125-room Hyatt hailed as newest City Centre development
As Michael D’Ambra noted Wednesday, there are times in life when you can be in the right place but at the wrong time.
That’s where D’Ambra was when he came up with a plan to develop more than eight acres on Jefferson Boulevard, home of his construction business and an asphalt and concrete plant, into a multi-million development of offices, retail and a hotel more than a decade ago.
His plans required a change in zoning and other permit approvals that were endorsed by the City Council, but D’Ambra’s dream remained just that. He couldn’t line up tenants for his proposed development.
That’s changed, and yesterday, on a lot cleared of the D’Ambra home office next to the InterLink rental car and parking garage, D’Ambra was joined by Mayor Scott Avedisian, Governor Gina Raimondo, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Representative James Langevin, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation to break ground for a $23 million 125-room Hyatt Place.
This is now the right place and the right time, said D’Ambra.
According to Glenn Ahlborg of Ahlborg Construction Corp., steel has been ordered and the off-site fabrication of pre-cast floors has started. He said the frame of the hotel would rise this summer. Completion is projected for next year.
Improved economic conditions have helped, but also has legislation, tax stabilization agreements and, in the opinion of U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Green Airport and its potential with a longer runway to offer transcontinental and international flights. Reed called the airport a major “catalyst” for the redevelopment of the 90 acres dubbed City Centre by the city administration. The senator also disclosed he has been working to have Amtrak make a stop at InterLink that currently provides MBTA commuter service.
Gov. Gina Raimondo called the Hyatt “part of the whole puzzle, part of the broader plan for revitalization. It’s not just Warwick that’s on the move, it’s Rhode Island that’s on the move.” She said that in the past year the state has brought in more than a million square feet of development and thousands of new jobs.
“We’ve invested $65 million into 20 projects through the rebuild program. Together these projects represent over a half a billion dollars,” she said.
Raimondo also credited Warwick Representative and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi with spearheading legislation that provides many of the incentives that enabled the D’Ambra project.
The project will receive up to $3.5 million under the statewide tax-increment financing program, approximately $1.2 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits and more than $300,000 in a sales tax exemption on construction materials. Additionally, D’Ambra received approvals from the city for a tax stabilization agreement (TSA), which will freeze value of the property for taxation purposes at the pre-construction assessment for five years. HarborOne Bank is providing the financing for this project.
“If we look back 10 years, there was an asphalt concrete plant here, we had contaminated brown field sites next door and across the street, and so bit by bit the remediation has taken place and has allowed us to redevelop and re-purpose city center Warwick to help it become the hub it is going to be,” said Avedisian. He pointed out that the Hyatt will become Warwick’s 17th hotel and when completed the city will have 2,400 hotel rooms, more than any other Rhode Island city.
“This newest addition to City Centre Warwick capitalizes on its proximity to the T.F. Green Airport and the InterLink Station, as well as its central location, which is easily accessible to all other areas of the state. I thank Mike and his team for their dedication to the City of Warwick and being an integral part of the city’s continued success,” the mayor said.
The hotel will be connected to the InterLink and the people mover to the airport terminal.
After a ceremonial groundbreaking, D’Ambra said the hotel would occupy about 20 percent of the site development. He said he has no immediate prospects for further developments on the site.
But Avedisian said more news concerning City Centre developments would be forthcoming soon.
“You’ll see a bunch on the other side of the road in a couple of weeks,” he said.