“Pocket Neighborhood” in East Greenwich Combines Luxury with Community

The novel neighborhood concept is brought to life by East Greenwich Cove Builders and Union Studios


Everybody knows that East Greenwich is a picturesque town. Most people think of sailboats, seafood, and sloped streets lined with colorful houses. So if you’re going to build new residences in East Greenwich, you don’t just throw up a few townhouses – especially if your new development will occupy the famous Hill and Harbor neighborhood. You have to consider the Rockwellian beauty. You have to know the locals. And you have to make something that fits.

Castle Street Cottages has done just that. Described as a “pocket neighborhood,” Castle Street fits nine different dwellings into less than an acre of land. The units are sizable, however, measuring 1,000 to 2,000 square feet, and boasting the fashionable, coastal aesthetic of the surrounding blocks. Created by East Greenwich Cove Builders LLC and architects Union Studio, Castle Street is located a short walk from Main Street and all of its epicurean delights. Residents can easily stroll a block to the marina, where they have the option to purchase a boat slip.

Not only has Castle Street attracted positive attention from locals, but the new property also won a Best in American Living Award from the National Association of Home Builders in 2019.

“Receiving this prestigious award is confirmation that our vision for the Castle Street Cottages is valued throughout our industry,” says Jerry Zarrella Jr., of Cove Builders. “With this project, we were able to capture the history and culture of East Greenwich and combine it with the social development aspect of the pocket neighborhood; a first of its kind for the area.”

The term “pocket neighborhood” was invented by architect Ross Chapin in 1995, as part of the “new urbanism” movement. The idea was to create an efficient living space for multiple households, but which also feels spacious and maximizes community. Instead of finding open land on the edge of East Greenwich, Cove Builders replaced derelict old residences in the middle of town.

Island kitchens, marble walls, and cozy fireplaces will win over a lot of folks in their own right, but the outdoor space is just as welcoming: Walking paths connect each unit to the others, converging in a court with manicured lawns and a nautical flagpole. Castle Street Cottages may be the first deliberate pocket neighborhood in Rhode Island, but with luck, it’ll be the first of many.

“We truly wanted to bring something transformative to the area, and I believe we’ve done that,” Zarrella adds. “We hope this development brings back a sense of community, where you can feel safe in the comfort of knowing your neighbors, while providing repeatable lessons for building densely in historic neighborhoods.” 


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