The Carpionato Group, which earlier this week announced its intention to purchase 29 former Bennny’s locations in three states, is committing more than $100 million to develop the properties, the company announced Thursday.
The Johnston-based commercial real estate developer plans to focus first on the 14 Rhode Island locations, including one in Westerly, and expects them all to be leased and have operations running by Christmas 2018, according to a press release.
“As a company with a long history in Rhode Island, we understand the importance of investing in our own economy, and this project will prepare these retail locations to continue to be economic engines for the next 50 years,” said Alfred Carpionato, president of Carpionato Group LLC.
The company estimates the work will entail hundreds of construction jobs and lead to the creation of more than 1,000 permanent jobs in Rhode Island.
Carpionato owns the Westerly Crossings shopping center on Franklin Street as well as other undeveloped land, which it has cleared, on Franklin Street in the area of the Midas Muffler shop.
The company is actively seeking a mix of national, regional and local retailers and restaurants for the former Benny’s properties. As part of the redevelopment, Carpionato Group will renovate building exteriors and upgrade parking lots and drainage, and address other environmental concerns.
Benny’s Inc. announced in September that it would close all of its stores in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts by the end of the year, citing challenges posed by changes in the retail market and the desire of the Bromberg Family, which owns the company, to spend more time with each other.
Carpionato officials discussed their plans Thursday morning with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio in the state Legislative Library at the Statehouse in Providence.
“The Carpionato Group is one of the state’s finest businesses and I’m thrilled that they are stepping forward to quickly fill these valuable empty sites,” said Mattiello, D-Cranston. “I have seen firsthand the thriving Carpionato properties in my home city of Cranston and it’s wonderful news that they have stepped forward to keep Rhode Islanders working.”
During the design phase, approximately 200 professionals from Rhode Island-based companies will be involved with the project, according to the company.
“Like the Brombergs, Alfred Carpionato is a Rhode Islander through and through,” said Ruggerio, D-North Providence. “Carpionato Group has a long history of successful development here in our state. This is more than an investment in real estate; it’s an investment in Rhode Islanders.”
The Carpionato Group said it would work with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s administration, including the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of Environmental Management, on the Rhode Island properties. Redevelopment of the Massachusetts and Connecticut locations will follow as quickly as possible thereafter, the company said.
The more than $100 million to be invested is in addition to the purchase price, which both Carpionato and Benny’s Inc. have not disclosed.