Raymond D’Abate, the developer of a proposed 127-room “boutique” hotel overlooking Apponaug Cove, believes he has addressed many of the issues raised at a community meeting earlier this summer.
D’Abate has invited more than 60 area residents to attend a second informational meeting tomorrow night from 6 to 7 at the Warwick Art Museum in the village.
“We’re pretty comfortable we addressed all the issues,” D’Abate said yesterday.
At tomorrow’s meeting, D’Abate will clarify where the six-story building would be located on the five-acre lot and will release an architectural rendering showing the roofline in relationship to Amtrak and the tree canopy of Apponaug.
D’Abate will also address traffic, a major concern raised at the July 2 meeting. Area residents questioned whether hotel traffic would aggravate an already congested West Shore Road, causing backups and accidents in the area of the Amtrak underpass. The hotel would be east of Station Street, a dirt road that runs parallel to the railroad down to Apponaug Cove.
D’Abate said peak hotel traffic for functions and events would not coincide with commuter traffic in mornings or evenings. Further, he said, the hotel entrance and egress are within the recommended sight line for the speed limit on West Shore Road. D’Abate believes conditions will further improve with the realignment of village traffic with the completed Apponaug Circulator, which would have a roundabout on the west side of the tracks.
At the July meeting, the proposed development, estimated at a cost of $20 million to $21 million, was endorsed by Derek Andersen, president of the Apponaug Improvement Association, as a means of revitalizing the village and bringing in much needed new business activity. It has been viewed as the east “bookend” to new village development, along with redevelopment of the saw tooth building from the former Apponaug Mill as the other bookend. D’Abate estimated the project would generate 230 construction jobs and 120 full-time and 30 to 35 part-time jobs when completed.
D’Abate said there have been “ongoing” talks with Mayor Scott Avedisian and the planning department over the project. He said following the meeting Wednesday and assuming no additional plan revision, he would hope to come before the Planning Board and then the City Council this fall. D’Abate and property owner Joseph Pisaturo, under the corporate name of Apponaug Waterfront LLC, have already met with the Coastal Resources Management Council and answered their concerns about development within the 200-foot coastal buffer.
The developers have an agreement with Wyndham Hotels.
D’Abate said Wyndham was selected because they have more than 700,000 rooms worldwide and they have developed a strong following. He said their reservation system would give them flexibility and what they would promote is a unique product with unique service and technology.
How would service be unique?
D’Abate said the hotel would seek to individualize and identify with its guests.
“People today want to have a more homey feeling to their stay,” he said. To that end, he said, the hotel would seek to make a strong connection to New England, Rhode Island and the community with menu items particular to the area and other features to give it a hometown feeling.
As for technology, he said the hotel would have the latest communications and conferencing facilities to serve their business clients.
The plan calls for the acquisition of a boat company and trucking company on West Shore Road. The hotel would be built on those properties looking out on the cove. Presently, the property is zoned light industrial. The council would be asked to rezone it for general business.
But not all views of the proposed hotel are as enthusiastic as D’Abate’s. The project has also been castigated as a neighborhood intrusion and a blot on Apponaug Cove by a number of neighbors.