Developing Quonset Point into an industrial park has been a monumental task. Measuring 3,207 acres, it has been a project years in the making. Significant progress has been made over the last six years thanks to the Quonset Development Corporation, a real estate development and property management agency formed by the state in 2005 to meet the specific needs in expanding the use of the park.
With so much acreage, the park has been divided into eight distinct areas, each with its own purpose. Welcoming people into the park is the Gateway District, a 64-acre development intended as a mixed-use retail and commercial plaza. “It’s designed to act as a buffer between the residential neighborhoods and the industrial areas in the park,” said David Preston, spokesman for the QDC. “We wanted to allow for a smooth transition between the park and the nearby homes.”
Seven office buildings are in the planning stages for Gateway and there is still plenty of room for growth, including Wide World of Indoor Sports, a new indoor sports facility tentatively slated for a January 2012 groundbreaking. If all goes well, owners Dan Fawcett and Stephen Sangermano will have the complex up and running by August 2012.
The Gateway area is unique among the other park districts, being the only one with retail use. There are several stores already in place, including Dave’s Market, a 24,000-square-foot supermarket opened in May 2009, and Marriot TownPlace Suites, a 104-unit hotel opened in May 2011. Also included are Kohl’s, Supercuts, Subway, Sally Beauty, Hollywood Nails and Sunshine Early Child Care Center. A Lowe’s store opened in January 2009 but closed this past November as part of a nationwide consolidation plan. At full build-out the Gateway will employ more than 2,000 workers and represent $144 million in private investments.
According to Preston, the Gateway district is owned by the QDC, but most of it has been leased to New Boston Development Partners LLC, for 99 years. The two entities provide the impetus for Gateway’s accelerated development. “They are working very hard to try to fill the available retail space,” he said.
Preston said QDC had been attempting to bring a sports facility into the park for the last three years but had failed to do so through a variety of different circumstances and parties. “They offer something different that will be a good fit for the Gateway,” he said, “but it’s also a good fit for the nearby neighborhoods.
Quonset Development Corporation,
Gateway District¸ R.I. Department of Transportation,