It seems like there’s a new project in either Chapel View or Garden City every other month, and the latest development may be the biggest one yet.
With 233,000 square feet of commercial space available on the Pontiac Avenue side of Chapel View, located on the Sockanossett Cross Road, where the former Sockanossett Training School for Boys was, it still remains a mystery as to what will be built on the site.
Speculation is that a Costco Wholesale store will be built on the plot of land, which would be the first Costco ever in Rhode Island, with the next closest ones currently in southern Massachusetts.
“I heard that same rumor, it’s been floating around for six months,” said Cranston Council President John Lanni Jr. “They haven’t come forward with a definite plan yet as far as I know.”
What we do know from the master plan put forth last week is that the site has space for retailers, one of which can be a big box store, and for a parking lot. The next step now is for the Carpionato Group, which owns the site, to get permits from the state and city for the project and finish off any traffic requirements, according to Kelly Coates, VP of Commercial Acquisitions.
That’s where the city becomes involved in the process, and councilmen and Mayor Fung have voiced hopes as well as concerns for the project.
“My big concern there would be access and traffic,” said Lanni Jr. “I know they’ve talked about putting a ramp on 37 into that property, but I’d have to see the whole plan before making a decision.”
Traffic would be the main concern in the area, which is already overcrowded on Pontiac, Sockanossett, and Chapel View, according to Ward 6 Councilman Michael Favicchio.
“We’ve been dealing with the traffic issues on a regular basis,” Favicchio said. “Both the Wilder Group in Garden City, the Carpionato group, and the city and state are trying to make road improvements. That’ll have to coincide with any development.”
Favicchio said that too many people getting off of Route 37 on the Pontiac exit has become an issue, so smaller improvements like road signs and traffic light synchronization can be done now so that a bigger project, like building a new ramp off of Route 37 into the Chapel View site, can be done later on.
As for the location itself, Favicchio would “love to see some smart development.”
And he said that Costco moving in, which he admitted he’s heard rumors of but hasn’t had anything confirmed yet, would lead to congestion and would require the building of a new off-ramp. While calls were placed to Costco corporate offices in Seattle, a reporter was unable to make contact with a representative.
Mayor Fung agreed with Favicchio, saying: “We’re looking at the traffic impacts it could have, especially along Pontiac Ave, Sackonosset, and Route 37. You always have to look at how it affects residential areas. They have to come back with the appropriate traffic studies before finalizing anything.”
The Carpionato group is doing just that and will look to continue development of the plan for the site in the coming weeks. Despite the concerns of traffic, the Mayor would like to see residential and commercial development on the site done soon.
“We wanted to work with the Carpionato group to provide that flexibility to go after whatever business would fit in Chapel View,” he said. “We’re here as an additional resource to close the deal.”
The deal isn’t closed yet, but will be done in the near future following appropriate permits/studies by the Carpionato group and after residents and business owners in the area are able to have their say.
The development may require changes on the roads in the area, but could potentially bring in a number of new businesses, including one big cost-saving store by the name of Costco.