Pawtucket mayor announces plan to develop riverfront

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Pawtucket leaders met along the Seekonk River Tuesday to announce plans to develop the land for residential and commercial use.

With the newly-renovated Festival Pier as the backdrop, Mayor Donald Grebien announced the next steps to transform the vacant land near the intersection of Water Street and Division Street.

The city’s evaluation team recommended moving forward with the proposal, and it’s now up to the city council.

“This exceptional property on Division Street has been vacant too, too long,” Grebien said Tuesday.

The project would include a mix-market rate of residential apartments and commercial and retail space. Mayor Grebien said nearly 35,000 square feet of land would accommodate 214 apartments and parking for up to 500 vehicles.

Building that alone would cost between $40 million and $50 million, and an additional $5 million to $8 million would be needed for infrastructure improvements. City officials said it’s still not clear if taxpayers would foot the bill.

Grebien said the plan could attract potential residents and businesses to the area.

“The message that we are sending is that Pawtucket is open for and a great place to do business,” he explained.

Colin Kane, developer for the Peregrine Group, agrees with the mayor.

“We want to create an activated campus that’s not only a great place to live, work, and play, but also a place that enlivens those houses and those businesses three blocks away.”

Many residents said they’re looking forward to the renovations.

“It’s about time for change in Pawtucket, because Pawtucket doesn’t have anything down in the city,” said lifelong resident Mary Guyton, who lives close by.

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