HOPKINTON — It’s impossible to miss the new Cedar Hollow Business Park building under construction on Route 3 in Ashaway near Exit 1 off I-95.
Local developer Stano Trombino said he named the facility after the cedars that grew on the site.
“When I bought the property, there was a hollow, compared to the topography that was surrounding it, and it was full of cedars,” he said.
Rather than cut down the trees, Trombino moved them to other sites, including the nearby Hopkinton Business Park owned by Ray Quinlan and Lydia Teixiera.
“We repurposed them into other job sites in the area, as far away as Newport,” he explained. “We went through the extra expense and care to transplant.”
Construction of the eight-unit facility began in October 2017, and despite a few delays during the rough winter weather, the building is expected to be open in three months.
“I already have a lot of the building spoken for,” Trombino said.
The building features movable walls for tenants needing additional space.
“Because of the construction with steel trusses, it’s all clear span so I can move walls anywhere in between,” he said. “There’s nothing weight-supporting. I’ve had tenants who have asked for multiple units, so it’s set up for eight, but it may have less than that number of tenants.”
Trombino, who is giving the tenants in his other facilities first pick of the new units, said that if all the businesses who have expressed interest in Cedar Hollow end up signing leases, the facility will be 90 percent rented.
“There’s probably one bay left and I don’t expect it to be available for too long. It runs the gamut of businesses renting incubator space to grow their businesses. I’ve been contacted by a large national auto parts chain, but I’m kind of steering more towards the local business clientele,” he said.
Trombino, who also developed the town’s first solar generating station, Bank Street Solar, will install solar panels on the roof of the Cedar Hollow building.
“I believe it’s the first commercial building in Hopkinton to have a roof entirely covered with solar panels,” he said.
The business park model is one that has worked well for Trombino, who previously developed the Town and Country Plaza and the Thames River park. Many businesses, particularly startups, prefer renting space to purchasing it.
“It gives them the capital to grow their business and not worry about maintaining property and all the expenses with it,” he said. “It’s better tax-wise and on their balance sheets to lease the property from me. I’ve been fortunate to have some great tenants and the town’s been great. Our proximity to the highway is a big draw. I think I’m up to somewhere around 50 units right now and I’m close to my tenants. I think the longest one is 20 years. Once they get here, they don’t leave or they move from one building to another and get larger but they stay in town. They’re great economic engines.”
Trombino is also planning his largest project to date, the Preserve Business Park, on a 22-acre parcel in a manufacturing zone on Alton-Bradford Road. A 3,000-panel solar array at the rear of the property was approved by the Planning Board at its Aug. 1 meeting.
“As the businesses grow, they can go from one of my properties to another one and eventually end at the Preserve, when that’s done,” he said. “Those will be multiple, one-tenant-use buildings, 20,000, 30,000 square feet, whatever they may be.”