At a time when new construction is scarce statewide, activity is chugging along on the East Providence waterfront in projects that could provide a boost to the city as it struggles through significant budget problems.
Nestled into the riverfront headland just south of Interstate 195, the new six-story Tockwotton Home assisted-living facility has gone vertical this fall and is on track for completion before the end of 2012.
To the north, work to extend Waterfront Drive through the industrial riverfront to Dexter Road, where many parcels are for sale and have potential for redevelopment, is moving quickly before the onset of winter.
And on the former Chevron petroleum-terminal land off Veterans Memorial Parkway, the oil company has begun cleanup and site work on one the largest and most closely watched projects in the state, the massive 600-unit Village on the Waterfront condominium development.
“East Providence is essentially built out, so the bulk of opportunities for new development are within the waterfront district, which is why it has been such a focus,” said East Providence Planning Director Jeanne Boyle.
Since it embarked on a waterfront-redevelopment plan a decade ago, East Providence has been very aggressive in improving roads and utilities along the waterfront and offering tax breaks to developers willing to build there.
While the city has high hopes for the whole waterfront district, it has the most riding on Village on the Waterfront, which would transform the Chevron brownfield into a 26-acre, mixed-use cluster of condos and shops with public access to the water, a fishing pier, kayak launch and section of the East Bay Bike Path.
Finishing the site work is expected to run into next summer, when Village on the Waterfront will have to decide whether it is ready to start building the first 45-unit residential building, said Michael Hennessey, an executive with Providence Realty Investment LLC and chief operating officer of Village on the Waterfront.