Media release

Rhode Island Foundation and Marsella Development Corporation pave way for redeveloping Union Station

Marsella Development Corporation in discussions to acquire former Capital Grille, Bar Louie locations from Rhode Island Foundation for major redevelopment project

The Marsella Development Corporation today announced plans to redevelop the ground level of One Union Station which will feature a 16,000-square-foot food hall in the space that previously held the Capital Grille and Bar Louie. Under a tentative agreement with the Rhode Island Foundation, the Foundation will continue to own and occupy its current two floors of offices at One Union Station.

The Marsella family has been deeply connected to Union Station for more than 30 years, having led its redevelopment after a devastating fire in 1987. Looking ahead, the family is excited to build a space that connects Waterplace Park, the Riverwalk and Kennedy Plaza, while also creating a new space that celebrates Rhode Islanders' passion and creativity.

When complete, the food hall will allow for more than a dozen separate restaurant concepts and bars to highlight local talent within one exciting space.

"As we emerge from the most challenging of times, we know that people will once again come together, as they always have, around food," said Chris Marsella, president of Marsella Development Corporation. "We are building a space that will bring people together, foster talented members of the culinary community and showcase the very best of Rhode Island."

The announcement comes as Marsella Development Corporation and the Rhode Island Foundation negotiate the sale of the ground level of One Union Station – which served as Providence's train station for most of the 20th century.

Under the tentative agreement, the 49,000-square-foot-building will be divided into two condominium spaces: the ground floor of the building that opens onto Waterplace Park will be sold to Marsella Development Corporation and the upper levels of the building that overlook Kennedy Plaza will remain under the ownership and occupation of the Foundation. The upper levels include space that is leased to The Public’s Radio and Rhode Island Kids Count; both will remain tenants of the Foundation. As it has voluntarily done since purchasing the building in 1999, the Foundation will continue to pay property taxes on the space it occupies.

“We’re excited about the Marsella family’s vision for Union Station, and see this as another step in our decades-long commitment to supporting downtown Providence. From grants for street workers in Kennedy Plaza to supporting the redevelopment of Downcity through a partnership with the Providence Revolving Fund, we continue to invest in the capital city,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

“The Rhode Island Foundation has shown remarkable support for this vision for Union Station and further improving the quality of life in downtown Providence,” said Marsella. “On behalf of my family, I want to thank the entire Rhode Island Foundation community. We have been proud to be your neighbors for more than two decades and we look forward to many more.”

In the coming months, Marsella Development and its team will be working in the community–listening and learning–to make sure the future of Union Station captures all that we love about Rhode Island.

#####

About Marsella Development Corporation
Marsella Development Corporation was founded in 1979 by Romolo Marsella and has played a catalytic role in the redevelopment of downtown Providence, including the creation of the Capital Center District, Promenade Center, the Providence Performing Arts Center, One Citizens Plaza and the Union Station complex. In 2008, Chris Marsella took over the helm, where he continues to identify unique investment opportunities while engaging in the community to which he is tirelessly committed.

About the Rhode Island Foundation
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $68 million and awarded a record $87 million in grants in 2020. Since its centennial five years ago, the Foundation has awarded more than $284 million in grants and has raised more than $328 million. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.