Mass. developer eyes Urban League HQ site for medical offices

A Massachusetts developer wants to build two medical office buildings on the site of what is now the Urban League of Rhode Island headquarters in Upper South Providence. More

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Mass. developer eyes Urban League HQ site for medical offices

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THE ASPEN GROUP, a North Reading, Mass.-based developer, has filed applications with the city of Providence to demolish the Urban League of Rhode Island headquarters at 246 Prairie Ave. -- pictured above -- and replace it with two five-story medical office buildings.
Posted 11/15/13

PROVIDENCE – A Massachusetts developer wants to build two medical office buildings on the site of what is now the Urban League of Rhode Island headquarters in Upper South Providence.

The Aspen Group of North Reading, Mass. has filed applications with the city to tear down the two-story Urban League building at 246 Prairie Ave. and replace it with two five-story buildings, each with around 66,000 square feet of space, said Providence Director of Long Range Planning Robert Azar. The first floor of each building would host a parking garage with the medical offices on the next four floors.

To complete the project, Aspen will need to change the zoning of the area from multi-family residential to commercial mixed use and amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan to allow research and development in the area. Those ordinance changes will require City Council approval as well as authorization from the City Plan Commission.

Reached by phone Thursday, Aspen Group co-founder Brian J. Kelleher said it was too soon to provide further details of the plan.

Dennis Langley, president and CEO of the Urban League of Rhode Island, also declined to discuss the project, or where the nonprofit would move if leaves its current home, pending official announcement by the developer.

The Aspen Group has previously worked on Rhode Island projects including Thundermist Health Center, Landmark Medical Center, River Bend Apartments and The Lofts at Allen Street, all in Woonsocket, according to the firm’s website.

The 4.6 –acre property at 246 Prairie Ave. is currently owned by the nonprofit Urban League, which provides a wide array of community services there, including Head Start community health and runaway shelter.

The property was last assessed at $4.8 million, according to the city’s online database.

The 49,000 square-foot building was built in 1900, according to the assessors records.

A preliminary hearing on the project is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19 before the City Plan Commission.

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