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IN PROGRESS: Chapel View (Sockanossett School)

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$75-million development to open first store in spring

BY BARBARA POLICHETTI Journal Staff Writer | January 13, 2005

CRANSTON -- Undaunted by winter weather, pickup trucks, backhoes and bulldozers churn up and down the sloping land at the corner of Route 2 and Sockanosset Cross Road as they continue to transform the former state Training School for Boys into an upscale development that will combine retail shops, office space and high-price condominiums.

They work against a backdrop of four distinctive buildings from the old training school -- three stucco dormitories and a stone chapel -- that will remain on the historic site and be integrated into the development.

The roughly $75-million project being undertaken by the Carpionato Corp. has been in the works for almost six years, but the extensive demolition work is now complete and construction and restoration work is well under way, company officials said this week.

Kelly Coates, a senior vice president with Carpionato, said that traffic design changes to Route 2 and Sockanosset Cross Road are finished, some of the roadways within the project are almost done and the first store -- Shaw's Supermarket -- will be open by early spring.

The opening of stores, offices and condos will continue throughout this year and 2006, he said.

The Carpionato Corp. is still recruiting tenants for the development, which will be called "Chapel View," according to Mark Briggs, director of leasing.

The name was chosen, Coates said, to underscore the importance of the Training School's old chapel as a focal point of the development. The hilltop chapel is being restored down to its stained glass window and will get a second life as an Italian trattoria, with a patio for alfresco dining.

While Carpionato Corp. is still in talks to find a restaurant chain for the site, two others are signed on: the retro Johnny Rockets and the rustic Ted's Montana Grill, owned in part by media mogul Ted Turner.

Also, Briggs said, Carpionato Corp. is in talks with a number of nationally-known retailers.

In all, Coates said, there will be 240,000 square feet of retail space, 80,000 square feet of office space and 55,000 square feet of residences.

Carpionato Corp.'s plans call for three former dormitories to be linked by new construction that is complimentary in style. The buildings will house stores on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and apartments or condominiums -- replete with balconies and dormers -- on the third floor.

The chapel will be augmented by the rebuilding of the old infirmary building that used to be adjacent to it, Coates said. The extra space will allow the trattori to have an Italian deli and market.

The site will also have several new free-standing buildings, including the Shaw's Supermarket which is relocating from across the street.

One of the largest new buildings will be built on the northern corner of the 30-acre site. The five-story building will have service-type businesses on the bottom floors, while the top floors will be reserved for luxury condominiums that Carpionato officials estimate will have a market value of between $350,000 and $1.5 million.

Coates said that the company is preserving history at the former training school site, which he says will have a village-like feel. And, he said, it is investing in architectural and landscape details that will make the development a "showcase project."

Other features will be an underground garage, a fieldstone footbridge, a tunnel passageway beneath one of the buildings and thousands of feet of hand-placed stone wall that replicate the wall that surrounded the school grounds.

"The City of Cranston worked hard with us on this project," Coates said. "They had a vision and hopefully we are making it a reality."

The progress of the project has been watched by many people -- not only because the site is at a busy intersection -- but also because it is across the street from the popular Garden City Shopping Center.

The proximity to Garden City, with its posh shops, is a plus according to Carpionato's marketing literature.

And if it seems like the Chapel View project has taken a long time -- first proposed around 1998 and having undergone many revisions -- it has, Coates said.

Not only did the plans have to be revisited by the city numerous times, he said, but because it is a historic site, exterior design details must also be reviewed by the Cranston Historic District Commission and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission.

Cranston Planning Director Kevin Flynn said that under the site plan review process, the city will continue to be involved in the project as each step is completed.

"We've had a few bumps in the road, but I think that from what we can see so far, the quality of the project speaks for itself," Flynn said yesterday. "We look forward to the rest being completed so we can see the realization of what was first shown to the city years ago."

From The Providence Journal

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Tonight (or should I say this morning) I noticed for the first time that not only can you see the Providence skyline easily but if I'm correct, I believe that it just so happens you can see the Newport bridge from there as well. I don't know how that escaped me for so long but it has gotten me to understand the name of the development a little bit more (and how they're planning on getting so much for condos). This is purely speculation but I think Carpionato may have hit oil on this location and others may take notice. If I'm correct then I wouldn't be surprised if this area could end up as a high class/urbanized/bedroom community sort of area in the near future. I'm not saying overnight but if this project flies nearly as well as I'm anticipating then it could start a trend. Hopefully.

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RIPTA really needs to make sure to have good bus service for this area. A concentrated population of people are great potential customers for buses to work and entertainment in the city.

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I agree. The sad part is though, I doubt the concept has made it much further than this forum. You have the fact that most of the early tenants in this area are not exactly bus riders. Most of the use would probably be for people coming into the area, and with all the talk of cuts to RIPTA, it would seem that they may be more focused on what to keep then what to add. What I would love to see someday (someday), would be for rail service out from the city and down all of route 2. Something seperate from the line to T.F. Green. If you think about it, where is there more development and more need for urban relief to suburban congestion than along route 2? All the way through Reservoir and Bald Hill till you get to the East Greenwich border where Brooks is building their new HQ. From there you could just run a line to Quonset Point and connect the whole thing south of Providence. Add to that some tax incentives for high density, pedestrian-friendly development near stops (Look at what's going on in Warwick on Jefferson blvd. in anticipation of the station and sometime I should bring up the Leviton factor) and we could see the sprawl contained and see growth refocus. Wow, I got off topic in a way. What I'm getting at is that this and other current projects going on in the state (Royal Mills, T.F. Green Station, etc.) have the potential of growing outward within their communities and creating an impressively urban metro area with out having to wait for spill-over from Providence to reach outward.

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What I'm getting at is that this and other current projects going on in the state (Royal Mills, T.F. Green Station, etc.) have the potential of growing outward within their communities and creating an impressively urban metro area with out having to wait for spill-over from Providence to reach outward.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

True. We also have the redevelopment of the East Providence waterfront, and many things happening in Pawtucket spreading urbanity outside Providence.

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True. We also have the redevelopment of the East Providence waterfront, and many things happening in Pawtucket spreading urbanity outside Providence.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Speaking of Pawtucket, I was driving to Boston yesterday and noticed two good size cranes just west of 95 near the Mass border. Any idea what these are doing?

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I supposed I should change the name of this thread to 'Chapel View' but that really kind of makes me gag.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm sorry, aside from the reuse of old structures and the presense of a residential building, this looks just like any other upscale suburban "retail village." Am I missing something?

- Garris

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I'm sorry, aside from the reuse of old structures and the presense of a residential building, this looks just like any other upscale suburban "retail village."  Am I missing something?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No.

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You're right Garris. ITs a glorified shopping center with some housing in it. Still has huge parking lots and big boxes set way back. It annoys me that they call it "mixed use" at all.

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Let's get this topic back up there. It's really progressing. You can see how their connecting the buildings on New London Avenue. I hope they start work where those huge blocks of cement are-and have been for 3 months- very ugly looking.

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Let's get this topic back up there. It's really progressing. You can see how their connecting the buildings on New London Avenue. I hope they start work where those huge blocks of cement are-and have been for 3 months- very ugly looking.

What the hell are those big cement blocks anyhow? It looks like they are building an overpass for a giant highway or something.

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What the hell are those big cement blocks anyhow? It looks like they are building an overpass for a giant highway or something.

I was passing that area today for the first time in months, and thinking the same thing. What the hell is that??

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I have sooo little interest in this development that even thinking about it slows my heart rate and respirations...

Wake me when it's all done...

- Garris

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chapel views website posts Providence's 2003 population at 222k :lol:

That's Cape Cod's 2003 population.

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