" for the city.

"Everybody from the mayor to the council to the Riverfront Commission made it really clear through the whole process that they're looking for this proposal to be more than your average commercial development," he said.

The Peregrine Group is also behind the pending move of Pet Food Experts into the Chester Building on Main Street, another signal that the company is ready to invest heavily in Pawtucket.

Representatives for the Tai-O Corp. told The Breeze last year they were planning a hotel as part of a draft proposal for 45 Division St. that they never ended up submitting to the city.

There have long been questions about the viability of another hotel near the waterfront, as the city's only hotel, the Comfort Inn, is located just up the street from 45 Division St.

Local officials last year sought proposals for the site of a previously failed hotel project that landed the city in court. Peregrine ended up being the only company to submit a proposal, as the Tai-O Group and Apex Development backed out.

City officials and representatives from the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and Pawtucket Foundation have been putting plenty of resources into figuring out how to improve the riverfront area to make it more of an attraction, said Zelazo. Improvement projects at the Town Landing and Festival Pier, as well as planned improvements at the former Tidewater power plant site across the river from 45 Division St., certainly help the cause.

Improvements to public recreation spots on the waterfront and the addition of major developments like apartments and the medical center should help turn years of "hope" for the waterfront into "something tangible," said Zelazo, hopefully "driving development" for the entire downtown area.

"Certainly the whole thing has the potential to start building off itself," he said.

Efforts to redevelop the 45 Division St. site were renewed by city officials after a three-year legal dispute with a prior proposed hotel developer ended back in 2012.

City officials took back the property in 2009 after representatives for Carpionato Properties failed to complete construction of a 100-room hotel within a 48-month timeframe. Pawtucket had a strong "reverter clause" that allowed officials to take back the property.

A Hampton Inn was originally intended to be the centerpiece of a major waterfront redevelopment initiative on the Division Street land awarded to Carpionato for just $1 in 2004. Along with the 100-room hotel, Carpionato also originally agreed to eventually build another 100 hotel units, a restaurant and office building.

Comments

"luxury" on Division st??? Rigggghhhhhhttttt, soon luxurious....

Very interesting, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and the Pawtucket Foundation have been putting plenty of resources into improving the river front area to make it an attraction. Where were they when the a trucking company was pushing to move on the river front at the end of School Street? Nonexistant!!! Oh that is right, the attorney for the trucking company is a part of the Pawtucket Foundation and the truck company won. I bet a ton of people will pay huge money to live on Division St. to watch traffic and trucks go by. What a joke.

That won't happen. People are leaving this state more and more. Things are not getting better.