The woodlands and scattered single-family subdivisions of Tiverton don’t cry out for large-scale development, but Carpionato Group envisions one of the largest mixed-use projects in Rhode Island on 66 acres off of Main Road.
For the Johnston-based developer, the area itself is only part of the site’s attractiveness. Even more important is the highway that runs through the town.
“Because of Route 24, this is not just Tiverton; this is Aquidneck Island, Bristol, Little Compton, Westport and Fall River,” said Joe Pierik, Carpionato director of New England territory retail leasing and acquisitions. “Today retailers look at sites not just in terms of population radius, but in terms of drive time. We see a great opportunity.”
On a rectangular site between the highway and Souza Road that developers have eyed for the last 15 years, Carpionato is proposing an 18-building complex with a hotel, apartments, restaurants, 150,000 square feet of offices and 385,000 square feet of shops.
In appearance and target market, the project, known as Tiverton Crossings, resembles Carpionato’s flagship development, the Chapel View complex in Cranston.
And as with nearly every large commercial development, Tiverton Crossings, estimated to cost $100 million to build, faces formidable local permitting hurdles.
To build, Carpionato needs a zoning change, as mixed-use development is currently not allowed in the town, as well as approval under the state’s major land-development process. Even if all goes well, permitting will likely stretch well into next year.
Among the issues the developer will have to address in permitting are likely to be methods for handling increased traffic and the precedent the zoning change would establish for other town properties.