By JOSEPH FITZGERALD
CENTRAL FALLS – A $4 million project by Tai-O Group partners Louis Yip and Jevon Chan to convert the Central Falls Landing on the south bank of the Blackstone River into a vibrant commercial center is on track to begin this spring.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the vacant 40,956 square foot three-story mill building in 2017. Actual construction to redevelop the landing into a commercial destination with public access to the river is now slated to begin May 1 and be completed by the fall, an attorney for the developers told the City Council recently. Requests for proposals for the project are expected to be advertised later this month.
Two years ago, the City Council approved a ground leasing agreement between the city and the Tai-O Group for the existing building and parking lot at the landing, located at 1420 Broad St. The landing was built in 1875 and was previously the home to the American Supply Company, which operated as a steam-powered plant for the manufacture of loom reeds, loom harnesses, heddles, and leather belting. American Supply Company closed in 1961.
After its closing more than 55 years ago, the building and property was adapted for reuse by a braided rug factory that operated from 1963 to the early 1990s. After that, Scoop at the Falls, a small popular ice cream shop, operated in the building’s first floor until it closed in 2008. Since then, the building has remained vacant, boarded up and with overgrown vegetation reaching up to the building’s roof.
Tai-O Group’s plans call for major renovations, a restaurant, and microbrewery. The existing vacant three-story mill accounts for 3,880 square feet of space.