EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – The East Providence Waterfront Commission has continued to work hard during the COVID-19 pandemic to assure that we conduct business as usual. Despite a global economic shock that has resulted in a 32 percent downturn in nationwide residential construction during February and March, activity at Kettle Point in East Providence remains strong.
Utilizing a remote, virtual meeting format at its April 16, 2020 hearing, the Commission approved the application of Kettle Point Apartments, LLC to modify the last phase of its development with a multi-million dollar project. This latest development will consist of 12 townhomes in two buildings that overlook Squantum Woods.
The Waterfront Commission engaged Amy Goins of Ursillo, Teitz & Ritch to provide guidance on the open meeting aspects of this hearing. The meeting was duly advertised in accordance with the recently amended Open Meetings Act issued by Gov. Gina Raimondo on March 16, 2020 and allowed for public review and testimony on this proposal.
Construction at Kettle Point is currently in progress at Building 5, a 41-unit apartment building that is the last of five, four-story Class A apartments at Kettle Point. When completed in the next several months, Jason Kambitsis, senior vice president of Acquisitions and Development for Irwin, Pa.-based A.R. Building Co Inc., anticipates that crews will continue with construction of the new $2.4 million townhomes. Units in both the townhomes and the apartment building include one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts in response to market demand. Construction of the Kettle Point townhomes should take between 8 to 10 months with all construction complete by March 2021.
Kambitsis thanked the Commission for proceeding with a remote meeting format that will enable construction during this construction season. His firm is pushing strong in Rhode Island to look beyond the current economy and provide jobs for the local workforce. Of the 39 subcontractors hired to date for this project, 20 are from Rhode Island. Construction is continuing, following all state and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding cleanliness and social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some supply chains have been disrupted, his firm is making arrangements to stay on track.
Churchill & Banks is also continuing with construction of high-end duplexes at Kettle Point. As of December 2019, 42 of the 62 approved condominiums were occupied. Of the eight units currently under construction, four are under contract. Richard Baccari, chairman of Churchill & Banks, anticipates that Kettle Point construction will be wrapped up by mid-2021, a slight delay over previous projections.
Waterfront Commission Chairman William Fazioli believes that the efforts of the Commission and staff during these very challenging times will provide a much needed spark for East Providence’s and Rhode Island’s economy.
“The ability to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances will favorably position the city and state as the COVID -19 crisis recedes,” Fazioli said.
“Business and government continuity during a time of crisis is not only vital to our city, but it’s vital to our economy as a whole,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said. “Businesses, such as A.R. Building Co. Inc., are adapting to the new realities of this pandemic economy and forging ahead in a safe, responsible manner that will continue to spur investment and economic development in our city.”
Kettle Point is a 49-acre, mixed-use development on the site of a former petroleum tank farm. Upon completion, this property will include a total of 290 housing units along with an 88,000- square foot, state-of –the-art facility (University Orthopedics). The project also provides several public amenities including a new extension of the Urban Coastal Greenway walking path, an expanded parking lot for the East Bay Bike Path and a renovated 600-foot pier extending out to Narragansett Bay. Construction at Kettle Point began in 2015 when the total property taxes derived from the property amounted to just $69,000 as compared to more than $1.1 million in 2019. For more information on Kettle Point please see the presentation here.