Dexter Street Commons

A rendering for the Dexter Street Commons commercial and residential project at 71 Dexter St. in Pawtucket shows what it was once proposed as. Developers are now rethinking the project.

PAWTUCKET – As details on a revamped plan for a new riverfront soccer stadium are hammered out amid rising costs, other projects appear to be facing similar questions.

Lee Peyser, founder and CEO of the Peyser Real Estate Group and developer behind the Dexter Street Commons mixed-use project at 71 Dexter St., said he’s one of those watching the Tidewater stadium project with interest to see how it proceeds.

Peyser said he’ll have a better idea on the status of his project, once tabbed at some $43 million, after he meets with Commerce Director Sandra Cano and Planning and Redevelopment Director Bianca Policastro on June 17 “to talk about where we are.”

Peyser said developers are facing some definite headwinds in getting the project done, just as is happening everywhere right now.

“It’s a difficult and stressful time,” he said, adding that they still want to build the project, and their thoughts about Pawtucket and Central Falls haven’t changed at all. “We’re very interested in seeing this come to fruition.”

Lots of work went into planning for the future of this entire area around an upcoming new train station on the Pawtucket/Central Falls line, Peyser said, and all of that is still valid. Everyone from the mayor on down continues to be very attentive and great to work with, he said.

“We’re working really, really hard to close these gaps,” he said of his own company’s work to deal with funding shortfalls.

Peyser said everyone’s going through a lot of “value engineering exercises” right now, including developers behind the Tidewater stadium.

Price fluctuations and supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc, he said, meaning buying in advance and locking in pricing are a must to make sure the needed financial returns are there. Prices of lumber are down, Peyser said, but costs for many other materials are up some 20 percent. He said if one can’t source materials, it’s a serious problem.

This whole current situation with many developers started with COVID and trying to understand what the new paradigm was going to be, said Peyser, including whether workers would eventually be going back to the office (a mixed commercial/residential project near a train station depends heavily on people commuting to work).

Peyser said he continues to take a long-term view of things, and his overall sentiments haven’t changed.

“We still want to be there and we’re still committed,” he said.

City officials say they continue to work with all developers to get their projects to completion. Emily Rizzo, spokesperson for Mayor Donald Grebien, acknowledged that several other projects remain stalled in the immediate area of the stadium and train station.

Developers behind the renovation of the Beswick Building, 3 Exchange St., told The Breeze that they’re still several months away from having more concrete answers on the future of that mixed-use project. Rizzo said the last contact officials had with the owners was about a mural they wanted to incorporate into the project, located at the Exchange Street gateway to the city.

At The Times Building, 23 Exchange St., there are still no official proposals for the five stories of empty space, said Rizzo, though a couple of people have expressed interest in the proposed project.

Rizzo said projects everywhere are experiencing similar issues, particularly around supply chain problems and cost hikes. If costs are rising as much as 30 percent on some materials, she said, as is the case at Tidewater, value engineering has to take place to cut those costs.

(1) comment

Tim 1952

Well they had no problems at all diverting something like $1.8 million from the city budget, granting an immediate use zoning variance and giving city property away so a guy could erect a gaudy offensive statue of William Blackstone literally just a few miles from where another of the same man has stood for decades. Why don't they just use the same brilliant city planning to get all this done?

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