This story was written by Ryan Belmore and Frank Prosnitz.

Carpionato Properties, which today announced it has purchased the 23.5-acre Newport Grand for $10.15 million, is interested in buying nearby properties, transforming the area into an upscale combination of hotels, restaurants, retail and office space.

Kelly Coates, Carpionato’s chief operating officer appearing on WADK’s WhatsUpNewp Radio edition, said the company had viewed the property as a “signature location begging for a fresh beginning for a long time.”

He said the company envisions a “project that is compelling for Newport that produces taxes and jobs.”

Twin River LLC has owned the property and operated it as a casino for several years, putting it up for sale when it began to build a new casino in Tiverton. The Tiverton casino is expected to open later this year. When that facility opens, the Newport Grand will close. The building opened in 1976 as a jai alai fronton, becoming a video slots parlor in 1992.

Coates said while plans are still somewhat fluid, the company anticipated building two hotels on the property, “co-branding on the same site.” He described the company’s vision for retail as similar to its Chapel View property in Cranston, a collection, he said, of “lifestyle retailers … a lifestyle, not a suburban shopping center.”

Chapel View has several retailers, the upscale Chapel Grille Restaurant, and considerable office space.

Coates anticipated that when completed in the Spring of 2020, the property will employee close to 800, with some 300 to 500 employed during the construction phase.

Asked if the company was interested in buying the Newport Daily News building, which is on the market for slightly more than $5 million, Coates said “we would love to buy that property.”

Carpionato is among the area’s major developers, with more than six million square feet of property, valued at more than $1.5 billion.

Most recently it purchased 31 Bennys’ stores, after the Bromberg family announced it was closing the stores. When completed, he estimated that project would add some 1,500 jobs.

Currently, the company operates two hotels, the upscale 266 room Crowne Plaza in Warwick and a 146 room Holiday Inn Express, also in Warwick. It also operates two restaurants within the Crowne Plaza – The Crossings Restaurant and Bar and Alfred’s Lounge. It refers to its only other restaurant, the Chapel Grill at Chapel View as the “cornerstone of Carpionato’s burgeoning restaurant portfolio.”

Coates said that while the company owns and operates properties elsewhere, it is committed to Rhode Island.

“Mr. Carpionato was born in and is committed to Rhode Island,” he said.

Listen to a podcast of our conversation below (it starts around 14:00);