The top soil has been cleared, the site leveled and heavy earth moving equipment lined up, ready for the work to start. All that was needed was the official groundbreaking to what is another piece to a bio-medical campus at the Crossing Office Park next to the Crowne Plaza.
That came Thursday evening as more than 70 people gathered in the lobby of the office building at 200 Crossing Boulevard for pink lemonade, canapés and words about the late Alfred Carpionato. The group, many armed with gold-painted shovels, then moved outside to throw some dirt.
Calspan Development and Construction Company will not only manage the construction but also put together the financing of the $30 million, 60,000-square-foot building for Ortho Rhode Island, a medical office and surgical center designed to be expanded by another 40,000 square feet at a later time. John Yurtchuk, president of Calspan, said the company has built similar medical facilities in New York and Florida, but this is a first in Rhode Island. He described the project similar to a turnkey project where Calspan will put everything together, turning over the finished building – he estimated construction would take a year – to Ortho Rhode Island.
Kelly Coates, president of the Carpionato Group, told the gathering the late Alfred Carpionato was looking down, pleased to see his vision for a campus of medical facilities coming together.
“We stand in honor of Alfred Carpionato,” he said.
Coates also spoke of the vision of Mayor Joseph J. Solomon and how as mayor and former city council president he played a role in the zoning and permitting of the property. And stretching the time line back to the 1970s, when the site was a sand and gravel pit, Coates also applauded former Mayor Joseph Walsh, who had the foresight of what the property, with the hotel being the first major development, could become.
“Joe Walsh stood proud, a courageous and great mayor,” he said.
Mayor Solomon praised Carpionato’s vision, observing that the Continental Little League fields that are a part of the site are a manifestation of giving back to the community. As for the development, he said it is what Warwick welcomes.
“It will bring good paying jobs to our city, will provide the cornerstone of this bio-medical destination campus and continue the momentum we've built to bring quality economic development projects to Warwick," he said.
Dr. Michael P. Bradley, president and CEO of Ortho RI, talked of the city’s support and cooperation, naming the mayor and the council.
The project will create 125 construction jobs and bring more than 275 permanent bio-medical jobs to the site with a total annual payroll of $30,000,000. The new facility will add more than $25 million in assessed value to the City of Warwick tax rolls, according to a press release.
Based in Johnston, Carpionato Group is a New England real estate development company that delivers a platform of integrated real estate professions providing distinguished expertise in their fields. The company acquired the iconic Benny’s stores after the company closed almost two years ago and is finding new tenants for them, including Ocean State Job Lot and other retailers. It is currently undertaking a $22 million renovation of the Crowne Plaza that includes new roofing and the complete renovation of rooms.
The company has a portfolio of more than 6 million square feet of real restate comprised of Class A retail, office, residential and hospitality projects and 1 $1.5 billion development pipeline according to a release.