"There is an existing business — I don't want to disclose the name at this time — they are in two states in New England, one being Rhode Island, a retail market-type business that would be ideal for that location," Paige Bronk, the town's economic development director, told the panel.
"I think the chances [for a lease] are high," said Bronk. "We're working through some final leasing arrangements. We should know by fall at the latest."Ocean State Job Lot owns the property. They opened up Wickford Marketplace, which offered an eclectic variety of products, in 2010. But their desire to offer a patio space for people eating ice cream or snacks ran afoul of a town ordinance requiring food-serving facilities to offer bathrooms. The site does not have a public restroom.
The storefront, which dominated downtown Wickford, has been vacant since June 2011.
"That building stands out. it needs to be an anchor for Wickford and North Kingstown," Bronk told WEDAB members.
The possible tenant, he said, is "a year-round business. It would serve visitors, but it would serve residents too."