Fox Point parcel could become corporate HQ or condo building

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — A vacant plot of former highway land in Providence could become a corporate financial services headquarters with apartments or a mixed-use luxury condo building.

Two developers pitched their ideas Wednesday night to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission for Parcels 8 and 8A, a section of land at the corner of South Main and Pike streets, in between the current I-195 and the new apartment-grocery project that’s currently under construction.

One of the developers, Jordan Durham of D + P Real Estate, says he’s already secured a company that wants to build their corporate headquarters on the land, which would employ 150 workers. He declined to identify the company, but told 12 News it’s a financial services firm with “significant roots” in Rhode Island, and is owned by a publicly traded company.

About half of the proposed $ 50 million development would be occupied by the 65,000-square-foot corporate headquarters with a ground-floor café, while the other half would consist of 69 apartments, 26% of which would be “workforce housing” below market rate , Durham said. The project would have 169 parking spaces for both the corporate workers and the apartment tenants.

D + P Real Estate is also the developer constructing the apartment-grocery building next door, which Durham said is opening in October. (The grocery tenant is widely expected to be a Trader Joe’s, though neither Durham nor Trader Joe’s has officially confirmed the news .)

The proposed corporate headquarters and apartment building for Parcels 8 and 8A on the 195 land.

The 10-story condo building, which Baccari described as an “upscale living opportunity” would include 52 units. The other developer, Richard Baccari II of Churchill & Banks, is proposing a $ 77 million mixed-use condo development with both commercial and retail tenants. , and the project would include 278 parking spaces.

Baccari said the larger number of parking spaces would serve not only the tenants in the new building, but also tenants in the adjacent apartment building at 580 South Water St., which the firm also owns. He said it could provide some public parking for the area once the grocery store opens next door, as well.

The proposed condo, commercial and retail development for Parcels 8 and 8A.

Baccari told 12 News he has one local tech company lined up for the office space in the building, and said the firm has 15 employees but is looking to expand to 50 workers. Another commercial tenant and two restaurants are also interested, he said. He declined to name any of the businesses.

“Once the bid is awarded to us I would be willing to talk to Mr. Durham’s tenant,” Baccari joked, referring to the undisclosed corporate headquarters.

He said the proposal includes condos for sale — rather than rental units — because of high demand for properties to buy in Providence. He noted a large number of rental apartments have already been approved for construction in the area.

While the 195 Commission’s original goal was to create a science, technology, medical and educational hub on the old highway land, the most recent sales have been plots for apartment buildings.

This time around, for Parcels 8 and 8A, the commission included a requirement that the project have at least 25,000 square feet of commercial space.

Caroline Skuncik, the executive director of the 195 District, said the commission also for the first time required a minimum sale price of $ 3 million. Prior plots of land have sold for much less; Parcel 6, the apartment-grocery store right next to Parcel 8, sold for just $ 100,000.

Target 12 reported last fall the sluggish sales meant the state had only recouped $ 1 million of the $ 43 million borrowed to purchase the land when the highway was moved.

195 Commission chairman Bob Davis said public comment on the two proposals for Parcels 8 / 8A would be accepted at the commission’s July meeting, when there will also be a presentation from the commission’s consultants and a report on parking and traffic.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence, politics and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.