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Land owners near new R.I. casino hoping to cash in

edit:casino time:2018-08-30

TIVERTON — The “for sale” and “for lease” signs began popping up a few months ago on properties near the entrance to the new Twin River-Tiverton casino and hotel that is close to the highway and state line with Fall River, Mass.

About 15,000 vehicles pass by the intersection of William S. Canning Boulevard and Stafford Road every day, and it is expected that the “convenience” casino will attract at least another 3,000 more a day.

“Look where I’m at,” said Mark DeMello, owner of a 1.3-acre parcel across from the casino entrance that now houses his landscaping materials business. “What’s that famous saying? Location, location, location,” DeMello said of the increased value of his property because of the new casino and his willingness to sell it and relocate his 11-yearold business.

The highest and best use no longer is a landscaping materials business, he said, but possibly something like a fastfood restaurant, convenience store or bank. “Because of the casino coming in, and the Southcoast Marketplace being transformed” just over the line in Fall River, “the value of the properties are all higher,” DeMello said. The selling price of $1.19 million set for DeMello’s lot is more than triple the town’s assessed value of $281,000.

“I got one offer so far, but it wasn’t high enough,” DeMello said, so for the short term he will lease some of the property to Twin River for excess parking.

Carl Dansereau, vice president of Giroux Realty that is representing DeMello and Rabih Salibi, the owner of another three parcels near the casino entrance, said the value of the property in the immediate area is now as much as four times what it was before the casino was built. “We just think the whole area is going to be transformed into something better,” Dansereau said. “A lot of people were against [the casino in Tiverton], but it will bring new businesses.

“When you look at the highest and best use,” of the properties, “you’re looking at $20 a square foot, versus $5 to $6 a square foot” before the casino was built, Dansereau said.

So how long before there is a transformation? “It will probably take a couple of years,” Dansereau said, though the calls are beginning to come in now from some “big companies” he did not name. “Big investors, they look at the numbers,” of traffic counts.

The area near the casino is zoned highway commercial, so many uses are allowed by right.

While DeMello is looking to sell outright, Salibi wants to lease his property long term. He’s owned three lots, totaling two acres, since 2002 and wants to keep his breakfast restaurant that has a lot of local regulars. His convenience store at one time, before Massachusetts started selling Powerball lottery tickets, was the highest grossing lottery agent in the state.

Salibi admits he is a bit surprised the town now has a casino.


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