Carpionato Promises Jobs at Former Benny’s Locations, While Fruit Market Stalled After 10 Years

Friday, December 01, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team

The former Providence Fruit and Produce Warehouse on Harris Avenue, which was demolished in 2008 -- and undeveloped by Carpionato since.
On Thursday, The Carpionato Group announced their plans to invest more than $100 million to redevelop 29 former Benny's stores across southern New England in the coming year.

VIDEO: See Announcement BELOW

Meanwhile, the real estate group has still not realized the development of the former Fruit and Produce Warehouse in Providence promised when purchased -- nearly ten years ago in 2008. 

The ambitious Benny's projections, which were unveiled at a press event on Thursday at the Rhode Island State House featuring House Speaker Nick Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, were touted by Carpionato spokesperson Kelly Coates to over a thousand jobs for Rhode Islanders. 

"Our goal is to have all stores in operation in Rhode Island by next Christmas. There's always a possibility things don't go as planned," said Coates in an interview following the announcement. 

"Again, we have to convince national, regional, or local institutions to invest with us -- they have to make a commitment to the sites, anywhere from 5 to 20 years on their part," said Coates. "That takes significant review, significant investment on their part. That can delay. There's always surprises in our business, but we go forward optimistically."

Fruit Market in Focus

In 2014, GoLocal questioned the lack of progress on the former historic Fruit Market, which was demolished -- and purchased -- by Carpionato in 2008. 

GoLocal wrote:

The Carpionato Group, who recently submitted a proposal to the 195 Commission to develop the former highway land, has to date not developed a previous acquisition of prime Providence real estate -- the former historic Fruit and Produce Warehouse.  

Following its purchase of the warehouse from the state -- and controversial demolition of the historic property in 2008 -- Carpionato, the Johnston-based commercial real estate firm, had presented plans to turn the former fruit market into a mixed-used office, retail and hotel development, which have not materialized.  The city granted Carpionato preliminary approval for a surface parking lot at the location in 2013. 

Coates addressed the stagnant Fruit Market site, following Thursday's press conference. 

"There was a significant change in the economy on that project," said Coates. "We hope to [start] our construction on it next summer -- 459 apartments -- and we're excited about it. We've gone through the master plan stages with the city..and we're looking to go [get] permitting this spring."

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