The price tag for the residences, new hotel and office space is about $60 million.
“Once the project is all done it will be excellent,” said Pryeor. He believes it will represent a “boom” for the city.
“There is a need for condos over there,” he said, noting the competitive housing market.
According to him, when a condominium opens at the nearby Wethersfield Commons off Jefferson Boulevard, “it sells the next day.”
The City Council is still hearing public testimony on the project.
“The biggest concern is traffic,” said Pryeor, who thinks the project will generate little extra congestion.
He expects most tenants to primarily access Route 95.
“Empty nesters, too, will maybe take one or two trips a day,” he said, noting there will not be children to ferry back and forth to school and other activities. “Traffic will go right to the highway, with little cutting through the neighborhoods.”
He also sees the Route 95 access and the possible train station in Warwick to be a draw for executives.
Carpionato hopes the redesign of the intersection of Routes 113 and 5 will help to assuage neighborhood traffic concerns.
According to Vincent Palumbo, chief civil engineer for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the $2.5 million intersection redesign will reduce its overall size, opening up about 10 acres of land.
The land will be sold upon the project’s completion to help defray costs.
The DOT’s goal is to create a conventional four-way intersection that will maximize flow and capacity. About 45,000 vehicles travel through the intersection daily.
Every leg of the intersection approach will have double left-turn lanes and separate free right-turn lanes. The project area extends to Metro Center Boulevard and will eliminate the raised median on Route 5, creating a center-turn lane.
Palumbo said the project is in the 90 percent design phase and is expected to break ground between the fall of 2004 and spring of 2005.
Construction ground-breaking is contingent upon the completion of the Greenwood Bridge project, at the intersection of Route 113 and Jefferson Boulevard, he said.
Also, in an effort to mitigate the development’s impact on the surrounding neighborhood, Kelly Coates, Carpionato senior vice president, said the Residences at the Crossings’ architecture offers “transition” from a high-use density to single-family homes.
“There is commercial, then you go down to the multifamily then to the duplexes and then to the single-family homes. There is a natural transition zone for height,” he said.
The gravel pit where the residences will be built is 20 feet lower than the hotel, he added. Buffering the condos and apartments from Route 95 will be office space.
The number of condos vs. apartments has not been divided yet, according to Coates.
The development will go in just south of the Crowne Plaza’s ballroom parking lot and will not be visible from Route 5.
The stone gated entry is proposed for the current Continental Little League field entrance.
About 88 of the units will be two- or four-bedroom units, with the remainder of the units spread throughout four-story buildings.
There will be heated garages, elevators and keypad entry. Each level will have about 15 to 20 units.
“These (condos) are geared toward the empty nester,” said Coates, noting proposed handicapped accessibility, wide corridors, walk-in closets and balconies. The proposed two-bedroom condos will start at about $300,000.
Coates says potential clients will probably have a home in Florida but will want a large home here, without the hassle of maintenance.
“They want their properties maintained for them,” he said.
The executive apartment packages will range from $1,500 and up in monthly rent.
The apartments, like the condos will have concierge service.
Residents will also have access to a clubhouse with theater-style seating, tennis courts, Jacuzzis and a swimming pool.
Coates said residential meal and concierge services would blend with the hotel.
“But in general they (residences and the hotel) are separate businesses,” he said.
As for the 200-room hotel, Coates said, Carpionato is still trying to “figure out what flag (design/name)” to use. “Planning is still in the initial stages,” said Coates.
Carpionato plans to own and operate it and to possibly break ground in 2005.
As for the room expansion at the Crowne Plaza, Coates said an announcement would be made “within the next two months.”
The Crowne Plaza currently has 266 rooms. “That is relatively small,” said Coates.
In 2001, Carpionato spent $10 million to renovate its ballroom facility in an effort to accommodate more trade shows. “It’s hard to compete for the business traveler,” said Coates. “Because companies are price-sensitive and not traveling.”
The ballroom expansion helps subsidize the hotel.