PROVIDENCE – Johnson & Wales University has leased One Park Row West, the first building built as part of the Capitol Cove condominium development, according to a Notice of Lease filed with the city.
Developer Robert Roth and JWU CFO & Treasurer William F. McArdle signed a lease on March 19, according to the city filing. The financial details were not listed.
A Johnson & Wales spokesman declined to comment on the lease. Several messages left during the last week with Roth, the Norwood, Mass.-based developer who is a principal of Rhode Island’s Capitol Cove LLC, were not returned.
The rental is a dramatic reversal of Capitol Cove’s stance in November, two months after its sales office opened. Then, Roth said the company did not intend to rent any of its condos, even in the midst of a souring real estate market.
“Despite the real estate downturn, our optimism remains strong about the desirability of Capitol Cove for home buyers,” Roth said at that time. “We are beginning to see the end of the real estate downturn and should start seeing a steadying of prices and positive movement in the near future.”
Capitol Cove had planned to offer occupancy for its first 96 condos, in “Building A,” in January. The JWU lease, which includes parking for 110 cars, includes that entire building, according to the Notice of Lease filing.
JWU is set to take control of the property on August 1. The three-year lease leaves JWU the option to renew for another two years.
It’s unclear what JWU will use the property for, but a clause in the Notice of Lease says JWU can use the property “solely for the purpose of providing housing for students enrolled with the tenant, for the tenant’s faculty (including visiting faculty) and staff and for persons attending any program sponsored from time to time by [the] tenant.”
The leased building is the first of two planned for the first phase of the $250 million project on Parcel 6 of Providence’s Capital Center. Capitol Cove sits along the Mashassuck River and is set on a five-acre parcel, owned by East Providence-based Capital Properties Inc. The condos in the first phase had been set to cost between $350,000 and $550,000. The Capitol Cove Web site, www.capitolcoveri.com has been replaced with message that says the site is “down for maintenance.”
Several other condo developments in Providence including the Waterplace towers, have decided to rent space until the real estate market rebounds.
Update, May 6: Johnson & Wales and developer Robert Roth confirmed the lease deal this morning.