October 3, 2008

Condo Site May Become Home of New Supermarket

By Richard C Dujardin

Developers have dropped plans for a condominium complex on the five-acre parcel on Mineral Spring Avenue across from North Providence High School.

NORTH PROVIDENCE -- Plans by a pair of developers to build 42 luxury condominiums at a five-acre site behind the Knights of Columbus hall on Mineral Spring Avenue have fallen by the wayside.

But if the Town Council agrees, the property could become the home of a new supermarket.

Edward Civito, the town's director of planning, yesterday confirmed that Kevin O'Sullivan and Edward Imondi, who won preliminary approval from the Planning Board in August 2006 to build 42 duplexes and condominiums on the site that was once home to a salvage yard, have decided not to build.

"Isn't the reason obvious?" Civito said, referring to the plunge in the housing market, which has particularly affected sales of condominium units in North Providence over the last couple years.

The site was the location of the former ABC Bus Co., a North Providence-based bus line that provided service in northern Rhode Island as well as Taunton, Worcester and Boston before its owner, Charles Bargamian, was forced to cease operations. The land was a salvage yard for many years, as a non-conforming use in a residential zone before O'Sullivan and Imondi bought the property.

Operating under the name Fox Field LLC, the developers cleared away the debris and, after getting a nod from the Zoning Board of Review to erect a multi-residential development, put up a sign on Mineral Spring Avenue across from North Providence High School announcing it as the new home of Spring Meadow Estates.

But the sign is all that remains of what was supposed to be a $10- million project.

Early last month, the development firm Churchill & Banks went before the Planning Board seeking preliminary approval for the construction of 40,000-square-foot retail store, initially described on the agenda as a Stop & Shop market.

The developers need a zone change from the Town Council, since only the front portion of the land is zoned for commercial.

Former Town Solicitor Robert Ciresi, a lawyer for Churchill & Banks, said the initial description of the proposed store as a Stop & Shop was at least premature, and that all the developers intend is to build a grocery store if they get the needed zone change.

The Town Council is not planning to hold a hearing on any pros- pective zone change at its meeting 7:30 Tuesday night. But Ciresi says he does plan to go before the council that night to inform members of his clients' intention to file a zone change request.

G. Richard Fossa, chief of staff to Mayor Charles Lombardi, said the administration generally takes a "pro-business" approach, but that he believes the mayor will want to see more details as to what the developers have in mind before taking a public stand.

Julie Pollock, the sales agent who was to market the condominiums, confirmed yesterday that O'Sullivan and Imondi have dropped the plans to build the condominiums. O'Sullivan was not immediately available.

The site was the location of the former ABC Bus Co., and later, a salvage yard.

A developer's plan to build 42 luxury condos across from North Providence High School have fallen by the wayside. Instead, a new developer is proposing a 40,000-square-foot supermarket on the five- acre site. The Providence Journal Richard C. Dujardin [email protected] / (401) 277-7384

Originally published by Richard C Dujardin, Journal Staff Writer.

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