Updated March 30 at 6:25pm
real estate

I-195 Commission sets schedule for development plan pitches


PROVIDENCE - Two groups interested in building on the former Interstate 195 land will pitch their ideas to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission this month, Commission Chairman Colin P. Kane said Monday night.

The two parties, whose identities were not disclosed, are among seven who have expressed interest in the land since it was made usable by the removal of the highway overpass, Kane said. After the first two presentations Jan. 29, pitches from the remaining groups will be scheduled two per meeting.

The I-195 Commission has yet to take ownership of the land - 21 buildable acres plus 14 acres of parks - and is a long way from choosing developers or buyers. But the commission Monday scheduled the presentations in response to the growing list of inquiries that have filtered in, either directly, through the city or through the real estate community.

Kane said the nature of the proposals vary from a small parking lot to “huge” concepts for the whole district. The names of the first two presenters will be released once they have agreed to make their pitches publicly, he said.

In addition to the presentations Jan. 29, the commission expects to re-authorize a sale of bonds, issued by the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, it needs to acquire the property from the R.I. Department of Transportation.

The bonds are expected to be purchased and sold to investors by Sovereign Bank, according to commission legal counsel Charles F. Rogers, partner with Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

Also on Monday, commission members agreed to hire a real estate market expert with experience in corporate site selection to advise them on where demand for the land would be strongest and how best to market it.

An estimate for the cost of the consultant was unavailable but Kane said it would “not be an inexpensive job.”

And the commission Monday also authorized hiring two companies - Rhode Island Snow & Ice Co. Inc. and Yardworks - to handle snow plowing and landscaping respectively on the I-195 land while it sits fallow.

The two companies were the low bidders among six bids, commission member John Kelly said, but dollar amounts were not made available.


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