South Dartmouth Papa Gino’s will be demolished

Mar 13, 2019

As the redevelopment of the former Benny’s on Dartmouth Street advances, another change has been made to the plan: the old Papa Gino’s building on Dartmouth Street is coming down.

The building is on the same property of the former Benny’s building, which was shuttered in 2017. Rhode Island-based developer Carpionato Group announced plans to renovate the 24,572 square-foot building and expand the building with an addition to support multiple tenants.

Since announcing the plans last December, several changes have been made. Initially, O’Reilly Auto Parts was announced as the first tenant, but in February company officials announced the auto parts company had backed out. Instead Dollar General will take its place.

At the March 11 Planning Board meeting, developers presented updated designs for the Benny’s building to accommodate the change in tenant and comply with the town’s design guidelines. The guidelines include design recommendations like pitched roofs to help developers build buildings which blend in with typical New England architecture.

That was not the only change to the plans. Previously, developers intended to keep the Papa Gino’s building in place, but the company could not find a tenant. The former pizza shop closed suddenly in November 2018. It was among dozens of locations shuttered unexpectedly as the New England-based chain restaurant filed for bankruptcy. It has remained vacant since.

A later phase of the renovation now includes the demolition of the building, and in its place, preliminary plans for two drive-thru based businesses. Project developers noted they have received interest from several companies for drive-thrus, although potential tenants were not disclosed.

The first phase of the plan will see Dollar General opening as soon as April. The existing Benny’s building will be renovated, but developers will save the construction of the addition and demolition of Papa Gino’s for a second phase of the project, which will require additional approvals - although the Planning Board signaled their support for the current long-term plan with only a few recommended changes.