$42M renovations break ground at Pawtucket’s Prospect Heights Apartments

WORKERS BROKE GROUND on renovations for the Prospect Heights Housing Project which was built in 1941-1942 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. / COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
WORKERS BROKE GROUND on renovations for the Prospect Heights Housing Project which was built in 1941-1942 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. / COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

PAWTUCKET – Nearly a year after WinnCompanies and Omni Development Corp. were approved by the Pawtucket Housing Authority for a joint venture ground lease for Pawtucket’s Prospect Heights Apartments, renovations are officially underway.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien, Pawtucket Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Vadnais, and Executive Director of the R.I. Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp. Barbara Fields recently attended a ground-breaking ceremony to kick-off the work.

“All Rhode Islanders deserve to live somewhere that’s safe and warm,” Raimondo said in a statement. “This redevelopment is a perfect example of what government and the private sector can achieve when we work together. This is a great day for Rhode Island, the City of Pawtucket, and more importantly, the people who will soon call these apartments home.”

The project, which is scheduled to finish in April 2020, will create 20 new units of housing and modernize 292 apartments across 35 two-story buildings. The complex is a historic New Deal-era public housing community built in 1942 and has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

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R.I. Housing, the Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and R.I. Commerce Corp. provided financial support for the renovations. Soft funds were also provided by the federal Home Loan Bank of Boston from the Affordable Housing Program, the Rhode Island Housing Trust Fund, and the Building Homes Rhode Island Program. Contributors to pre-development funds included Housing Ministries of New England and Local Initiatives Support Corp.

“This is truly a significant event for residents of Prospect Heights,” Executive Director Vadnais said. “I applaud the efforts of our partners in working toward providing a quality product for the residents of historic Prospect Heights, and I applaud the residents for their patience during the transition in management and enduring the relocation process.”

This renovation marks the first Rental Assistance Demonstration project in Rhode Island, and the first nationwide project listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Expanding and restoring housing is an essential part of our effort to grow economic opportunity in Rhode Island,” Commerce RI President Jesse Saglio said. “This development represents a significant step towards our goal of ensuring that Rhode Islanders at every income level have access to quality housing.”

Haley Hunt is a PBN contributing writer.