Carpionato struggling to land new tenants at old Benny’s

Carpionato struggling to land new tenants at old Benny’s

SMITHFIELD – If it seems that the filling of new spaces at the redeveloped former Benny’s on Putnam Pike has ground to a halt, it’s because that’s the reality, say the developers behind the project.

Kelly Coates, representing Carpionato and answering questions on another development in Pawtucket last week, revealed some regret at completing construction of new spaces in Smithfield before having leases signed and said the company is trying to avoid the same scenario in Pawtucket.

Coates told the Pawtucket council that his thinking has always been that if you “build it, they will come,” but that philosophy hasn’t quite worked out at the former Benny’s on Putnam Pike in Smithfield. He told the council that he’s been “stung” a bit on the “stunning” Smithfield project, where there are still no spaces officially leased and no agreements to announce.

Carpionato had originally planned to announce some tenants more than a year ago, then pushed that back to February of this year. Coates confirmed to The Valley Breeze & Observer this week that the company has lost some prospective tenants for the Smithfield spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic is being felt across the Rhode Island-based company’s projects, he said. Carpionato, like many companies, was forced to do layoffs.

Carpionato typically tries to stick with the same tenants on multiple redevelopments of old Benny’s stores, said Carpionato. Companies listed as joining on with recent developments include Dollar General, Ace Hardware, Harbor Freight and O’Reilly Auto Parts.

“We pick guys and we run with them,” Coates told the Pawtucket City Council of Carpionato’s regular business partners.

Coates told councilors that he expects infrastructure to be completed for the front four parcels of the planned redevelopment of the Narragansett Park Plaza by Sept. 1, 2021, but not all four buildings along Newport Avenue.

Trends are showing tenants during the pandemic leaving “questionable” areas and flocking to quality developments, Coates told Pawtucket officials.