Five Questions With: Thomas Sweeney

Thomas Sweeney is the principal and chief appraiser at Sweeney Real Estate & Appraisal, based in Providence, an independent firm that focuses on commercial real estate leasing and sales. He spoke this week to the Providence Business News.

PBN: We last interviewed you two to three years ago, when the economy was slow. Describe how the commercial market is shaping up so far, at the end of the first quarter of 2018. What is moving quickly, and what’s still not moving?

SWEENEY: The general trend these days is lack of inventory, and that’s across the board. Apartments are always in demand, particularly on the East Side of Providence. There is a definite lack of good, quality industrial space in the 20,000- to 40,000-square-foot spaces that companies are looking for, with high ceilings. Most people would like 20 feet.


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PBN: Is the development activity in Providence affecting leases or sales of smaller commercial spaces in the city? Is it acting as any kind of magnet for other purchases?

SWEENEY: From a regional and national perspective, Providence is back on people’s radars. Anywhere you have development, it has a positive impact on everything around it.

PBN: Describe a significant sale in the past year that people may be unaware of.

SWEENEY: We were involved with the sale of the former Sports Authority building on Route 2 in Warwick. It’s a tale of the changing nature of retail. We had offers that started at $3 million and ended up at $2.2 million [for the sale].

PBN: Describe a significant lease in the same time frame. What attracted the company or business to that location?

SWEENEY: The most interesting was a lease of 1275 Wampanoag Trail [in East Providence]. This is a 35,000-square-foot office building. We put four tenants into the building.

PBN: What are some interesting listings you now have? Give us an idea of what’s now on market.

SWEENEY: In Cranston, we have a 25,000-square-foot industrial warehouse with high ceilings that is getting a lot of action. Also, in Cranston, we have the former Bank Newport on Pontiac Avenue. It’s a relatively new bank building, on a corner with a traffic light. That’s an opportunity for someone to come in there and [convert it to another use].

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at