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MapmanNo1

IN PROGRESS: Centre of New England

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Universal Properties is continuing development of the Centre of New England site in Coventry, West Greenwich, and East Greenwich. QUOTE: "It's taking a blighted (sand pit) and turning it into a Garden of Eden. It's a no-brainer." - Town Council member Frank Hyde [ProJo.com]

In 2000, the Sierra Club of RI listed CoNE as one of their "Nasty Nine" for sprawl.

It's easy to blast this project, but does anyone know the history of this? Why are the towns (seemingly enthusiastically) letting themselves become the new Route 2?

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Universal Properties is continuing development of the Centre of New England site in Coventry, West Greenwich, and East Greenwich. QUOTE: "It's taking a blighted (sand pit) and turning it into a Garden of Eden. It's a no-brainer." - Town Council member Frank Hyde [ProJo.com]

In 2000, the Sierra Club of RI listed CoNE as one of their "Nasty Nine" for sprawl.

It's easy to blast this project, but does anyone know the history of this? Why are the towns (seemingly enthusiastically) letting themselves become the new Route 2?

because those towns are (as the councilman said) blighted?

i think they're happy to have jobs in those towns. i know people (college-aged people that is) from coventry and WG who work on rt 2 because there's nothing nearby. it also gives them places to shop that are closer (some guy was thrilled at having new big boxes in johnston so he doesn't have to drive the 15 min to smithfield crossing or rt 2).

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Omg, "blighted sandpit."??? How bout a blighted landscape of Walmarts Home Depots and BJ's? That's pretty blighted. Short-sighted ignorant politicians at their best...

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It's easy to blast this project, but does anyone know the history of this? Why are the towns (seemingly enthusiastically) letting themselves become the new Route 2?

Taxes, taxes, taxes.

I don't know what the real answer is, but part of the problem is taht a lot of local programs are not on the state budget and the state does not give aid to the towns, so they have to fund themselves. And why have residents go five minutes down the road to give money to the town of Warwick when they can make sure to get the $$ for themselves. You know, until the future maps of RI have downtown PVD, the bay, and a contiguous line of big stores running from border to border.

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i might be mixing up stories here but about 4 years ago or so (maybe more) this project's developer was persona non grata with a lot of towns because of some sort of tax evasiony thing. Does anyone remember this? i knew that Cambio was unwelcome in West Warwick at the time that West Warwick was considering leveling their entire downtown area of Arctic, and there was a series of stories in the Journal about how many other towns Cambio owed money to...Am i confusing this project with some other awful project? It is ocertainly possible...i'm too tired to go searching through the archives at Projo.

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When are they gonna be finishing this? this has been going on since at least 2001... other than the restaurants, i don't like it. It's nice to have a denny's or an applebees to stop at during a long road trip, but the BJs is just stupid sprawl.

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As Brick said, taxes are a big, big reason why smaller towns tend to do this.

I grew up in a tiny, rustic town in New York that had these battles over development as well, and the worst, most exploitive sprawl developments tend to have the following elements working for them:

1) Taxes, as above...

2) Six degrees of separation: In a small town, even if the government representatives have no direct benefit from these projects, they or their (wife / daughter / son / mistress / clergy / biggest contributor / cousin / mechanic / country club member / campaign manager / etc) knows someone like a (any of the above / contractor / welder / landscaper / franchise owner / reporter / chef / blacktop company owner / heavy equipment owner / lawyer / etc) who has a good reason to really want that development to happen...

3) The big tiiiime...: In small, insulated towns, there really, really is the belief that having that (Walmart / Kohl's / Outback Steakhouse / Starbucks / Panera / Target / etc ) just like their rival (small town / nearby city / sister-in-law who has everything / etc) has will really, finally put them on the map and everyone will have to notice them, respect them, and take them seriously. "We have an Appleby's now, damn it!"

My $0.02, for what it's worth...

- Garris

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I grew up in a tiny, rustic town in New York that had these battles over development as well, and the worst, most exploitive sprawl developments tend to have the following elements working for them

Garris and Brick, I agree with you. But in addition to wanting taxes, status, and convenience, do these towns also want character? Look at what's happening in Tiverton, where townspeople have spoken out again and again against two different mini-Centre of New England-type developments at the Fish Road exit on Route 24. Sure, Tiverton could use the tax revenue and retail convenience, but town identity has been a big issue at all those Planning Board meetings. (For a sample, see here and here).

Are Coventry and West Greenwich so starved for tax revenue that they are willing to give up all of their potential control over character and design? The ProJo article I linked to makes it sound as if the towns are all but thanking Universal for developing this project. Why does it seem like everybody but the Sierra Club is praising this development?

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It's ironic, cause West Greenwich just had this huge open space for preservation purchase, didn't they?

This is what I don't understand. Even just five years ago, there was a Home Depot only in Warwick on Route 2 (for the south of Providence market). Now there's one in North Kingstown, Coventry, a Lowe's in Warwick, one in Cranston and now another being built in Warwick. Where is the market for all of this? The area hasn't grown that drastically in the past five years, so aren't all of these stores just going to hurt themselves. I remember when the NK Home Depot opened, the manager at the Warwick store said they're sales dropped like crazy. What's the point? How many friggen ginormous home improvement stores do we need. And Walmarts?

And can we pleeease stop calling developments like these "mixed use" There's a bigggg difference between smart growth, traditional mixed use and this kind of mixed use, and I'm afraid that the general public will not know the difference and start thinking that these developments are good for an area. Just yesterday I saw a sign for some sprawling peice of crap being built on Route 2 in East Greenwich that read "[insert stupid-a$$ name here]: a mixed use development." Just because you have a bunch of big boxes surrounded by parking lots with some suburban style condos next to them doesn't mean you have a TRADITIONAL mixed use development. Developers are using this as a buzz word that is very deceiving. Mixed use should remain a term used only for places like downtown East Greenwich, Newport, or any of our states urban communities, not for places like Centre of New England.

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And can we pleeease stop calling developments like these "mixed use" There's a bigggg difference between smart growth, traditional mixed use and this kind of mixed use, and I'm afraid that the general public will not know the difference and start thinking that these developments are good for an area. Just yesterday I saw a sign for some sprawling peice of crap being built on Route 2 in East Greenwich that read "[insert stupid-a$$ name here]: a mixed use development." Just because you have a bunch of big boxes surrounded by parking lots with some suburban style condos next to them doesn't mean you have a TRADITIONAL mixed use development. Developers are using this as a buzz word that is very deceiving. Mixed use should remain a term used only for places like downtown East Greenwich, Newport, or any of our states urban communities, not for places like Centre of New England.

What, a Appleby's and Wendy's doesn't constitute mixed-use? You've got your sit-down "restaurant" and your drive-thru "restaurant." Throw in a BJ's and you've got a village. :D

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But in addition to wanting taxes, status, and convenience, do these towns also want character?

Are Coventry and West Greenwich so starved for tax revenue that they are willing to give up all of their potential control over character and design?

Coventry IMO doesn't really have any character. It's basically the burbs of West Warwick and the town is in trouble because of the families with young children moving into the new cookie-cutter housing, which is popping up all over (ex: Hunters Crossing). Edit: The schools need more $$$!!!

I hate the CNE but Cov. has nothing to lose...

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Coventry IMO doesn't really have any character...

That's a problem with these developments too... Many of these rustic suburbs gained what little commerical and retail they have in the 50's to 70's, so they already tend to have mini-Route 2's on their main streets filled with cinderblock strip mall developments.

So you'll often hear residents say things like, "Hey, it may not be Rodeo Drive, but Kohl's will look a lot better than that strip plaza on main street already does, so it'll be fine!"

Many of these residents themselves moved there not because these areas had so much character, but because land or square footage was so cheap. Therefore, a "lowest common denominator" ethic tends to prevail, with the feeling they can't expect too much from what other people do in their community as well. "Hey, we shouldn't complain too much about how bad that Walmart will look. I mean, look at what we did. Where else can you buy a 4 bed, 3 bath house for $215,000? I'm sure Walmart is thinking the same thing with their costs..."

- Garris

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Omg, "blighted sandpit."??? How bout a blighted landscape of Walmarts Home Depots and BJ's? That's pretty blighted. Short-sighted ignorant politicians at their best...

that makes no sense either

it will be an asset for the area

atleast there are jobs and activites in an area that WAS a blight

ever been there? it looked like a giant MOAB bomb hit right off rt 95

whats with all the walmart hate? its not the best store but atleast you can get some home goods there cheap

and thats definitely an amenity for an area... dont be so angry.. life's too short...

and ya know what... im glad its all in one big store it stops me from driving all over the place to buy one little thing each thats marked way up from like 20 different little stores

:-)

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that makes no sense either

it will be an asset for the area

atleast there are jobs and activites in an area that WAS a blight

ever been there? it looked like a giant MOAB bomb hit right off rt 95

whats with all the walmart hate? its not the best store but atleast you can get some home goods there cheap

and thats definitely an amenity for an area... dont be so angry.. life's too short...

and ya know what... im glad its all in one big store it stops me from driving all over the place to buy one little thing each thats marked way up from like 20 different little stores

:-)

Yes I have been there. I'm not going to get into the Walmart hate, that's way too long an explanation. And being an amenity? Getting peice of sh!t products for not even that cheap prices in the long run, that's no amenity. If you actually shopped at the different little stores you mention, you'd find you get much better quality and often just as inexpensive prices, especially when we're talking about local stores like meat markets, etc.

And as usual, my gripe is not even really with the economics behind this, but rather the physical form. Sure, jobs are great. Do we really want this activity in a formerly rural area though? And is this the best physical design? NO! Sure it's perfect for a massive sprawling development, if that's what we want.

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Yes I have been there. I'm not going to get into the Walmart hate, that's way too long an explanation. And being an amenity? Getting peice of sh!t products for not even that cheap prices in the long run, that's no amenity. If you actually shopped at the different little stores you mention, you'd find you get much better quality and often just as inexpensive prices, especially when we're talking about local stores like meat markets, etc.

And as usual, my gripe is not even really with the economics behind this, but rather the physical form. Sure, jobs are great. Do we really want this activity in a formerly rural area though? And is this the best physical design? NO! Sure it's perfect for a massive sprawling development, if that's what we want.

I do like the Cracker Barrel! Ok, another point of view without spewing more Walmart hate. At least, they are including residential in this development. This is actually a new concept in Rhode island. This gives it a chance to develope into a high density residential center rather than a Route 2, Route 6 or Route 1. It is on a major highway, thus not effecting all the local roads and it also leads to residential density for future possible transportation movements; ie, light rail, express bus.

Mark

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I do like the Cracker Barrel! Ok, another point of view without spewing more Walmart hate. At least, they are including residential in this development. This is actually a new concept in Rhode island. This gives it a chance to develope into a high density residential center rather than a Route 2, Route 6 or Route 1. It is on a major highway, thus not effecting all the local roads and it also leads to residential density for future possible transportation movements; ie, light rail, express bus.

Mark

there's looking on teh bright side of things! :P

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What, a Appleby's and Wendy's doesn't constitute mixed-use? You've got your sit-down "restaurant" and your drive-thru "restaurant." Throw in a BJ's and you've got a village. :D

:thumbsup:

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Just when I thought I was the only one of us that didn't hate Wal Mart...

I don't like the development. That being said, Cambio didn't get his wish to level historic downtown West Warwick and build a Best Buy, and I think a Supercenter will be a successful business and big box has to go somewhere. So I guess its good for Coventry and there's nothing we can really do besides cry about it. So I say "let it be."

Plus it will give us something to look at besides the ET water tank while we're clocking the measured mile on the way back to the city from Misquamicut Beach. :shades:

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Just when I thought I was the only one of us that didn't hate Wal Mart...

I don't like the development. That being said, Cambio didn't get his wish to level historic downtown West Warwick and build a Best Buy, and I think a Supercenter will be a successful business and big box has to go somewhere. So I guess its good for Coventry and there's nothing we can really do besides cry about it. So I say "let it be."

Plus it will give us something to look at besides the ET water tank while we're clocking the measured mile on the way back to the city from Misquamicut Beach. :shades:

any other big box is better than a walmart. why not target?

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any other big box is better than a walmart. why not target?

There's a Target less than 5 miles away on Rte. 2 where Lechmere used to be.

Maybe it would have been a good spot for Costco to break into the RI market. Someone on this board had good things to say about that company, but I've never been to one.

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I do like the Cracker Barrel! Ok, another point of view without spewing more Walmart hate. At least, they are including residential in this development. This is actually a new concept in Rhode island. This gives it a chance to develope into a high density residential center rather than a Route 2, Route 6 or Route 1. It is on a major highway, thus not effecting all the local roads and it also leads to residential density for future possible transportation movements; ie, light rail, express bus.

Mark

There's lot's of residential on Route 2 as well, but it's still sprawling apartments surrounded by parking spread out from eachother. This is no new concept at all.

P.S. I love Cracker Barrel too. I with they were in Providence.

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There's a Target less than 5 miles away on Rte. 2 where Lechmere used to be.

Maybe it would have been a good spot for Costco to break into the RI market. Someone on this board had good things to say about that company, but I've never been to one.

and there's a walmart in the RI mall... and another one on the post rd. there are alraedy too many walmarts in this state.

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and there's a walmart in the RI mall... and another one on the post rd. there are alraedy too many walmarts in this state.

and we have had a COSCO i think. I suppose it might have been in Seekonk but i did have a COSCO card in the late 80's, early 90's, pre Sams Club.

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and we have had a COSCO i think. I suppose it might have been in Seekonk but i did have a COSCO card in the late 80's, early 90's, pre Sams Club.

closest costcos are in avon, dedham, waltham, and everett... all over 30 min from providence (more like 45 min with waltham and everett about an hour).

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and big box has to go somewhere.

It already has gone somewhere, every exit off 95 between the Route 4 split and Boston. When do we reach the point when we have enough?

P.S. I love Cracker Barrel too. I with they were in Providence.

Cracker Barrel has a terrible social record, I would not set foot in there.

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