Developer buys Newport Grand property for $10.15 million

By Sean Flynn | Newport Daily News

NEWPORT — The Carpionato Group of Johnston has purchased the Newport Grand property from Twin River, LLC, of Lincoln for $10.15 million, according to a deed filed Tuesday at the Newport’s Land Evidence Office.

The purchase is for the building and 23.5-acre property only because the Newport Grand gaming facility will move later this year to a new site in Tiverton that is currently under construction, Carpionato said in a written statement.

The company plans to create a mix of hospitality, restaurants, retail and office space on the site.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to creatively reimagine this signature property as the gateway into Newport,” said Alfred Carpionato, chairman and CEO of the Carpionato Group, in the statement.

“As a resident of Newport with a history of property development on Aquidneck Island, I have often envisioned a more thriving, welcoming and visually appealing entry to the City by the Sea,” Carpionato said. “Now as this opportunity has come to fruition, I am looking forward to creating jobs, economic growth and a destination truly special for both residents and visitors arriving to our historic and magnificent community.”

The Newport Grand property, located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, is visible to everyone arriving in Newport as they exit the Pell Bridge. The building was originally opened in June 1976 as a jai alai fronton and beginning in 1992 slot machines became the main attraction. The building was renovated in 2008 to its present casino.

“We’re pleased that that the new owner of the property intends to work collaboratively with the city and additional stakeholders in ensuring the highest use of this property, which was always our hope when we decided to try and move the existing Newport Grand operations to Tiverton,” said John E. Taylor Jr., chairman of Twin River Management Group. “We obviously will continue to operate Newport Grand until our new casino is ready to open, which we anticipate occurring in late summer or early fall.”

Carpionato Group, which recently completed the purchase of 31 former Benny’s locations encompassing more than 1 million square feet in three states, has a long history of development in Rhode Island and on Aquidneck Island.

“We recognize there is great community interest in what this property will eventually become and how it is reimagined,” said Kelly Coates, president and chief operating officer of the Carpionato Group. “We are committed to actively working with the community and all key area stakeholders over the coming months to seek their input on how we can best reimagine this property to create a signature place that offers hospitality, restaurants, retail and innovative office space while spurring economic development on the island.”

Over the next decade, this property will become more prominent as the gateway into Newport and Aquidneck Island as the state Department of Transportation reconfigures the ramps coming off the Pell Bridge.

“Today, property development is focused on the principle of place-making,” said Joe Pierik, vice president of retail leasing and acquisitions for Carpionato Group, and a lifelong Aquidneck Island resident.

“It’s about creating truly unique places, where people go to spend time to linger rather than make a quick stop for an errand or two amidst a sea of asphalt,” Pierik said in the statement. “When completed, this redevelopment will enhance the area’s connectivity and safely bring together pedestrians, bikes and vehicles while creating a link to the north end of Newport that fits with the city’s comprehensive plan for mixed use development.”

Carpionato Group plans on beginning geo-technical work and other engineering site evaluation on the property within the next several weeks.

Carpionato Group has a portfolio of more that 6 million square feet of real estate assets and $1.5 billion development project pipeline, according to the company.

Twin River Management Group Inc. currently owns and manages three casinos, two in Rhode Island and one in Mississippi, as well as a Colorado horse race track. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc.

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