(Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series exploring the progress of East Providence’s 10-year effort to redevelop its waterfront and what it might mean for a similar effort underway in Providence.)
It’s all happening quickly at the former East Providence oil-tank farm known as Kettle Point.
On the market with modest interest a little over a year ago, the 48-acre Providence River site is now under agreement with local permits for a 407-unit apartment complex and a $9.4 million tax-increment financing deal to help pay for infrastructure and the remaining chemical cleanup.
Without any major setbacks, Kettle Point developer Churchill & Banks of Providence hopes to break ground on the project before the onset of winter.
“We had a short leash to get it permitted and [the seller] BP was amazed at how quickly it happened, that a small, local company could get it done,” said Richard P. Baccari II, principal of C&B Kettle Point, LLC Development. The latter is a Churchill subsidiary focused on residential redevelopment of abandoned property. “Basically we are well ahead of where even I thought we would be.”
Real estate plans like these often collapse as quickly as they’re hatched, but as it stands, Kettle Point is now poised to become the largest success in East Providence’s decade-long effort to redevelop its industrial waterfront.
The most southerly of eight special planning areas under the jurisdiction of the East Providence Waterfront District Commission, Kettle Point aims to be the first nonsenior residential project completed in the district since the much smaller Ross Commons condominium complex in 2004.
That would give it a head start on the neighboring Village on the Waterfront development, which has been stuck in a lengthy environmental cleanup and waits for improvement in the condominium market.
Churchill & Banks wasn’t the first developer attracted to building market-rate housing at Kettle Point.