PAWTUCKET/EAST PROVIDENCE – The developer behind plans to reshape the Narragansett Park Plaza off Newport Avenue has told city officials they plan to submit updated master plan materials by late summer. The proposed modification will reflect project changes needed to the ongoing challenging environment.
The scope of the proposal is expected to be amended based on tenant needs and demand for commercial space post-pandemic, representatives told the City Planning Commission at a May 17 meeting.
At that meeting, commission members got a status update on the project at 675 Beverage Hill Ave. in the form of a letter from the Carpionato Group stating that phase 1A of the project has commenced with construction of a new retail structure containing Taco Bell. The owner has also negotiated lease agreements with existing and potential new commercial tenants, including Planet Fitness.
Because that phase of construction was complete, the applicant made the case that the approved master plan for the project remained vested and valid, and Assistant Planning Director Jay Rosa agreed based on his interpretation of the law.
At the May 17 meeting, Carol Simpson of nearby Simpson’s Pharmacy said she has noticed interior renovations for several existing structures that were originally intended to be demolished as part of a wider project detailed on the approved master plan. She also questioned whether proposed intersection modifcations for Newport Avenue are still being contemplated.
A Carpionato representative then confirmed that intersection modifications intended to enhance access to the commercial plaza are still proposed and will be warranted as commercial activity increases.
No vote was taken at that meeting.
The Breeze reported in February that plans for the so-called lifestyle center at the Narragansett Park Plaza were still moving forward, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for architectural plans for apartments at the mixed-use complex.
Plans at one point called for almost a complete tear-down of most existing buildings in the plaza to make way for a Chapel View type of development spanning acreage in both Pawtucket and East Providence, but many of those structures have been left in place and upgraded. Officials also expect a new grocery store to replace the former Super Stop & Shop on the Pawtucket side of the complex.
The Pawtucket City Planning Commission last May approved a one-year extension on a master plan approval for the project first given in the spring of 2019.
Original plans for the plaza included 118,770 square feet of office space, 72 residential units, and 240,770 square feet of retail/restaurant space, but those square footage totals are expected to shift dramatically when new plans are revealed to account for shifting demands.