Garden City Center, a 500,000 sq. ft. mixed-use center comprising retail, restaurant, and office space located on Route 2 in Cranston, is currently in the fifth phase of its expansion, with foundations set and steel being erected for 30,000 sq. ft. of new restaurant and retail space. The shopping center’s expansion is in response to a growing interest from restaurants and retailers looking to join Garden City to reach their diverse customer base.
Tenants in the new building include Legal C Bar, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Tavern in the Square, and The Simple Greek. There is also space for four to six more retail tenants. Given the Center’s limited real estate, the new building will be nestled in between a large retaining wall and the main loop road throughout the center. The close quarters create narrow corridors to weave utilities throughout and around existing and proposed infrastructure.
“This multi-phase expansion has required a great deal of attention to construction detail, careful consideration for handicap accessible routes, and phasing to allow for safe circulation of customers,” said Sheryl Guglielmo, Project Manager at DiPrete Engineering. “Careful coordination between the development team, property managers, and design and construction team on a project like this is very important.”
“It’s a common challenge now with redevelopment. The shopping center is almost fully built-out and the built environment is in close proximity to every change you make. Customers are circulating through on foot and by vehicle during construction,” said Guglielmo. “Watching it unfold is really impressive.”
The new construction follows the recent completion of the conversion of the former Office Max building into LL Bean, Pearle Vision, and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. DiPrete Engineering has been collaborating with The Wilder Companies since 2012, when Tom Wilder first had the vision to bridge the gap between the Village and the Commons which brought the construction of Pottery Barn and J. Crew. It has been five straight years of revitalization at Garden City Center.
“Garden City Center is a lifestyle destination that offers one-stop shopping for today’s on-the go consumer,” said Joe Koechel, General Manager of Garden City Center. “The opportunity with an open air center really provides a true shopping experience, like a downtown, and we give people multiple reasons to come in addition to shopping – be it for strolling, dining, annual events such as the summer concert series, and working out at LA Fitness.”
The design team for the current expansions includes DiPrete Engineering, Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, John C. Carter and Company, GZA Geo Environmental Inc., and Avid Engineering. CMB – Construction Management and Builders is expected to be finished with construction by Spring 2018.
DiPrete Engineering completed the topographic and utility survey, site engineering, regulatory permitting, and construction documentation, and is assisting the team with construction oversight.
Attorney Bob Murray of Taft and McSally and DiPrete Engineering lead the project through the regulatory approval process. This included approvals through the City of Cranston Development Plan Review committee and the City Planning Commission. State approval was obtained through the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) for a RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) approval.
Garden City Center is currently home to 70 shops, services, and eateries including Anthropologie, J. Crew, Sephora, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, The Container Store, Crate & Barrel, L.L. Bean, Providence Diamond, LA Fitness and Whole Foods Market.