Town asked to abandon two roads for development

Town asked to abandon two roads for development

An aerial view shows the two town streets - Utica Street and Martin Avenue - that could be added to a newly reshaped commercial development on Mineral Spring Avenue.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The town should soon be down a couple of streets as a developer is looking to use them as part of his plan for a new commercial project.

Michael Grieco Jr., owner of 1601 Mineral Spring Ave., a multi-tenant building that previously held the Ken Wok Chinese restaurant fronting on Mineral Spring, was set to go before the Town Council on Tuesday, Aug. 11, seeking the abandonment of Utica Street and Martin Avenue, two short streets running on either side of his property.

Utica Street measures about 220 feet, connecting Mineral Spring Avenue with Dutchess Avenue, while Martin Avenue runs about 240 feet, running parallel with Utica and also connecting Mineral Spring and Dutchess.

Mayor Charles Lombardi said prior to Tuesday’s meeting that he has no problem abandoning the two streets.

“I don’t foresee it as an issue,” he said.

What would typically happen with a request for abandonment, he said, owners on either side of the street in question would be given the option to buy half of it. But in this case, he said, Grieco owns the commercial properties on either side of 1601 Mineral Spring Ave.

One important consideration is whether an abandonment will impact public safety, added Lombardi, and he doesn’t see that being an issue here. Neither one of the streets gets a lot of use, he said, and residents of the neighborhoods behind the property can access Mineral Spring in numerous other ways, including Taft Avenue and Lee Avenue nearby.

The town’s property database lists both abutting properties as belonging to Grieco and his 1601 Mineral Spring Avenue LLC. To the left of the Ken Wok property is a cleared parcel being marketed for new development and to the right is the recently completed plaza containing Pizza Hut, Tropical Café, and Coco Nail Spa.

Lombardi said the plans for Grieco’s latest development are “pretty nice.” Grieco was scheduled to present the layout and site plans to back his case for abandonment at Tuesday’s meeting.

A small benefit of losing the two short streets, said Lombardi, is that the town will no longer have to maintain them, including paving and plowing.

With almost no room for new development in town, said Lombardi, officials have to try new methods such as this for attracting new investment and bringing in more tax dollars from the business base.

The Breeze reported last September that Grieco was meeting with the Planning Board about the potential development at 1601 Mineral Spring Ave. He sought advice at that time on how to best reconfigure the building on the 57,000-square-foot property, which has businesses run backward from Mineral Spring Avenue, fronting on Utica Street, to instead have more frontage on Mineral Spring. Road abandonment was mentioned as an option at that time.

According to Grieco, many drivers passing by Ken Wok on Mineral Spring don’t even realize there are other businesses behind it.


MSA doesn’t need anymore commercial development, the town still has plenty of empty commercial space