City Centre to bloom?

Ground broken for 214 Class A apartment complex on Post Road

Posted 5/23/24

Ground was officially broken Wednesday for construction of what developers believe is the largest private Warwick project in recent years.

The first of two Class A apartment buildings with a …

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City Centre to bloom?

Ground broken for 214 Class A apartment complex on Post Road


Ground was officially broken Wednesday for construction of what developers believe is the largest private Warwick project in recent years.

The first of two Class A apartment buildings with a total of 214 units on a 6.5-acre site abutting the on ramp to the Airport Connector from Post Road is scheduled to open in July 2026 with the second the following month said Mark Seck vice president  of development for Wood Partners. Wood Partners bought the property from Skydra Development  a subsidiary of Schiavo Enterprises of Dedham, MA. The two companies have worked cooperatively on the zone change and permitting of the complex estimated at $65 million.

The site was once an enclave of single-family homes known as South Hillsgrove. The homes were bought more than 25 years ago to make room for redevelopment of the area in keeping with the hotels, restaurants and retail of the area. That didn’t happen. Instead, it became off-site parking for the airport.

Now, however, residential use of the property will return. With no sign of an abatement in the demand for housing, developers of  the four-story apartment complex with a combination of one, two and even three-bedroom units are confident the people will come. And it’s going to be high end. Seck said a property of this size and quality hasn’t been built in Rhode Island for at least the last 30 years. The complex is designed with a center courtyard with fire pits and lounging areas and includes, full size gym , work from home suites, grand lounge with games, TVs and fireplace, dog spa, resort style swimming pool and private resident garages.

“This is a fully amenities apartment building,” said Seck. He said this would be the first Wood Partners project in Rhode Island. The company has built 3,300 apartments in Massachusetts and according to the Wood Partners website  has a portfolio of more than 20,000 apartment units in 20 cities. The company builds apartments as well as manages them although that won’t be the case here. Seck estimated that at the height of construction five to seven supervisors would be overseeing sub contractors and upwards of 100 workers would be on the job.

Expectations are that the complex will become another footing in the decades-long vision of Warwick City Centre.

Robert (Rob) Schiavo, owner of Skydra, is a believer of the dream that the convergence of rail, air and the interstate in Warwick offers an ideal location for the growth of a down town with hotels, retail, offices and residential.

“I’m hoping it is opening the floodgates to more (development),” he said in an interview Saturday. Schiavo plans to be a part of it. He is looking at surrounding properties for the development of amenities that would include shops and services in support of residential development.

Looking at the bigger picture, Mayor Frank Picozzi points to the redevelopment of the former Sheraton Hotel into housing, possible development of the adjoining “dead  empty lot,” plans for two hotels south of Chelo’s Restaurant, redevelopment of the former Carvel lot and Ann & Hope plus new construction and the repaving of Post Road.

“We’re on the march. It’s like a snowball. Post Road was desolate and all of a sudden, it’s blossoming,” he said.

Yesterday Schiavo along with Seck,  joined Warwick officials to ceremonially breaking ground for the development.

“We dabble in multi-family (housing),” Schiavo said describing how Wood Partners has not only played a role on financing the project but will also oversee construction and management the development .

Attorney J. Joseph Shekarchi, who shepherded the project through the city application and permitting processes, lauds the development for addressing housing needs that he has made a pillar of his legislative agenda as Speaker of the House. From the perspective of a Warwick Representative, Shekarchi pointed out that the apartments return the site to city tax rolls in addition as a catalyst to growth in City Centre. The Rhode Island Airport Corporation bought the LAZ  parking lot in 2016 for $3 million thereby eliminating it as a competitor to its own long-term parking. Within the last year it sold the lot with a provision it not be used for airport parking to Skydra for about $3.3 million. In turn Wood Partners bought the property from Skydra..

The city won’t realize the full benefit of additional tax revenues for some years.

Schiavo said the City Council zone change placing the project within the intermodal zone played an important role in enabling the development. The zone allows developers of projects valued at $5 million or more to apply for a delayed schedule – Schiavo called it a “tax treaty” - in setting the appraised value of the property. For the first five years the property is valued for tax purposes as undeveloped. On the 6th year, 90 percent of the assessed value would be exempted from the higher taxes with that percentage dropping annually by 10 percent until the 15th year when the full assessed valuation would kick in.

Schiavo was highly complementary of the city administration for the professionalism and alacrity with which it processed the Skydra applications and permits.

Referring to renewed interest in Post Road, Picozzi said, “What’s going on Post Road is very exciting. Nothing like this since the development of Route 2.”

Seck fully agrees.

“This area is really going to take off,” he said.


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