Gym, barbershop planned for Douglas Avenue

Gym, barbershop planned for Douglas Avenue

The owners of this property at 1164 Douglas Ave. are looking to add a gym and barbershop.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A local company is looking to develop a new gym and barbershop in a vacant former manufacturing space at 1164 Douglas Ave., near Geneva Pond and just up the road from Shaw’s.

The proposal, for the 2,085-square-foot front area of the property most recently housing Service Tech Inc., would need a special use permit for legal nonconforming use, said Building Official Mike Carnevale. The Zoning Board needs an opinion from the Planning Board on the proposal’s consistency with the comprehensive plan, so the Planning Board will discuss an advisory opinion on Dec. 12 and the Zoning Board will hold a public hearing Dec. 20.

“I think it’s a good fit down there,” said Carnevale on Monday.

The back of the 14,000-square-foot building would be retained as six bays for rental.

K & K Investments Inc. purchased the one-acre property for $400,000 a year ago, according to the town’s real estate database. It is valued for tax purposes at $559,100.

Town Planner David Westcott said the space was previously used for plating and other manufacturing uses.

Property owner Nicole Guadagni filed the application for the owners, but an independent tenant would run both the gym and barbershop.

According to the owners, it’s been very difficult to find tenants for this building located in a manufacturing zone. A variance would allow the beneficial use of the property by giving the owners the ability to attract a different type of tenant, they say.

The gym would take up 1,723 square feet of space, while the barbershop and waiting area would fill another 340 square feet, according to the proposal.

Westcott said the property owners have invested some money into the facility, but “the building has languished.” It will be up to the owners to make their case for the variance to allow uses that are not normally permitted in that district.

“I don’t see a mad rush to manufacture there,” said Westcott, adding that he doesn’t foresee a major issue with granting the request.

There have long been mixed views about what the Geneva area of town is, said Westcott, with some wanting a more traditional commercial village feel, others wanting more general commercial uses such as the Shaw’s store, and still others advocating for a return to manufacturing or heavy industry. Detroit Collision has expanded and D’Agostino Auto Sales & Service have thrived here, but there are also diners and ice cream shops.

“It’s an interesting place where the town has mixed views on what uses should be applied there,” said Westcott.