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PORTSMOUTH, RI-O’Neill Properties Group plans to build Rhode Island’s largest marina as part of a mixed-use project that the Pennsylvania firm will develop over the next 10 years. Edward Lopes, vice president of development for O’Neill, tells GlobeSt.com that the firm recently paid $14.1 million to acquire Hood Marina, a 44.5-acre former Navy site, on Aquidneck Island, along with 100 acres stretching into the cove.

The newly acquired land will be used to build 1,495 boat slips, 988 one-, two- and three-bedroom residences and about 120,000 sf of restaurant and retail space.

The project, known as the Newport Club, will be O’Neill’s third on Aquidneck Island. The firm also is constructing the exclusive Carnegie Abbey Club, an upscale mixed-use project on another part of the island and has plans for another marina on the site of the former Weyerhauser timber-shipping facility where O’Neill plans to build a “destination resort” with 60 boat slips and more than 80 homes in addition to a golf academy and tennis and fitness centers.

Lopes says the company plans to begin dredging the Hood Marina site this fall when it begins the first phase of construction that will create about 300 boat slips by the summer of 2008. Construction of the mixed-use phase could begin in about two years, he notes. The project’s cost is so far undetermined but will likely stretch into the multimillions.

“The backbone of our business is taking environmentally scarred and challenged sites and turning them around to put them back on the tax rolls as residential and lifestyle developments,” Lopes says.

The marina site, once part of the Newport naval station, served as a marina for boats during World War II but more recently was used as a fuel depot for seagoing vessels.

The marina, located on Weaver Cove, was previously owned by boat building and yachtsman Ted Hood. It is presently permitted for 1,495 boat slips, which, if developed, would make the marina Rhode Island’s largest.

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