As the former Mayor of Providence, former Director of the RI Department of Economic Development, and former Ambassador to Malta, Joe brings an unparalleled depth and breadth of experience to Paolino Properties.
“My great dream was to be Mayor of Providence,” says Joe. In 1984, at the age of 29, he achieved his dream by becoming the youngest mayor of a major city in the history of the United States. As mayor, Joe was a critical component in changing the skyline of Providence by encouraging the development of large scale projects such as the Providence Place Mall, the Providence Convention Center, and the river relocation project. He served as mayor until January 1991. He was then appointed by Governor Bruce Sundlun as the Director of the Department of Economic Development for the State of Rhode Island.
In 1994, at the request of President Clinton, he became United States Ambassador to Malta. As Ambassador, Joe worked with the U.S. intelligence agencies and helped facilitate the investigation of the Pan Am 103 crash. Joe was instrumental in getting large American corporations like General Electric and Boeing to do business with Malta. He successfully managed to get U.S. Navy ships back into Malta’s waters — they had been banned by the socialist government in 1971.
“My great dream was to be mayor of providence.”
Following his Ambassadorship, Joe returned to Providence and shortly thereafter sold his first property — the historic Turk’s Head Building. “I got a $125,000 commission and I said ‘Forget politics!’ I was hooked. It was a little more than the two hundred dollars my father got for his first commission, which encouraged him to get into my grandfather’s business, however, it was the same principle. I realized it was finally time to join the family business in earnest. Working with my dad was priceless because he truly taught me so many things about the business. He always taught me, ‘work with your tenants, work with the people that want to do business with you so they want to continue to do business with you again and again and again.’ He taught me that no deal is impossible to make if you believe in it, and the complicated deals are the most fun because they give the greatest sense of achievement.”
Joe has been responsible for the development of the Vanderbilt Residences at Brown & Howard Wharf in Newport, a high-end residential complex on the waterfront with a marina. He has also been instrumental in the acquisition and development of the 77-acre Parkade Shopping Center in Cranston, RI at the former site of Narragansett Brewery. That shopping complex now has over 750,000 SF of retail space occupied by retailers like Kmart, Stop & Shop and Lowes. Along with partner First Hartford Realty, Paolino Properties retains ownership of approximately 250,000 SF of retail space in the Parkade.
Joe also facilitated the development, construction and lease back arrangement of a new police station for the City of Cranston. He also oversaw the construction of a new post-secondary technical school for Katherine Gibbs. Paolino Properties owns 444 Westminster Street, which is home to the City of Providence Economic Development, Inspection and Standards, and Law Departments, as well as Workforce Solutions.
In January 2014, Joe purchased of a 20-story downtown office tower, at 100 Westminster Street, and two smaller properties, at 30 Kennedy Plaza, for about $60 million. He is now the only Rhode Island resident to own a high-rise building in Providence. The 350,000 square-foot high-rise houses offices for Providence Equity Partners, Bank of America and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
In January 2015, Paolino Properties purchased a 123,000 square foot East Providence building that houses research and development, administrative, and data offices for Hasbro Industries. The building at 200 Narragansett Park Drive, in East Providence, Rho- de Island was acquired from Conhas I & II, LLC for a purchase price of $10.5 million. The purchase provides continued growth of Paolino Properties’ portfolio through strategic alignment with Class ‘A’ Tenants, all of whom are strong economic producers within the state. Hasbro Industries continues to occupy the building, which houses over 400 employees. Below are photos of the completed project.