One of the more interesting aspects of the current building boom in East Greenwich is the focus on downtown – what Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais calls “in-fill.” In some cases, it’s brand new construction and additional housing units. In other cases, it’s taking a building and totally refurbishing it.
We checked in with town Building Official Ernie Marinaro recently for a run down:
The Lido on Main, 319 Main Street
The building, on the corner of Spring Street, was a very rundown apartment house for many years. It changed hands in September and new owner Tom Clayton is currently gutting it. Marinaro said he plans to keep it an apartment building. It is permitted to contain 10 residential units – a number that’s grandfathered in.
Old Post Office building, 11 Main Street
At this point, the owner has a permit for interior demolition only. The word is it will not be a restaurant. Instead, it would be converted into office space. The building is indeed once served as EG’s post office. In more recent years, it has been a restaurant – the Post Office Cafe twice, with a year or so as Rok Bar and Grille in between. It has been empty for several years.
32 Exchange Street
The developer of this property, off Duke Street, plans to demolish the existing house and build a total of 12 residential units on the lot, a single family home in the front where the existing building is now and a mill-type building in the rear for the other 11 units. They received final plan approval in October but before they can apply for a building permit they will be removing some contaminated soil. That work will be overseen by the Dept. of Environmental Management. You can read more about the project HERE.
104 Duke Street
Just down the street from 32 Exchange, this building is also in serious disrepair. And, similar to the other development, the owner here got Historic District Commission approval to demolish the building. But since then, according to town officials, he has changed his mind and will be looking to refurbish the building and drop the number of units from five to four total. He will need zoning relief so this one has a ways to go before any type of construction begins.
461 Main Street
The mixed use project will be a significant change for the Union Street and Liberty Street area. The big green metal building that was most recently a boxing gym (several years ago) will be taken down. In its place, the developer will build six single-family townhouses. The existing building (between the now-closed Red Stripe and Centreville Bank) will be rehabbed, keeping commercial units on the first floor and adding additional residential units on the second. There is a fence around the green building and they’ve applied for a demolition permit, so work there should begin soon.
Castle Street Cottages, 15 Castle Street
Billed as a “pocket neighborhood,” this is a classic definition of downtown “in-fill” – where new housing is being built in an existing neighborhood. The idea behind the project is to offer units with all the newest amenities, with no yard to have to keep up, and within walking distance to the waterfront and Main Street. Most of the construction is completed. Find out more HERE.
The Imperial and The Post (1016 Main Street)
This is a two-fer. The Imperial got its final approval earlier this year and the site but other than some grading work and the fencing that surrounds the site, no physical work has been done. That’s probably because just as they were able to begin work, the adjoining parcel, 1016 Main St., the American Legion Post 15, came up for sale.( Post 15 was selling the building after the tragic death of Patty Daniels in September 2019 – the driver accused of hitting the car Daniels was traveling in was Barbara Trojan, who had spent the previous several hours drinking at Post 15. Trojan is awaiting trial; Post 15 lost its liquor license and has been sued by members of Daniels’ family and decided it was time to downsize.) According to Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais, the developer of the Imperial bought the Post 15 site and now will need to revise the plan for The Imperial since the two sites will share a driveway. The Imperial will have 38 residential units; the developer is proposing 30 for “The Post,” what the new site is being called. Bourbonnais said the revised plan will probably come before the Planning Board in January.
Washington Trust, 695 Main Street
Construction is moving apace at 695 Main St., at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street. Washington Trust is building a branch there. It’s due to open in 2021. You can read more HERE.
159 Main Street
Okay, we don’t have much to report on the site of the former Norman’s. The property is comprised of adjoining buildings and the back building, which is apartments, has been refurbished. But the building fronting on Main Street is looking grim. We will update as soon as we learn more – if you know something, let us know! [email protected].
I have been wondering about most of these- thanks for the updates! Thanks EG News!
Around 1980, toward the end of what I call the Fosterian Epoch in the history of the Pendulum, the town’s newspaper, the Pendulum building on London Street had a fire. It wasn’t destroyed but it needed a year of work to get it back on line. We never found out why the fire. Nonetheless, we needed temporary quarters, space volunteered free of charge by Robert Allen Greene, and the “old rag” went on… never skipping a beat!
Within that staff of wonderful people, I perhaps had the loudest din in the boss’s ear, the boss being publisher William A. Foster, finest in a line of editors of the 126 year-old newspaper. I knew the old/old post office was for sale and I begged and pleaded with Mr. Foster to at least take a look at it and think about selling London Street and moving Pendulum headquarters up there. I had a strong case. The brick post office was a good solid building. The selling price was more than reasonable. It had a loading dock and room for the printing department in the lower level. There was plenty of space for offices and reportorial staff, it would have needed very little interior work, practically none at all. There probably would have been room for some rental offices for professionals.
We did take a tour of the old/old post office but Bill went ahead and renovated London Street and we never moved to Main Street. I have always been a bit sad over that. I’m sure he had his reasons but in retrospect, the newspaper might today be more than it is.
Didn’t know that, Alan! It would have been a grand edifice for the Pendulum! Thanks.
I remember fighting a fire as a call man with EGFD at 104 Duke St. back in the late ‘80’s. The fire heavily involved the smaller rear section of the building, closest to the railroad tracks.
Hi Alan – The fire was an arson fire. A local man was charge and convicted of 2nd degree Arson, if memory serves me correctly, it was set because he had been (or a family member had been arrested for another crime ) and he did not like the report in the Pendulum.
Wow. Thanks, Chief!
Thanks so much I know of someone looking to rent in EG. Where might I look?? Thanks