By DON STACOM
With the new Whole Foods retail complex in Avon freshly completed, a Rhode Island developer announced Wednesday that it will press ahead on the next stages of the massive $400 million Avon Village Center it is building over the next six to eight years.
The Carpionato Group officially opened the 119,000-square-foot first phase on Wednesday evening, and promised construction will start in the spring on the next phase — including more retail along with four-story residential buildings and professional offices.
“We’re going to be back many times over the course of this 1,250,000-square-foot project as we continue to develop it and invest in this great community,” said Kelly Coates, president and chief executive officer of the company.
Dozens of town officials and Farmington Valley business leaders showed up for the ceremony, many of them eager to hear that Carpionato was still moving ahead with the complex project despite the pandemic.
Six years ago, Avon and Carpionato drafted a long-range development plan for 97 acres north of Route 44. Contractors did the most burdensome site preparation in the past two years, with a fleet of heavy equipment flattening a 30-foot hill where Whole Foods stands now.
The supermarket officially opened Wednesday, and Coates gestured toward the parking lot — full despite a driving rain — to indicate the Avon Village Center plan is working.
“Clearly today shows it’s going to be an overwhelming success. We look forward to being back here on phase 2, phase 3 and phase 36B,” he said.
Construction is staggered into several phases, and Carpionato expects the final buildings will be done between 2027 and 2030.
Town Manager Brandon Robertson traced the project back to 2005, when town planners concluded Avon needed a village center.
They wanted “a focal point where people could live, work and play in harmony with their surroundings — we stand here today as we realize that vision,” Robertson said.