Former Prov. mayor sees potential in Newport Grand
BETTING ON IT: Developer and former Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr. says he doesn’t gamble and that the Newport Grand project would be solely a real estate venture for him.
COURTESY PAOLINO PROPERTIES
By Patricia Daddona PBN Staff Writer
While perhaps best known for his stint as Providence mayor, Joseph R. Paolino Jr. has been a presence in the state’s real estate industry for several decades. He’s currently managing partner at Paolino Properties, a development and real estate firm who’s portfolio includes several downtown Providence properties.
Paolino recently partnered with developers Peter de Savary and Paul G. Roiff in an attempt to introduce table games to Newport Grand. The plan is contingent on voters approving a ballot referendum in November. The trio would then also acquire and renovate the facility.
PBN: With all the development you’ve done over the years, this is your first venture in gaming. What was the attraction for you personally and for the partnership?
PAOLINO: The attraction was, one, Newport. Newport is a wonderful brand. I live there in the summertime and having something where I live is important to me. The second reason is my partnership with Paul Roiff, who owns 15 Beacon St. Hotel in Boston, and Peter De Savary, who has been in this [gaming] business before.
The third reason is the challenge of it. After going through the due diligence of showing it around [for other clients who were developers in the past], I recognized the place is tired, and that if it were closed down people would lose their jobs. And I felt if I put together the right team that we could fix it up, save those jobs, create more jobs, have it become attractive looking and be financially successful. But gaming is foreign to me. I don’t bet on the Superbowl, I don’t gamble. To me it’s a real estate venture. I want to make it into an entertainment center – a lot more than just gaming.
PBN: Newport Grand revenue has been declining in recent years. Why do you think table games are the answer to the casino’s struggles?