Cranston Plan Commission gives initial approval for 130-unit housing development

THE CRANSTON CITY PLAN Commission has approved the master plan for a mixed-use, 130-unit building at 1381 Cranston Street. / COURTESY OF THE CRANSTON CITY PLAN COMMISSION

CRANSTON – The Cranston Plan Commission has approved the master plan for a 130-unit, mixed-use development with self-storage space on the site of the former Cranston Print Works facility.

The applicant, CPW True Storage LLC and CPW Apartments LLC, is proposing to convert the existing mill complex into a multifamily apartment complex with self-storage units. The commission voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve the project.

“The city has been eagerly waiting to see this redeveloped for a long time, so this is an exciting time,” said Jason Pezzullo, planning director. “To actually get a master plan approval is a milestone.”

Located at 1381 Cranston St. on land spanning 4.2 acres, the site housed active businesses until the early 2000s, but over the years the complex has gone in disuse, reaching what Pezzullo called a “state of disrepair.”

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“The clock is ticking,” Pezzullo said. “It’s our last chance to get someone to reinvest into the property.”

There have been some attempts to redevelop the area over the years, but this project is the first to make it to the approval stage. New Hampshire-based Brady Sullivan Properties – the company behind the application – has a good track record, both locally and regionally, of turning mills into “fantastic sites that people love,” Pezzullo said.

“I’ve been here since 2005,” Pezzullo said. “And this is the third time developers have come to make a pitch for the site. But this the first time that anyone with a real track record has come to really do this.”

The proposed development currently includes a total of 129 units: five three-bedroom, 94 two-bedroom and 30 one-bedroom units. It also includes 270 parking spaces, including 258 allocated to the multifamily apartments and 12 for self-storage and mini-storage.

Pezzullo said the commission is very excited about the project, which will simultaneously address the area’s rental shortage while also allowing parts of the historic building to be preserved. The applicant will apply for historic tax credits from the state, as it plans to preserve some of the most iconic elements of the complex.

In order to build residential units in the area, currently zoned M-1 for restricted industry use, the applicant requested a zoning change ordinance to allow for residential use, which the commission also unanimously approved. The ordinance will now go before the Cranston City Council for approval.

Pezzullo said the applicant is hoping to break ground at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025 depending on the pending zoning change, historic tax credit application and the further approvals needed at the preliminary stage level.

“The idea of saving the complex, really obtaining some historic preservation of the most sensitive features … there’s a lot of value in that,” Pezzullo said.

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com.

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