These new homes reflect a $21 million investment by community partners in the area
Providence, RI – March 11, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Senator Jack Reed and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse joined Omni Development Corporation, WinnDevelopment, Rhode Island Housing and other community partners including HUD, R.I.’s Housing Resources Commission, Rhode Island LISC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch today to celebrate the opening of a major revitalization effort on the sites of previously distressed and foreclosed properties in Providence’s West End.
“This is a great example of how federal, local, and private partners can work together to revitalize a neighborhood. I am pleased that over $3 million in federal funds helped spark this transformation. We are working to build a vibrant, walkable, family-friendly community,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, who has secured millions in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to help local communities throughout Rhode Island acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties.
“We must find innovative ways to preserve and protect neighborhoods with a high number of foreclosed properties,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “These new housing units will help revitalize Providence’s West End neighborhood, and provide safe, affordable housing options for Rhode Island families who need help getting back on their feet. I congratulate Rhode Island Housing and its partners for a job well done.”
This development, called Phoenix Apartments, consists of 83 new or completely rebuilt rental homes located on various properties along Althea, Waverly, Bellevue, Hanover, Cranston and Waldo streets and community space on Cranston Street. The creation of these homes and community space transformed 22 formerly dilapidated and foreclosed multi-family homes and one vacant storefront using sustainable, energy-conserving building techniques.
“These new affordable rental homes are a perfect example of turning a liability into an asset,” Governor Chafee said. “These formerly abandoned and foreclosed buildings – which previously were a risk to the community in terms of fire or vandalism – will now provide safe and affordable housing to Rhode Islanders in need. This ribbon cutting is good news for Providence’s West End, and projects such as this, which transform an unused and dilapidated building into a community asset, are good news for Rhode Island.”
Additionally, there was broad-based community engagement in which the tenants and area residents played a role in planning the development including related supportive services.
Collaboratively they named the development Phoenix Apartments to reflect the hope arising from this $21 million investment in the Providence’s West End community out of the wreckage of distressed and abandoned properties.
“We are very excited to have successfully worked with our partners to complete this massive rehabilitation project and have the opportunity to reopen Phoenix Apartments for the people of Providence,” said Larry Curtis, President and Managing Partner, WinnDevelopment. “As our sixth development in Providence, Winn is proud of its history contributing to the revitalization of communities and we look forward to doing further outreach here in Providence.”
“Along with our valued Partners, we are proud to be completing this most ambitious urban development initiative,” said Joseph Caffey, President of Omni Development and Managing Partner of Phoenix Apartments, LP. “Preserving 83 units of affordable housing meets a critical need in our Capitol City. We trust that our Phoenix residents will benefit for many years from these new HUD Section 8 apartments. Special thanks are due National Grid for supporting the energy-efficiency measures through their Deep Energy Retrofit program.”
Many community partners worked together to ensure the completion of the revitalization of this key Providence neighborhood. Among the funding sources were Rhode Island Housing financing, HOME, LeadSafe Homes Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and the 2006 voter-supported housing bond, Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI), Bank of American Merrill Lynch and Housing Credits.
“HUD investments provide communities such as Providence’s West End with the building blocks to turn blight into hope. Phoenix Apartments is providing families not only a place to live – but a place to call home, where children can do homework and families can celebrate holidays,” said HUD New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields, “HUD congratulates all of the partners involved with this extraordinary project.”
“Phoenix Apartments represents a successful partnership among many parties,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “Working together we have built or rebuilt 83 good homes; put people to work; and kindled the revitalization of a neighborhood. At Rhode Island Housing, we invest not only in urban neighborhoods but in creating healthy and affordable housing opportunities in all of our cities and towns.”
As part of HUD’s approval for the redevelopment plan, Phoenix Apartments needed to remain as 83 apartments with the exact same bedroom count currently identified in the Section 8 contract. All of the apartments have Section 8 rental assistance, which allows each household to pay 30 percent of its income for rent.
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch is pleased to provide a $13.5 million construction loan for this wonderful redevelopment in Providence’s West End,” said Maria Barry, Community Development National Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We congratulate Omni Development Corporation and their partner WinnDevelopment on the completion of Phoenix Apartments, which will provide high-quality, energy-efficient homes for 83 families.”
“For developments like this one to come to fruition, it takes a vision from the residents, funding partners and leadership,” said Jeanne Cola, Chair of the Housing Resources Commission and Executive Director of RI LISC. “We are very proud that LISC was involved with pre-development funds and our affiliate the National Equity Fund provided the private investment necessary to bring this project to fruition. Building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities is the cornerstone of our work at LISC.”
Elaine DeAngelis, 401-461-4442, edeangelis (at) omnidevelopmentcorp (dot) com
Faye Zuckerman, 401-277-1564, fzuckerman (at) rhodeislandhousing (dot) org