State OKs extension of lease on RI’s remaining COVID-19 field hospital

Coronavirus

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Two of Rhode Island’s three field hospitals set up to handle a surge in COVID-19 cases are slated to shut down.

The old Citizens Bank building on Sockanossett Crossroad in Cranston will be the only one left standing. Brett Smiley, director of the R.I. Department of Administration, asked for a six-month contract extension to leave the state with 300 additional beds in case of a potential surge.

On Tuesday, the State Properties Committee unanimously voted to extend the lease on the building from Oct. 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

The other two field hospitals at the old Lowe’s building in Quonset and the R.I. Convention Center will be closed. While the Cranston location will remain, the terms of the lease agreement were tweaked from the original version in April.

“We’ve increased the parking capacity at this site from the first lease,” John Ryan of the R.I. Department of Administration explained. “Also, at the end of this term, the state would normally be responsible for the demolition of this alternative hospital. As far as the lease negotiations, at the end of the term, the landlord will take on all responsibilities and costs associated with the demolition of this alternative hospital.”

That means the Carpionato Group, which owns the building, will deconstruct the hospital at the termination of the lease so it can move forward with plans to redevelop the site.

Where the field hospital now sits will become a parking garage, while a TopGolf facility will be constructed behind it.

A spokesperson for the developer said the pop-up hospital didn’t interfere with construction plans since they are still awaiting building permits.

Deconstruction of the other two field hospitals is expected to begin immediately. Quonset is expected to be finished by the end of October, but the Convention Center could take until the end of 2021 to complete since it not only has to be taken down, but also reconstructed for its original purpose.

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