Old Jailkeeper’s House Sells for $550,000

by | Jun 20, 2021

One possible use: as a boutique hotel

The Marinosci Group is the new owner of the historic Old Jailhouse at 110 King Street, bought for $550,000 from the East Greenwich Historic Preservation Society. New owner Gary Marinosci owns several properties on Water Street, including the former Nautika, the East Greenwich Marina and some parking lots. 

The sale went through in mid-May, after the EGHPS had secured a permanent historic preservation easement on the house with Preserve R.I., an advocacy organization for historic places in Rhode Island. 

“Under the easement, the exterior of the 18th century Jailkeeper’s house will be permanently protected from demolition and major alteration of its distinctive features. While providing protection to the building’s historic exterior, the easement gives the new owner flexibility to adapt the building to new uses,” said EGHPS board member Rachel Peirce via email. “While it is always sad to bid a place that you have called home goodbye, EGHPS is very pleased it was able to find a viable path to preservation for the Old Jail after more than four decades of care and support. We look forward to seeing a new future for the old place.”

The preservation easement is in addition to protections afforded the building as part of the town’s historic district. The Preserve R.I. easement is for the jailkeeper’s house only, not the jail building behind it (which is newer).

Upkeep of the building had come to overwhelm the EGHPS in recent years both in terms of mission and financially. While the organization had put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the structure since it took ownership (“buying” it from the town for $1 in 1976, which kept it from being demolished), the cost of upkeep had not diminished. The EGHPS decided to sell the building last fall so it could focus more on what it considers its main mission: programs and educational opportunities. 

The group did confer with town officials over the future of the building but those discussions went nowhere and EGHPS announced in March they had found a buyer, refraining from identifying the buyer until the deal was settled. 

“We are honored to have been chosen by the East Greenwich Historic Preservation Society to be the next caretakers of this local historic treasure,” Marinosci said in a statement. He pledged to abide by the provisions set forth by Preserve R.I.

“As for our current plans with the property, we have not yet decided, they range from its continued use as an office building, to a boutique hotel,” he said, adding, “The residents of the Town can rest assured that the chosen use will compliment the waterfront as well as the abutting neighborhood, while simultaneously preserving the historical integrity of the building.”

The back of the old jail, which will not be protected by the PreserveRI easement but does remain part of the town’s historic district.

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