EAST PROVIDENCE — Rumford Center, the site of the successful renovation of the former Rumford Baking Soda Company grounds, will soon be expanded with the addition of a multi-unit residential apartment complex.
According to chief planner for the city Diane Feather, the structure being constructed presently is a five-story, 68,000 square foot wood frame building, which will house 80 residential apartment units with amenities for tenants. Those amenities include a community room, fitness center, rooftop terrace and clubhouse. The planning board gave its approval of the project back in April of this year. Peregrine Group LLC, housed at the same Rumford Center location, is the project developer. The new residences will bring the total available on the property up to 193.
Construction at the new site is well underway, the concrete foundation having been completed a few weeks ago. According to Jordan Stone, a partner in Peregrine, the elevator shaft is nearly finished. The structure will go "vertical," meaning framed, in the coming weeks. Mr. Stone said the target date for occupation is September 1, 2017.
The mixed-use Rumford Center complex, which was opened in 2008, already houses four buildings of apartments as well as commercial and retail space like Seven Stars Bakery, Avenue N Restaurant and 212 Fitness Center among other businesses.
"Things have gone well, but they've been especially strong the last five years," Mr. Stone explained. "We have a waiting list for the residences and we've consistently had a waiting list over time. Now, it's not a long list, but when units become available, we've been able to fill them up very quickly. We've been very lucky with that."
Rumford Center has been at the forefront of the city's plan to engage developers in the construction of mixed use properties. The extension there adds to the list of like projects currently underway, including the Kettle Point and Village on the Waterfront developments located on Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Echoing the sentiments of other developers, Mr. Stone said the city's location to downtown Providence makes it an ideal place to build mixed-use properties. Rumford Center, specifically, had enough available land to offer residents free parking and easy access to the surrounding area.
"I also think the amenities are important. The addition of 212, Seven Stars and Avenue N have solidified the communal aspect of Rumford Center," Mr. Stone said.
The new apartments have studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. The amenities include two open areas, one being a first floor community room, a "club" room, the outdoor deck on the fifth floor, a fire pit area and a fitness center.
The exterior of the building will be a combination of brick and corrugated metal, which Mr. Stone said will "echo" the existing structures though still differentiate it from the others. The new building is situated on the northerly side of the property off Newman Avenue. The section was one of two left on the parcel available for development. Mr. Stone said the last area where potential construction could take place would be on the southerly side of the property facing Greenwood Avenue. He said no decision has been made as to when or if a development would take place there.
"Coming to East Providence has been a very good thing for us," Mr. Stone added. "I can't say enough good things about the people here, about (Planning director) Jeanne Boyle, Diane Feather and the entire planning department staff right through to the fire department and building department. It's been a very good relationship."
— Photos by Rich Dionne
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