Chevron approaches East Providence Council with UNOCAL property TIF proposal

Project envisions hotel, ample public when completed in the future

By Mike Rego
Posted 10/28/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — Consultants representing the Chevron Corporation approached the council at its Tuesday, Oct. 15, meeting once again seeking the city’s cooperation in the energy giant’s …

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Chevron approaches East Providence Council with UNOCAL property TIF proposal

Project envisions hotel, ample public when completed in the future

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Consultants representing the Chevron Corporation approached the council at its Tuesday, Oct. 15, meeting once again seeking the city’s cooperation in the energy giant’s pursuit of redeveloping a parcel of land it owns along East Providence’s waterfront. The council eventually gave the first of two necessary approvals of the ordinance.

Chevron, as it did last year with an adjacent property it holds that used to be a Gulf Oil storage site, is requesting the city engage in a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) arrangement for the Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL) location. TIF arrangements specifically earmark property taxes received by the city from owners towards the repaying of bonds taken to do such things as install utilities needed to develop land.

This exact parcel sits adjacent to the former Gulf terminal and Bold Point Park. Chevron bought the Gulf property in 1986 and the UNOCAL site in 2005. The company earlier this calendar year sold a third portion, the South Quay, to the owners of the Bold Point concert series. The rebranded Rhode Island Waterfront Enterprises LLC intends to construct a permanent venue at the South Quay.

Chevron, which previously requested a TIF agreement in the sum of $32 million for the Gulf property, is seeking up to $9,370,000 to foster redevelopment at the UNOCAL site. The monies, as with the Kettle Point development a few hundred yards south, would be used to install the necessary infrastructure needed to allow for further construction at the site.

Monte McKillip, owner of the Lincoln, Nebraska-based McKillip and Associates consulting company, which among other things assists entities on government policy and environmental services, and Keenan Rice, president of MuniCap, Inc., a financial advisory firm with offices in Maryland and other locations around the country, once again represented the interests of Chevron before the council.

Mr. McKillip reiterated the aims of the redevelopment, including increasing activity at the waterfront, creating mixed use space and enlarging the city’s tax base.

Envisioned at the UNOCAL site, according to Mr. McKillip, are 115 apartment residences, 43,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space and a 150-room hotel. In addition, the plan includes a 400 seat amphitheater, 5,600 sf of public access space, 58,000 of landscaped areas, 9,500 sf of terrace and gardens, a 400-foot walkway, parking and the initial extension of Waterfront Drive past where it currently stops at the Tockwotton residences.

Mr. McKillip said the project would create between 380-620 temporary jobs during construction and between 220-320 permanent jobs once completed. Key to the overall development would be providing flood protection to the area.

Mr. Rice emphasized the latter during his portion of the presentation, noting the expense of the project was two-fold: the need to improve the infrastructure besides the actual physical structures built.

“The challenge is there’s really some extraordinary costs associated with this site because it’s in 100-year flood zone,” Mr. Rice said.

Mr. McKillip, when asked by the council, said a developer has yet been found to bring its vision to fruition, adding “market conditions” would determine when it may occur. However, both consultants agreed once the improvements at the site were made through the TIF arrangement it would spur interest from private investors.

“The real answer is we don’t know the time frame of it, we would think it would two to three years out,” Mr. McKillip concluded. “We do not have one identified that has a specific time line.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.