Five Questions With: Charles Lombardi

Charles Lombardi is the mayor of North Providence, which recently listed two of its municipal properties for sale or lease. The town hasn’t listed the vacated sites with a commercial broker, and instead is directing inquiries to the mayor’s office.

The former public safety complex, at 1967 Mineral Spring Ave., and the former Marieville Elementary School, at 1135 Mineral Spring Ave., are available. The public safety complex was appraised at $2.5 million recently, he said. The former school is valued at $1.4 million. Lombardi spoke to the Providence Business News this week about why he hopes the town secures long-term leases.

PBN: Are these properties listed for sale?

LOMBARDI: Yes. There are signs on the property, for sale or for lease. We’ve received a few calls in the last week or so. Some people have already been in to take a look. To be honest with you … I’m hoping that I can get a long-term lease. I think it would be more beneficial to the town.

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PBN: Why?

LOMBARDI: I think, so we sell them. My business sense says, so we get a one-time financial hit. I’m of the mindset that I would really like to protect the town for years to come, [by] getting a continuous revenue stream.

PBN: Do you have an estimate of what they could generate?

LOMBARDI: The police and fire complex is 3 acres on Mineral Spring Avenue. That’s not available anywhere. They’ll need some updating, but the police and fire building is not bad at all. The public safety building next door is in great shape. Again, there is plenty of parking. My vision is maybe a medical facility. The downstairs, where the police and fire trucks were housed, needs partitions. Maybe this could be a medical facility. I’m looking for someone who is going to come into both of these properties and be a tax benefit for the town.

PBN: Why are these buildings available?

LOMBARDI: Three years ago, we went out to bond. I thought it was the right thing, to address our educational needs. We didn’t wait for the state to pass its educational bond. We went out and built two new elementary schools. We did all the safety updates to our other schools, which allowed us to [advertise for sale] the Marieville School. That school is right at the off-ramp of [Route] 146 to Mineral Spring.

PBN: What could be the purpose for that, another school building for a charter school?

LOMBARDI: Listen, I don’t have a problem with a charter school or a private school coming in there, as long as they pay us taxes.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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