Newport Council Considers Mixed-Use for Naval Hospital Property
The Newport City Council was presented with several options during a workshop Wednesday night.
Julie Oakley, property reuse coordinator of the Aquidneck Island Reuse Planning Authority, presented four development scenarios for the Navy Hospital surplus property before the Newport City Council decided on a mixed-use plan during a Wednesday night workshop.
The development plan includes a hotel, along with commercial and residential space. The council will formally vote on the decision later in July.
Oakley said the Naval Hospital is “functionally obsolete” and cannot be used under any development plan, however demolition must be approved by the Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission due to the historic nature of the building.
Naval Station Newport is currently demolishing a chapel on the site, which will no longer be available for reuse, and will ultimately be removed from the final reuse plan.
Oakley told the councilors that if they do decide on a mixed-use plan, the ratios of types of space may be allowed to change, however they will not be able to convert back to strictly residential or commercial.
Environmental issues regarding the site include asbestos and lead-based paint in the building, and radioactive materials. However, Oakley said the soil is “pretty clean.”
Darren Mochrie, an RKG Associates consultant, said that if a hotel is to be built on the site, it will likely be occupied, but will be at the expense of other local hotels.
Development plans must be submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Defense by Aug. 19.
During the meeting, Mayor Stephen Waluk stressed the importance of keeping the property accessible to the public.