“This is not a small award,” said Scott Gibbs at the East Providence City Council meeting last Tuesday. “There was a lot of competition in 11 states.”
Gibbs, the past president of the Northeast Economic Development Association, was referring to the 2012 Project of the Year Award given to the Rumford Center mixed-use development on Newman Avenue and the City of East Providence.
“This project is everything we define as economic excellence,” he said. “And it started with a willing developer.”
Peregrine Group and Kirkbrae Properties teamed up to convert the deteriorating former Rumford baking powder complex into shops, offices and loft living space. It opened about four years ago after being purchased for $3.8 million in November of 2006.
Gibbs said the businesses in the Rumford Center employ 120 workers. The businesses include Seven Stars Bakery, Avenue N American Kitchen restaurant and Residential Mortgage Services.
Development continues. The 112 loft apartments are now being leased to tenants.
East Providence Planning Director Jeanne Boyle accepted the award on behalf of the city.
Here is a history of the Rumford Center from its website
Rumford Center began in 1856 as Rumford Chemical Works. It produced and shipped baking powder across the nation and around the world. At its height of activity around the turn of the century, Rumford Chemical included 300 acres of working farms and communities to sustain the factory workers, and the Village of Rumford was called the “kitchen capital of the world.” It closed in 1968, and the factory buildings fell into disrepair.
PK Rumford LLC purchased the old Chemical Works in 2006 and began given it a new life. The remaining factory buildings occupy 8.3 acres and accommodate apartments, condominiums, office space, retail shops, a restaurant and café on the square. The original 1858 factory building, the only building that will be physically moved during construction, will now host a new generation of business innovators.
Rumford Center is expected to bring new vitality to the historic Rumford neighborhood. Rumford Center is expected to be an economic, historical and cultural engine to revitalize the village.
It was designated a National Chemical Historic Landmark in June, 2006. Rumford Center will celebrate its heritage in visual and cultural displays that are expected to lead the way for further sensitive evolution for East Providence.