Waterfront development gets all the attention in East Providence, but the latest large residential project approved by the city would rise from the woods and subdivisions near the Massachusetts line.
City planners in late November approved a master plan from Driscoll Development LLC of Warwick to build a 308-unit rental-apartment complex on a former sand-and-gravel pit off of Wampanoag Trail.
The project, named Wampanoag Meadows, is slated to break ground in the spring and would include 15 apartment buildings, 15 garage buildings, a community center and indoor pool.
If built as planned, Wampanoag Meadows would be the largest residential project completed in East Providence since Winchester Wood off Pawtucket Avenue in the early 1990s.
“Some of the waterfront development gets the spotlight, but this is certainly a benefit to the city,” said East Providence Planning Director Jeanne Boyle.
In design and target market, Wampanoag Meadows should look a lot like the 552-unit Briarwood Meadows complex off Quaker Lane in Warwick, which Driscoll Development completed in 2006.
Each of the 15 apartment buildings would be three stories tall with units divided evenly between one bedroom and two bedrooms. Rents would be all market rate.
“The rental market has improved dramatically since 2008,” said Driscoll Development principal Paul Driscoll. “Rentals are where people are looking.”
The 56-acre property where Driscoll plans to build Wampanoag Meadows has been identified for development for several years, but previous efforts were slowed because of the recession.
Other developers had looked at building condominiums, Driscoll said, but the property came on the market in 2009 when the condominium market was in the middle of a prolonged plunge.
Wampanoag Meadows joins Churchill & Banks’ Kettle Point development planned for the waterfront off Veterans Memorial Parkway as large East Providence rental projects originally conceived as condominiums. Kettle Point is also approved and expected to break ground soon.