PAWTUCKET – Numerous aspects of the planning process for the Tidewater Landing project are moving forward this month, as details of what’s promising to be a transformational development begin to crystallize.
The City Council last week introduced proposed zoning modifications and a master plan, referring them to its subcommittees and to the City Planning Commission and Riverfront Commission. The Riverfront Commission was originally scheduled to hear the conceptual master plan on Monday, but that was postponed to this Thursday, Jan. 14. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hearing zoning modifications and the master plan on Jan. 19 prior to the City Council committees taking up the proposed modifications.
A timeline from developer Fortuitous Partners, presented in a pair of community meetings last week, shows construction on the soccer stadium portion of this riverfront project getting started in the fourth quarter of this year, and work on the rest of the development and public infrastructure improvements, eventually to include a pedestrian bridge over the Seekonk River, in the first quarter of 2022.
A master plan is a conceptual land use site plan defining general components and is intended to guide long-term implementation of a project. It defines orientation, required improvements, identification of access points, parking, etc.
Brett Johnson and Fortuitous Partners, chosen as the winner of a request for proposals process in December 2019, are planning to transform Pawtucket’s waterfront with hundreds of thousands of square feet of new residential, office, restaurant and retail development, anchored on the west side of the Seekonk River with a new multi-purpose stadium that will be home to Rhode Island’s United Soccer League Championship professional soccer team.
The project will also include an indoor event center and hotel, which will further bring activity to the downtown area, says Johnson. Public amenities on the riverfront include public parks, a pedestrian bridge, linear river walks on both sides of the river, public plaza spaces and parking.
A proposed Riverfront Tidewater Zone, or RTW, is for the area along the riverfront. It would be a hybrid of existing riverfront mixed use zone and commercial downtown zone. Allowed uses proposed for Tidewater Landing include a stadium, event facilities, multi-family residential, commercial office, restaurants, retail shops, and parking. It also sets dimensional requirements for structures within the zone to meet those proposed at Tidewater Landing. Six Tidewater Landing properties are proposed to be rezoned as RTW.
According to a memo from Assistant Director of Planning Jay Rosa, the RTW zoning ordinance amendment is designed to facilitate redevelopment of underutilized properties in a way that generates significant economic impact while still maintaining the benefit of the river amenity through public access, beautification, stormwater management best practices, and environmental resiliency.
The project, said Rosa, aims to connect to the broader commercial downtown to create greater impact.
According to Rosa, the most significant design flexibility achieved with the proposed zoning ordinance amendment is the ability to build taller, the ability to construct multiple structures on a single parcel, and the ability to situate parking on both sides of the river, or within a walkable distance through public and private parking options.