Fox Point grocery store aims to break ground in October

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The highly anticipated but yet-to-be-named grocery store planned for a parcel of former I-195 land in Providence is moving forward, with a goal to break ground next month.

The developers — who had hoped for a spring groundbreaking until the coronavirus pandemic — are remaining mum on the identity of the market, which will be the anchor tenant of the building that will also have apartments and retail space.

Even in its official application to the I-195 Redevelopment Commission seeking a waiver for the size of its rooftop sign, developers Truth Box LLC and D+P Real Estate masked the real name of the grocery store. The rendering of the sign says “PVD Urban Market,” with small print indicating the words “Urban Market” will change once the store name is revealed.

The proposed rooftop sign for the Fox Point grocery store needs a waiver because it exceeds the maximum size allowed for buildings on the 195 land. The words “Urban Market” will change when the name of the grocery chain is revealed.

A presentation and public hearing on the sign waiver scheduled for Wednesday evening was postponed until October, but the 195 Commission did vote to formally transfer the deed to the developers at its monthly meeting.

Link Street LLC, the entity created to buy the property, will pay just $100,000 to buy the land from the state after the original price of $1 million was slashed during the pandemic. Jordan Durham of D+P Real Estate said they requested the decrease after “unanticipated soil issues” including contamination were discovered when drilling into the property.

The land is Parcel 6 of the former 195 land, located on Wickenden Street between South Main and South Water Streets.

Durham said the developers aim to break ground on construction in October, with an expected opening date of March 2022.

The project includes a 13,000-square-foot grocery store, 62 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space in addition to two levels of parking.

Durham declined to name the grocery chain being planned for the development.

Trader Joe’s acknowledged in January it was working on plans to open a store in Providence, but has neither confirmed nor denied whether it is the tenant for the Parcel 6 project.

Reached this week, Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said “a location is not yet set in stone” for their Providence store and that the grocery chain has not signed a lease.

Spokespeople for Dave’s Marketplace and Market Basket — two popular grocery chains that do not yet have locations in Providence — each separately confirmed they were not the tenants for the Parcel 6 project.

Half of the apartments in the building are slated to be workforce housing, which will be for people making between 80% and 120% of Providence’s Area Median Income. The other half of the units will be market rent.

Durham said the project received $2.5 million from the quasi-public agency Rhode Island Housing in order to offer the less expensive workforce housing units.

Multiple other apartment buildings are being planned or proposed for parcels of the former 195 land. Exeter Property Group is planning to build a mixed-use building on Parcel 28 on Chestnut Street with 250 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail.

On Parcel 9 on Alves Way right off the South Main Street exit of 195, two developers pitched apartment building projects to the 195 Commission Wednesday night.

One Neighborhood Builders is proposing a mixed-used building with 58 apartments including affordable, workforce and market-rate units. The building would also include a Children’s Friend childcare center.

Pennrose LLC is proposing two residential buildings with a courtyard in the middle, totalling 131 units — also affordable, workforce and market-rate rents — and a ground floor space for a cafe, retail or community space.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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