Large Self-Storage Conversion Project Proposed for Cumberland, RI


A real estate developer is seeking zoning approval to convert an empty building and add several more to create a large self-storage facility in Cumberland, R.I. Tariq Khalil is looking to build his project on a 5.5-acre site at the intersection of Curran Road.

The property at 197 Dexter St. formerly housed American Steel & Aluminum, a metals-processing company that closed last year. It includes a 41,000-square-foot, 1950s-era building that contains 93,050 square feet of gross storage space and 3,990 square feet of office space in two stories. It also comprises parking areas and several smaller, vacant lots. The building is valued at $1 million and the land at $186,000, according to the source. In 2009, it sold for $1.47 million.

In addition to converting the existing building, Khalil’s plans include the addition of 13 new structures of varying sizes. The majority of the land is zoned for industrial use; however, some of the adjacent parcels that are part of the development proposal are zoned residential. Khalil is also requesting to cover 86 percent of the land with structures or other impervious material, which is higher than the 80 percent permitted by city regulations.

The proposal includes a request to move the rear property line closer to neighbors than the 150-foot buffer the town allows. This request was met by resistance last week during a technical-review committee meeting. Kelly Morris, the city’s director of planning and community development, urged Khalil to reconsider the lot coverage and also suggested landscaping be added along Dexter Street and at the back of the property, according to the source.

"We like the project and we want business in town, but we also want to make sure it looks nice," Morris said during the meeting.

Khalil has already received permission from the town’s zoning-review board to erect a 6-by-30-foot illuminated sign, which exceeds the town’s size regulation by 150 square feet. The request for all-night illumination, however, was declined. The sign will be turned off at 11 p.m.

The east side of the property is bordered by a Narragansett Electric Co. easement and a river that links Happy Hollow Pond to Robin Hollow wetlands. The nearest self-storage facility is Cumberland Self Storage at 95 Industrial Road. It encompasses 54,575 square feet of office space and storage on 3 acres of land. The town has valued that property at $1.48 million, according to the source.

Khalil’s project is on the council’s agenda this week for permission to advertise only. It will also be on the council’s September meeting agenda.


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