Joseph R. Paolino, Jr. serves as a managing partner with a primary focus on development and acquisitions for Paolino Properties. As former Mayor of Providence, RI, former Director of the RI Department of Economic Development and former Ambassador to Malta, Joe, Jr. brings an unparalleled depth and breadth of experience to the company. During the time he was Mayor, Joe, Jr. helped to change 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 re-location project in Providence. “When I was young my father would take me with him every Saturday to go look at properties,” says Joe, Jr. “When he would be in a complicated deal he'd have me there, and everybody would say: ‘What's this kid doing here?’. He said: ‘ I want him to learn.’ And so I went to Paolino University to learn real estate.”
Unlike his father Joe, Jr. did not join the business immediately after college, but instead, pursued a career in politics. “My great dream was to be Mayor of Providence,” says Joe. In 1984 at the age of 29 he accomplished that goal, becoming the youngest mayor of a major city in the history of the United States. He served as Mayor until January of 1991. He was then appointed by Governor Bruce Sundlun to the cabinet post of Director of the Department of Economic Development for the State of Rhode Island. In the mid 1990’s at the request of President Bill Clinton he became the United States Ambassador to Malta. In that role he helped facilitate the investigation of the Pan Am 103 crash with the CIA. “That bombing originated out of Malta where Libyan agents put those bombs on a plane in Malta that was then transferred into a Pan Am plane in Germany that ultimately went over Lockabee and blew up and killed so many people,” says Joe. He also successfully managed to get U.S. Navy ships back in Malta’s waters – they had been banned by the socialist government in 1971. He also helped large American corporations like General Electric and Boeing to do business with Malta.
Following the Ambassadorship Joe returned to Providence. Shortly thereafter he sold his first property, the historic TurksHead Building to a prominent RI family. “I got a $125,000 commission and I said: ‘Forget politics!’, “ says Joe. “I was hooked. It was a little more than the several hundred dollars my father got as his first commission, the one that brought him into my grandfather’s business, but it was the same principal. I realized it was finally time to join the family business in earnest. Working with my dad has been great because he's taught me a number of things. Work with your tenants. Work with the people that want to do business with you so they want to do business with you 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 deals to do.”
Joe, Jr. 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 and for the acquisition and development of the Parkade Shopping Center in Cranston, RI, at the former site of the Narragansett Brewery, a 77 acre project. 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 as well as the construction of a new post-secondary technical school for Katherine Gibbs.