Officials: Warwick destined to become 'medical tourism' hub

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Is Warwick poised to be the next hot tourist destination for people from all over New England? Hopefully – the scenery is pretty nice after all. But even if the city isn’t the next big thing in the traditional sense, in terms of people seeking convenient, high-quality medical treatment from elsewhere in the region – a term branded “medical tourism” – Warwick might be a true leader soon.

On Monday night the Warwick City Council unanimously approved a zoning change to pave the way for biomedical company Ortho Rhode Island (Ortho RI) to construct a large, four-story office and surgical center in Warwick adjacent to the Crowne Plaza, and construction could begin in early 2019.

The 100,000 square foot facility would be built in two phases and is touted to have the potential to bring in $30 million in payroll and add an assessed commercial property value of nearly $1 million in net tax revenue to the city’s tax rolls – in addition to as many as 200 new, high paying permanent jobs and 125 temporary construction jobs.

However, Ortho RI is just the beginning of what city officials and property owner Carpionato Group hopes will become a bustling biomedical hub in the middle of Warwick. With Ortho RI as an anchor, the hope is that other medical facilities will be interested in moving to the city.

“Generally, birds of a feather flock together,” said Kelly Coates, president of Carpionato Group, during his presentation to the council. “It will only right now be Ortho RI, but we look forward to ‘Ear, Nose and Throat RI and to Eye RI, or whatever they're named, to come forward and occupy, and generate super paying jobs, great benefits and the newest technology.”

Then, once a hub for medical care is established, the idea is that the friends and family members of patients getting procedures done will be staying in local hotels and dining in local restaurants, and shopping at local businesses – hence the term medical tourism.

“The idea of a medical hub here in Warwick at this site is very exciting,” said Bill DePasquale, city planning director. “Having this cluster of medical office uses only brings in additional funds and employment to the great folks of the city of Warwick. People will be staying longer in the hotels, they'll have discretionary income and spend it locally.”

Coates mentioned during an announcement in August regarding Ortho RI’s plans to build its facility in Warwick that Carpionato would be willing to add an additional 100 rooms to the Crowne Plaza, in addition to $12 million in other renovations that has already commenced. He said on Monday that, in theory, the medical hub in Warwick should create that extra demand for hotel rooms.

“As we get more medical tourism we'll get more demand,” Coates said. “We don't need more hotels necessarily in Warwick, we need more hotel demand in Warwick and then more hotels to follow, so that's what we're proposing here.”

In addition to its unanimous support from the city council, the project gained unanimous support from the planning board and the planning department. Attorney for the developer, K. Joseph Shekarchi, mentioned how Carpionato held meetings with Mayor Joseph Solomon and stakeholders – including abutting neighbors – to address concerns over traffic, lighting, hours of operation and landscaping.

“I feel very comfortable that we have heard them and addressed them,” Shekarchi said of abutters.

Ward 1 Councilman Rick Corley asked some questions about traffic implications, to which Coates replied that most traffic would be coming directly to and from the Route 95 ramps nearby. Coates mentioned an extensive traffic study was conducted to show most traffic would flow in and out through the exit on Greenwich Avenue that has a traffic signal.

“I'm the gatekeeper for the Crowne Plaza. I don't want anything that would hurt it,” Coates said. “I'm more worried than any neighbor on traffic. We studied this out on detail and we are comfortable with the science that says it works well.”

The zoning change that was required in order to ease limitations regarding parking and building height did away with a zoning overlay that had previously been approved that added a layer of residential zoning to the property.

“It’s just peeling back the onion,” explained DePasquale, who added that the planned building was still “incredibly consistent” with the city’s comprehensive plan. He said that Warwick was poised to find an economical “niche” through medical tourism, given its central location in Rhode Island, easy access to a major interstate, an international airport right next door and an interstate rail system as well.

“We know with this transitioning economy, the city of Warwick needs a more balanced tax base,” DePasquale said. “We see the struggles we have in retail, so we need to reinvent ourselves. Medical tourism has tremendous job opportunities and job growth.”

Ward 7 Councilman Stephen McAllister felt that Warwick could be a community to take that niche and emerge as a leader in the growing field.

“This medical tourism is a very hot new field. Rhode Island, and Warwick especially, is going to be the leader in this, because I know of other areas and parts of New England who want to get going on this and they are not as far along as we are,” he said. “So, this is a real feather in the cap for the city of Warwick that we are going to be a leader in medical tourism.”

When asked, Coates didn’t want to pin the project down to a definite timeline at this juncture, but said a realistic timeline for total completion of both phases of the project would be between two to three years from now.

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richardcorrente

Congrats to all who made this happen. Kelly Coates, (and Alfred Carpionato before him) is a smart man. He knows that there is a LOT of money in "medical". This new business and the 100+- additional rooms at The Crowne Plaza, will be a real boon to Warwick's' economy with jobs, welcome tax revenue and new customers for surrounding businesses. It should even improve the real estate market with homebuyers shopping nearby their new place of employment. Great news for the "80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab", because this huge new business should lessen the load for the rest of us.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, October 18
WarwickFreemason

Mr. Corrente,

I love your enthusiasm, and I truly do believe you love Warwick; but with all due respect, you really should tone it down... It is almost a guaranty you will comment on practically every article. This doesn't do you any justice, you come across as being cheesy and just another phony politician... You are not campaigning anymore and you should just let it go.

Every time I see one of your posts, I read the responses of your critics... It is like train wreck that you can't look away from... You either have no clue or you are just trying to get a rise out of them by messing with them constantly. If that is the case, kudos! You are doing one heck of a job, because you truly irritate the c--p out of them! I can almost feel their blood boiling when they read your comments.

I did not vote for you two years ago and while I no longer live in Warwick, I would not be voting for you in the general election if you would won the primary. Honestly, you come across as if you can't be trusted. There are just too many unanswered questions (that are brought up to you constantly by your critics) that you refuse to answer.

In my personal opinion, I think you should come to realize that your aspirations to become the mayor someday are not going to ever come to fruition... I think every voter of Warwick should be an advocate for the citizens of Warwick, and you should continue to be active and outspoken to local government, but I think you need to come to terms with the fact that your political career is over. And out of respect for the Office of the Mayor, you really need to stop calling yourself Mayor, you did not earn that title and it really doesn't do you any justice when you continue to apply that time to your name. If anything, it makes the whole situation more laughable and it makes people question your competency.

Either way, In the end you are going to do whatever you want! I will continue to shake my head in disbelief and amusingly cringe when I read what your critics are going to say! It does make a long day at work go by quickly.

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon Mr. Corrente;

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon Everyone,

Warwick Freemason

The Taxpayer's Freemason

Thursday, October 18
CrickeeRaven

The two-time election reject "lessen[ed] the load" on himself by not paying the property taxes on his former residence, resulting in him losing it to tax sale.

As he continues to use a make-believe title that he neither earned nor deserves, the two-time election reject will only continue to make a humiliating spectacle of himself in his future comments.

Thursday, October 18
Justanidiot

plus, tink of all the disease and death we would subject our fair city two

Thursday, October 18
WwkVoter

Freemason's - still the ones to look up to!

Thursday, October 18
WarwickFreemason

Thank you WwkVoter! I am a little bias, but we have a very special brotherhood and fraternity! The Freemasons are an amazing group of men that do a lot of good everyday!!

Thank you again!

Friday, October 19
Justanidiot

masons and the illuminati want to take over are flat earth and subjegate all that will not due their bidding

Friday, October 19
WarwickFreemason

Justanidiot-

WOW! How did you find out? We usually keep secrets like that wrapped pretty tight!

Friday, October 19
WwkVoter

LOL Freemason. And yes when I was a kid, the older gentlemen I lookup up to generally tended to be Mason's

Friday, October 19
richardcorrente

Dear Warwickfreemason,

Thank you for your love of my enthusiasm.

That, and the fact that my critics respond so often and so defensively, shows that I am on to something that will continue to benefit the "80,000 taxpayers that are paying the bill". My message of "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" has ALWAYS been much more important than the man. Having you and my critics repeat it so many times is keeping that message strong. It sets an example that our politicians can't ignore. I spoke to all 9 members of the City Council after the 2017 budget hearings. EVERY ONE of them credited my message as influencing those hearings. Albert Einstein once said "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others. It's the ONLY means." That has always been my intent.

If you enjoy my enthusiastic remarks, please keep reading them and commenting on them. It strengthens my message every time you do.

If, however, my remarks come across as anything negative, cheesy, phony, or anything else that makes you "amusingly cringe", well then, my new friend, please just continue to keep on reading my comments and commenting on them.

I am grateful that you understand that my ONLY focus is the wellbeing of the Warwick Taxpayers, not my own ego or agenda. As far as my loyal critics, they don't even have the courage to identify themselves, let alone do 1% as much as I have done. (Not even 1%!) You watch me "truly irritate the crap (I'll say it for you) out of them." I enjoy it as much as you do (OK, probably a little more), and every comment they make just repeats my message one more time, and the message gets a little stronger every time they do.

In my honest opinion, WarwickFreemason, there are only two types of people in Warwick; people who PAY tax dollars (like you and me) and political insiders who RECEIVE those tax dollars. I'm sure that my critics are in that second category, especially, especially, especially, the ones who comment about 60 seconds from now, right after I push "Post comment".

Read on new friend and get ready to "shake your head in disbelief and amusingly cringe". Glad I was able to make "a long day at work go by quickly."

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon WarwickFreemason.

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Saturday, October 20
CrickeeRaven

WarwickFreemason, thank yoi for drawing out the two-time election reject's complete lack of restraint in humiliating himself once again.

His slogan did not work. His juvenile insults did not work. His attempts to distract from his record of lies and tax delinquencies did not work.

He hypocritically criticizes commenters who use screen names, yet considers you a "friend" because he has convinced himself that you agree with him -- despite what you actually wrote.

You've done a service to honest, taxpaying readers of this site in yet again exposing him for the delusional person he is.

Saturday, October 20
WwkVoter

Corrente is really crazy. I mean, this could actually be "medical". Wow. Totally delusional. Anyway, he can annoy here but has NO bearing on reality of public policy in Warwick despite his hallucinations. It really IS sad. Freemason did a great job, and as someone with no history of correcting corrente's lies/delusions, bogus stats, denial about his unpaid taxes, lawsuits, and other fiction, and politely tried to explain why he is doing no favors here for himself, OR anyone else in warwick. And corrente comes right back as if Freemason wrote something else.

This article is not about corrente, and its subject has nothing to do with the 2 time election loser. It actually troubled me that he called Shekarchi and undoubtedly wasted his valuable time. because unlike corrente, Shekarchi actually does win elections, and actually IS in a position to benefit the public he represents, and he seems like a good representative at that. Now, anyone can call an elected official, but in this case while corrente was filly within his rights, we KNOW that the tax delinquent dishonest election loser added nothing of value.

If I could give that totally wasted 4 minutes listening to a rambling fool, back to Shekarchi myself, I would.

Saturday, October 20
CrickeeRaven

WwkVoter, I often wonder how the two-time election reject can continue humiliating himself with apparently no conscious idea that he's doing it.

The level of delusion with him is so profound as to be unbelievable.

You and I read WF's comment correctly: He is asking the two-time election reject to acknowledge his losses, stop using his make-believe title, and stop repeating his lies.

Yet the two-time election reject replies as if WF complimented him.

It's exactly the same as when he claims credit for the FY18 budget, which as we know increased spending, didn't cut taxes, and left a $4.2 million deficit, and says the council credited him with influencing their decisions, although there is no public record anywhere of any such thing happening.

Delusional is right, WV. Pathetic, too.

Saturday, October 20
WarwickFreemason

WwkVoter-

Thank you for the kind words. I am a proud member of the craft and an even prouder member of the Shriner's (I am a Shriner's Clown... aka Sgt. Zuto); I just wish I had more time to do more good.

But thank you, get sometimes get a bad wrap for being evil, or a cult or trying to control the world, but we are just a bunch of men who love our country, want to help out our neighbors and help heal (Shriner's Hospitals) and make as many children as possible smile!!

Monday, October 22
WwkVoter

FM, perhaps it was this song that started all those rumors? LOL

Youtube:

https://youtu.be/dSpOjj4YD8c

Monday, October 22
Justanidiot

Sure WFM, all kind and good. Until order 66 comes about and the illuminati give the marching orders and the freemasons go out and eliminate all the jedi by pushing them off the edge of the flat earth. We have a secret underground watching you, so keep your house in order.

Tuesday, October 23