Berkeley Mill project gets town approval, 
but units limited to one bedroom

Berkeley Mill project gets town approval, 
but units limited to one bedroom

Jason Macari, owner of the Berkeley Mill, on Martin Street in Cumberland, shows the newly renovated hall and floor inside of the building. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)
Macari promises brewery will be ‘nice feature’ for Cumberland

CUMBERLAND – The new and improved Berkeley Mill on Martin Street will be an amenity all of Cumberland can be proud of, says owner Jason Macari.
The Planning Board last Wednesday unanimously approved an overlay district for the mill, making it possible for Macari to add both a planned brewery and residential units.
Addressing a concern from some town officials on rising school enrollments, the board limited the residential units in the building to one bedroom only.
Scott Partington, attorney for Macari, was open to the limit on residential units in part because he understands that the Town Council will also be looking for the same limit on the number of bedrooms, said Jonathan Stevens, the town’s director of planning and community development.
The developer said he’s not sure yet how many residential units he’ll create, but said he’s fine with the one-bedroom limit because he prefers a loft style apartment anyway.
Macari told The Breeze he was happy to get the initial approval and hopeful that the Town Council will follow suit in getting any concerns addressed and approving the plan.
Also of concern at the March 28 planning meeting, said Stevens, was the matter of whether there will be enough parking on site. In the end, he said the board was comfortable that “this is kind of a unique lot to itself” and it’s “hard to imagine they would do something that would cause problems for parking.”
Macari has a mill and three or four out-buildings, and to overtax available parking is not in his best interest, said Stevens, particularly with the only logical option for overflow parking being on Martin Street.
Allowing developers such as Macari the easiest path forward on redevelopment of their existing spaces by expanding the list of acceptable tenants is “just the right thing to do” as a town, Stevens said.
Macari estimates that his mill is about 75 percent full of commercial tenants at this point, including his company, Baby Delight.
The draft ordinance approved by the Planning Board for the “Berkeley Mill Mixed-Use Special District” last week specifies a microbrewery as one of the allowed uses in an Industrial-1 (I-1) zone.
Macari, with help from his son, plans to develop a brewery in one of the three out buildings at the 1873 mill. Cumberland’s only brewery would be a “nice feature” for the town. He plans to incorporate food to make it more of a destination, but plans to focus on brewing and not make it a full brew pub. The brewery will have contemporary elements, with a gray and black color scheme, while also paying tribute to the mill’s industrial past, he said. It will have a “nice environment,” with music helping make it a fun place to hang out.
The Macari family does a lot of traveling around to various breweries and beer festivals, and opening a brewery would be a dream come true, said Macari.
Early options for the name of the brewery include “Ocean State Brewery.”
The developer said he’s in the process of finalizing two new tenants and is actively talking to a number of other tenants.
Macari says he intends to invest another $10 million to $15 million into his mill over the next decade.
A listing for Macari’s 240,000-square-foot Berkeley Business Center at the mill hails it as “the most exciting development project in northern Rhode Island.”
“The building will include a new passenger elevator, glass front entrance, all new windows, and funky brick and beam-type space on a campus-like setting,” it states. It’s marketed as having easy access from Mendon Road and Route 295.

The front of the old Berkeley Mill in Cumberland. The mill was built in 1873 for cotton processing but is now being converted to office space.
The newly renovated offices of Peeled Snacks are now inside of the Berkeley Mill in Cumberland.