Champlin’s Marina sells for $19 million
Champlin’s Marina and Resort was sold for $19 million in late December. Longtime owner Joseph Grillo, who bought the marina in 1986 under the entity name Champlin’s Realty Associates Limited Partnership, has sold the property to Great Salt Pond Marina Property, LLC of 1140 Reservoir Ave, Cranston RI – an entity formed under the umbrella of the Procaccianti Companies. The transaction took place on December 23.
On its website, Procaccianti describes itself as: “one of the largest and most sophisticated privately-held real estate investment and management companies in the United States.”
“Champlin’s Hotel, Marina and Resort on Block Island is a remarkable destination located in one of the highest barriers to entry markets in all of North America,” said James Procaccianti, President and Chief Executive Officer of Procaccianti Companies in a statement to The Times. “Opportunities to own and operate heirloom-quality, historic properties like Champlin’s are extremely rare and we feel privileged to be the new custodians of this tremendous property that has welcomed guests to Block Island for decades. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Block Island experience and worthy partners within the Block Island community. We are currently completing our property improvement strategy and we’re eager to share our plans once finalized.”
Champlin’s is composed of two separate lots, both in the Historic District, off West Side Road – Lots five and six on Plat Map 19. Together, the lots total almost eight acres, and Grillo bought them in 1986 for $1,268,500 according to the Town of New Shoreham’s records on Vision Appraisal.
Also according to Vision Appraisal, Lot six, for the 2018 valuation year, was assessed at $4,707,900, and Lot five was assessed at $9,513,900, for a total assessed value of $14,221,800 for land and buildings.
Lot six has the restaurant, swimming pool, movie theater and a shed, while Lot five has all of the other buildings, including dock buildings and the hotel, as well as the docks themselves.
Champlin’s website says: “Champlin’s Marina can comfortably accommodate 250 boats including deep-draft ocean-going yachts up to 300 feet.”
The website also boasts the only hotel pool on the island, complete with bar, a restaurant, bakery, and a store.
The hotel, as it exists now, was built in 1980, and during the summer of 2020, Champlin’s advertised its rooms from $325 per weeknight for a “Spacious two-queen bedroom” to $595 per weekend night for a “Kitchenette Suite” with dining and living areas with pullout couch and two queen beds. Free Wi-Fi is available, and the rooms are air-conditioned.
Status of Supreme Court Case
Champlin’s has had an at-times, checkered relationship with Block Island. There is of course the case now before the R.I. Supreme Court, which is an appeal of the Superior Court’s upholding of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council decision to deny Champlin’s request for expansion of its docks into the waters of the Great Salt Pond.
Champlin’s original application to the CRMC was back in 2003 when the marina sought to enlarge its acreage in the Great Salt Pond, and add enough dock space for 140 more boats.
The application was vehemently opposed by the town and many residents. What ensued was a back-and-forth between the CRMC and the courts that spanned the better part of two decades. The Committee for the Great Salt Pond raised thousands of dollars in donations from the general public to fund the legal battle.
In February 2020, R.I. Superior Court Judge Kristin Rogers upheld the decision to deny Champlin’s request to expand into the pond, and many on the island celebrated, thinking that the long battle was finally over. But then, suddenly, Champlin’s filed an appeal to the RI Supreme Court in October, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
By the end of December, rumors were flying around the island that somehow, the CRMC had granted Champlin’s Marina an expansion. It could have been because of an item that appeared on the agenda for the CRMC’s Dec. 29 meeting that reads: “Request for Executive Session pursuant to RIGL § 42-46-5(a)(2), litigation, discussion on Champlin’s Realty Associates v. Lemont Supreme Court appeal.”
In a phone call to Dan Prentiss, attorney for the Committee for the Great Salt Pond on Monday, Jan. 4, he told The Block Island Times: “Nothing has changed.” Prentiss said he had reviewed the Supreme Court’s case portal and found no recent decisions or court action of any kind that would indicate that the matter was being sent back to the CRMC. The last action by the Supreme Court was when it decided to allow the case to go forward back in October. Prentiss said the case was still in its earliest stages.