As it is now and what is planned for Elizabeth Mill on Jefferson Boulevard

$50M project planned for mill site

John Howell
Posted 12/30/14

Once viewed as what would make Warwick development different from “anywhere USA,” the Elizabeth Mill dating from 1875 will soon come down.

In its place will rise a $50 million, four-story …

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As it is now and what is planned for Elizabeth Mill on Jefferson Boulevard

$50M project planned for mill site

Posted

Once viewed as what would make Warwick development different from “anywhere USA,” the Elizabeth Mill dating from 1875 will soon come down.

In its place will rise a $50 million, four-story building housing residential, commercial and office uses – a facility meant to reflect both the city’s industrial heritage and its future as a key component to Warwick City Centre.

Ending speculation over what would become of the signature building of the former Leviton manufacturing plant on Jefferson Boulevard, Michael Integlia, president of Michael Integlia & Company, joined Mayor Scott Avedisian on Monday to announce the proposed development.

“We’re going to be sad to see it go,” the mayor said of the distinctive Elizabeth Mill tower and rectangular brick building. He pointed out that “not all buildings lend themselves to redevelopment.”

Integlia also disclosed that he expects construction to start in early 2015 on a second building at 1 Metro Center Boulevard, overlooking the Airport Connector, which is also part of the 86-acre Leviton property Integlia bought and subdivided into five lots. He put the Metro Boulevard development at $24 million to $25 million, saying that he is in discussions with two “nationally known” companies currently located in Rhode Island to become tenants.

But it was the proposal for Jefferson Boulevard that took center stage yesterday.

Architectural renderings show a glass and concrete façade closer to Jefferson Boulevard than the brick mill and its distinctive tower, with a brick structure behind it. A “ghost tower,” as Avedisian called it, rises above the building to invoke a feeling of the tower, which should be coming down within the next week.

Avedisian said features of the mill, both from inside and outside the building, would be incorporated into the new structure.

Preserving and re-purposing the historic mill proved to be impractical. Integlia looked at different uses for the building but wasn’t able to find the right tenant at an affordable price. In addition, he said Monday that the bricks to the mill were porous and materials had become compromised.

While residential development has always been seen as an important component of City Centre, as it would bring inhabitants to the area, Integlia’s proposal may be the first to include apartments. (Joseph Piscopio, who built the Hilton Garden Inn adjacent to the mill, had also proposed an apartment building years ago, but that land remains vacant.)

Integlia said he is looking to develop “funky space” that would appeal to today’s “millennials.” He said they would be one- and two-bedroom units especially attractive to singles and young married couples. He said the apartments would likely occupy “a stack” of the proposed 300,000-square-foot building, rather than a specific story.

“If things go well, if the economy goes well, we might start in late 2015,” Integlia said.

The new building would be connected to the Interlink on the east side of Jefferson Boulevard by an elevated, glass-enclosed bridge. This would give tenants availability to connect to the Green Airport Sundlun Terminal as well as to the MBTA platform housed in the Interlink. Integlia said details on where the bridge would connect would need to be finalized but that a connection has approval.

While the city isn’t offering any tax waivers or moratorium, Avedisian said the property would be appraised on an income basis, meaning that as tenants come aboard the value used for taxation would increase. He described the method as a way of “phasing in” the full value of the property.

In addition to the construction jobs both projects would generate, Avedisian estimated there would be between 300 and 500 full-time jobs. He said development of the “business innovation district,” of which the Integlia developments would be part, are a critical component to the success of City Centre.

Asked specifically about development within the Centre between the terminal and the Interlink, Avedisian is hopeful of additional announcements shortly.

As a condition to subdividing the Leviton property into five parcels, Integlia was to have bifurcated the Elizabeth Mill building from the warehouse that was sold to Dean Warehousing Corp. earlier this year. Integlia was granted an extension to the requirement while he explored possible re-uses for the building. He said he expects demolition of the mill building to be completed in two weeks. Asbestos is currently being removed from the building.

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Justanidiot

Man, what an ugly building. Granted the mill was falling down, but couldn't the replacement look something like it. It sucks the mill heritage right out of the area.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
RoyDempsey

It looks like Mr. Howell is giving this story a different spin then what has been reported in both the Journal and 10 News. Both those organizations indicated that any development at the former mill site looks to be 18 to 24 months out and then construction would begin only if tenants had been found. Bottom line, we could have a vacant lot here for a considerable amount of time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014