Latest Pawtuxet gateway plan is housing

Posted 1/24/24

Come this June Anthony Albanese Sr. will have owned the former Hunter’s Garage at the gateway to Pawtuxet Village for five years. A lot has happened in this five years and a lot hasn’t …

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Latest Pawtuxet gateway plan is housing


Come this June Anthony Albanese Sr. will have owned the former Hunter’s Garage at the gateway to Pawtuxet Village for five years. A lot has happened in this five years and a lot hasn’t happened.

Albanese has cleaned up the property, removing gasoline tanks and equipment from the former service station. He estimates he’s spent $100,000 on architects exploring various designs and possible uses for the property on the banks of the Pawtuxet River.  One of those plans calling for a combination restaurant and six housing units offering a porch looking out on the river got as far as the Historic District Commission where it ran into opposition from village associations and residents. City planners questioned how the plan could meet parking and building setback requirements.  Albanese backed away from the plan and now close to two years later is looking to go all residential with a 12-unit building.

“It’s an entrance to Pawtuxet Village…I’m looking to put up a showpiece,” Albanese  said Thursday. According to his estimate, Albanese and his company, Albaco LLC, own ten to twelve Pawtuxet properties.

“We live in the village. We take pride in the property,” he said.

The Historic District Commission was scheduled to give Albanese’s proposal a preliminary review last Wednesday, but that has been rescheduled for the Feb. 21. Preliminary plans and an architect rendering of a building have been submitted to the city, but no formal application.  The city would need to rezone the property from commercial to residential for the site to be used for housing.

Albanese said he eliminated a restaurant from the plan following concerns over the one way section of Post Road at that point and its impact on traffic. Former Pawtuxet resident and Warwick City Planner, Jonathan Stevens did a study of the restaurant/housing plan concluding the project  would have required 14 waivers from the Zoning Code, “including reducing or eliminating required landscape buffers and screening in favor of placing parking spaces right up to the street.” While saying the style of the building was in keeping with the character of the village, Stevens found the overall project out of scale to the rest of the village.

“The lower section of the village includes a very strong node at the intersection of Post Road and Narragansett Parkway…The above features represents elements of townscape that contribute in a positive manner to the visual and environmental character of Pawtuxet Village. They should be recognized and protected,” Stevens wrote in his report.

Albanese said he and his son wrestled with the size of the building, considering at first an 18 unit “micro-loft” development. They cut it back to 12 units. Without considering setbacks and other building requirements, he said there would be adequate space for 26 parking spaces.

Albanese said market conditions would determine whether the project is built as a condominium or for rentals. He projected the cost of the development at $3 million.

Albanese called the housing proposal his “last shot” at redeveloping the site of the former garage. If housing doesn’t fly, he said he would leave the vinyl siding and windows on the building, install a heating system and rent it for commercial use.

He adds, “we would like to do something nice…hopefully we can do that.”

In an interview Saturday, Ginny Leslie, who lives within 200 feet of the former garage called a 12-unit apartment development “ridiculous.”  As a member of the HDC, Leslie recuses herself from speaking about the proposal, however speaking as a neighboring resident she said Albanese “never heard” what the commission had to say about the former proposal. She finds the proposal out of proportion to the rest of the village.

She said the Albaneses own a lot of Cranston property and what they are interested in is maximizing rental income.


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