What Would You Put Here — 350 Central Ave./1301 Atwood Ave.

Longtime Johnston residents know it as "Where Allendale Insurance used-ta-be" — what do you think should go there?

From Atwood and Hartford Avenues to Killingly Street and Plainfield Pike, Johnston has its fair share of vacant buildings. Some have been empty for years while others see a rotating crop of businesses.

But, if it were up to you, what would you like to see happen to these buildings? Each week, we'll feature one empty building, lot or area in Johnston and ask our readers what they'd like to see there.

This Week's Property:

Address: 350 Central Ave./1301 Atwood Ave. (just past the "new" )

History: This was the original home of Allendale Insurance, one of a group of insurance companies that eventually formed FM Global, which maintains its world headquarters just off Central Avenue, across the street from the now-vacant campus.

Ownership: FM Global owns the property, listed as 350 Central Ave., under Allendale Mutual Insurance Co., according to the Town of Johnston online tax assessor database, and continues to pay property taxes to the town. The company does not manage the buildings on the site.

Status: C.B. Richard Ellis is the listed broker for the 315,000-sq.-ft. professional building, and is seeking lessees. (401) 621-4338. Click here to see the online listing for this property.

Joe The Plumber March 15, 2012 at 04:36 AM
And the other 290,000 square feet?
Joe The Plumber March 15, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Google in Johnston Rhode island? And the workforce of computer geniuses would come from................?
Joseph Hutnak March 15, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Joe: I think Rhonda's point in suggesting another Fortune 1000 company is that they attract talent from both their immediate geographical area — often making substantial investments in training programs along the way — and outside of it. Those types of companies may also see a $1.4 million per year lease (using CBRE's online lease costs for the first level) as a deal, especially compared to costs in Boston, Hartford, or New York. And, to pose your own question back to you on your suggestion of an insurance company, where would another insurance company get its workforce of adjusters and claim reps? I'd also suggest that a more welcoming attitude toward attracting new businesses to Rhode Island is probably the better course to take, rather than knocking the local workforce.
Joe The Plumber March 16, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I am not knocking the local work force. I am being realistic. What is needed to attract new Fortune 1000 businesses into Rhode Island and to Johnston is a favorable tax rate, low energy costs, good and financially healthy government, minimal regulatory controls, excellent infrastructure, and a highly educated and trained work force. In Johnston?
Joseph Hutnak March 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Joe: This is from my own reporting of Johnston over the last 16 months or so... Tax rate: the current property tax rate is $24.75 per $1,000 valuation. Scituate is $32.73, and North Providence is $24.15. (Does this count as "favorable"?) Energy costs: Not much to be done with regard to utility costs or gas prices, though the town is installing a gas tank so municipal vehicles can fill up at state bulk rates. The town already runs its own diesel pump, as well. (Does this count as "low"?) Government Finance: The recent audit found Johnston to have a $7.2 million long-term surplus, town and schools combined. (Does this count as "healthy"?) Regulatory controls: The mayor handles economic development himself, and ensures "fast-track" permitting of businesses that he feels fit in the town. (Does this count as "minimal"?) Infrastructure: See the new library, the relocated municipal court, and the new boilers at Johnston High School. (Does this count as "excellent"?) Education: Johnston High School recently improved its four-year graduation rate from the high 60s to 82 percent. The school district spends upwards of $1 million toward vocational-technical and charter schools outside the town. (Does this count as "highly educated"?) I notice you didn't mention the Landfill — I'll spot you that as a potential issue regarding quality of life, though do you think it's a deal-breaker?


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