‘Imperial’ Developer Appeals Town’s Stop-Work Order

by | Apr 10, 2024

Above: The Imperial, a development just off Main Street and Greenwich Boulevard, in March 2024. Photo taken from The Imperial website

EG cited the builder for electrical & plumbing discrepancies

Massachusetts developer Sathaun Sa has appealed a stop-work order that has largely halted work on his project, the 38-unit “Imperial,” 1016 Main Street, imposed by the town’s building official Feb. 29. That official, Brad Ward, said in the order there were “numerous deviations from the approved plans,” including with heating and air conditioning work. 

Town officials had not inspected the site in several months. In fact, Ward had never been on the site – he became the town’s building official in October. The town is supposed to inspect a project as it completes various phases, for instance after the framing or electrical or plumbing is completed. 

Ward visited the site Feb. 28, 2024, after EG’s building inspector, Jim Tavarozzi, noticed sheetrock on the site – sheetrock is installed after framing is complete and the developer had not notified the town of such. Comparing the work that had been done to the plans that had been filed, Ward said he found many discrepancies. His stop work order (Stop work order / The Imperial), allowed certain aspects of the job to continue, including on the elevators, fire suppression sprinklers and the exterior.

The Imperial was approved by the EG Planning Board in 2019 under the “comprehensive permit” process where developers get a fast track through the regulatory process if they make at least 25 percent of their units deed-restricted affordable. Sa proposed making 10 of the 38 units affordable. Construction began in 2021. 

One- and two-bedroom units started selling in February, priced between $469,900 and $499,900 for the market-rate units, with affordable units selling in the $300,000 range. 

One prospective buyer of an affordable unit, Sandy Burrows, was planning to move back to East Greenwich from western Massachusetts and had signed a purchase-and-sale agreement on her current residence just last Friday (4/5/24). On Saturday, her daughter, who lives in East Greenwich, sent Sandy an article in the Providence Journal about Sathuan Sa’s building record. Burrows – who was Sandy Nolan when she used to live in East Greenwich (and served as the town’s very first Main Street coordinator) – decided to withdraw. She had not yet put money down. 

It is “so upsetting on so many levels,” Burrows wrote via email.

Sathuan Sa offered this statement Tuesday: 

It’s too early to speculate about next steps in East Greenwich, but I am working hard with my team to reach an agreement with the town that addresses their issues and concerns. I am hoping that our flexible and reasonable approach will bring about a safe, fair and timely resolution.

In a letter to buyers and almost-buyers like Burrows, Sa had sent this letter: Builder’s Statement, arguing that a dangerous bout of Covid in 2021 landed him in the hospital for a month and was a main reason certain things fell through the cracks. 

Sa’s appeal will be heard Thursday, April 11, at the state Building Code Commission offices at 560 Jefferson Blvd., at 1 p.m.

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April 10, 2024 6:09 am

Only the first of many potential similar situations. Greedy developers hiding behind the flawed “comprehensive permit” umbrella, only to then try and skirt all rules and regulations. Safety first!

Bruce Mastracchio
Bruce Mastracchio
April 10, 2024 9:15 am

The Town, and its people, will rue the day they let all this development happen. Government should not be able to dictate who lives where and with whom. Just the traffic alone will have everyone cursing. I will not be hear to see all the frustration, but maybe will be watching down on you all.
Just think what a nice park they could have had there, overlooking the cove, and being able to wave at a few trains going by.

Lorraine Martin
Lorraine Martin
April 11, 2024 10:44 pm

That park sounds lovely

Peter Carney
Peter Carney
April 10, 2024 11:05 am

I believe the ProJo article noted the developer has tax delinquencies with the state. Can EG News get a comment from town officials as to whether that should have been identified by the EG Planning Board, irrespective of the “Fast Track” process? With a development brewing in EG that is 5x or 10x the size of this, I hope this mess brings heightened awareness by EG’s elected and appointed officials about the results of very bad State policy negatively affecting towns and communities.

April 10, 2024 12:34 pm

First of all Sathuan Sa is from Rhode Island, not MA, as the article stated.
As per the 2 articles in the Providence Journal by Jim Hummel, in addition to 2 WPRO radio programs — Sa developed my building in Providence, Chapel Hill East at 7 Mount Hope Avenue, and it is a disaster. If I was warned about this developer, I would never have purchased. It is too late for my building, but not for EG buyers.

Catherine Rodgers
Catherine Rodgers
April 10, 2024 11:16 pm

If our EG Planning Board had not been overridden by the state through the comprehensive permit process, would this developer have to appeal to the town or the state regarding the stop work order? His appeal to the state further erodes local control. We have our state representative and senator to thank for voting in favor a more than a dozen laws in 2023 which exacerbate this problem and steals local control from our neighbors and gives it to the state. More housing bills are pending, and their constituents are watching.


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