As Rhode Islanders continue to lament the loss of local retail chain Benny’s, the company buying up the buildings is looking to the future. The Carpionato Group will turn the former Benny’s stores into new shops and restaurants.
The Johnston-based company bought 29 Benny’s properties in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut for an undisclosed price. The business plans to invest $100 million into redeveloping them for new tenants. Those will likely include big box stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, or cafes like Starbucks.
“We anticipate construction jobs of approximately 350,” said Carpionato spokesman Kelly Coates during a press conference at the Statehouse, joined by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.
“Then eventually permanent positions in excess of one thousand jobs. We hope to have the first stores open for business in Christmas 2018.”
Any major construction and renovation work will require an array of state permits, as well as buy-in from the municipalities where the properties are located said Coates.
“We hope to maintain all the buildings, those efforts are going to require the approval of zoning boards, planning boards from the 14 cities of towns in Rhode Island, from their mayors and town managers, and this effort will rely upon them,” said Coates.
Benny’s announced earlier this year it was closing its iconic chain stores.
It was unclear why the press conference took place in the wood-paneled Statehouse Library, or why the politicians took part, as the two were not part of the deal. When asked, Kelly responded, because it is a “Rhode Island story.”