ONE Neighborhood Builders buys 3 acres in East Providence, plans mixed-income development

NONPROFIT ONE NEIGHBORHOOD BUILDERS recently bought three neighboring vacant properties on Taunton Avenue in East Providence totaling 2.95 acres for $4.5 million, with plans to redevelop the land into 160 units of affordable housing. / COURTESY CITY OF EAST PROVIDENCE

EAST PROVIDENCE – The nonprofit ONE Neighborhood Builders recently bought three neighboring vacant properties on Taunton Avenue in East Providence totaling 2.95 acres, with plans to redevelop the land into 160 units of affordable housing.

The 330 Taunton Ave., 350 Taunton Ave. and 354 Taunton Ave. properties were sold by Hamlet Court Real Estate LLC and Joseph Ruggiero, separately, to One Neighborhood Builders for a total of $4.5 million, according to the warranty deeds, which are public records documenting the sales.

The biggest transaction was for $3 million, with the sale of 350 Taunton Ave. by Hamlet Court Real Estate to Olneyville Housing Corp., doing business as One Neighborhood Builders, according to the warranty deed for the sale. The 330 Taunton Ave. property was sold to the nonprofit for $500,000 by Ruggiero, and the 354 Taunton Ave. site was sold for $1 million by Ruggiero to the organization, according to the warranty deeds.

The city’s online property tax evaluation database shows that the 1.1-acre 350 Taunton Ave. site was most recently valued by East Providence assessors in fiscal year 2023 as being worth $3.09 million. The property includes a dormant, four-story, 63,000-square-foot apartment building once known as Edmund Place, which was constructed in 1975. One Neighborhood Builders said the Edmund Place building will be rehabilitated as part of the project, with 54 of the affordable housing units located inside of it, and 106 additional residential units in two newly proposed buildings.

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The 330 Taunton Ave. property is currently a vacant 0.69-acre lot that was most recently valued by city assessors in fiscal year 2023 as being worth $249,000. The 354 Taunton Ave. site is a 1.1-acre lot most recently valued by city assessors this fiscal year as being worth $322,000.

One Neighborhood Builders said its plans for a mixed-use income residential community on the site, including affordable housing for “extremely low-income households,” was the “brainchild” of a group of organizations called the Taunton Avenue Collaborative. In addition to One Neighborhood Builders, the group includes homelessness service provider Crossroads Rhode Island, foster care empowerment organization Foster Forward and statewide human service organization Family Service of Rhode Island.

“Together these partners will bring their expertise in housing development and supportive service delivery to create a vibrant and diverse apartment community for extremely low-income households, [youths] aging out of foster care, and low- to moderate-income families,” according to an announcement from One Neighborhood Builders.

About 40% of the housing units at the site will be designed as “permanent supportive housing,” which pairs housing with case management and supportive services provided by One Neighborhood Builders’ service partners, according to the nonprofit. Of the 160 apartments, 25 will be managed by Crossroads Rhode Island, providing ongoing support to individuals and families who have experienced homelessness, according to One Neighborhood Builders.

In addition, Foster Forward will manage 20 apartments and provide housing and services for foster youths who have aged out of the foster care system. Lastly, Family Service of Rhode Island will support 20 units and provide supportive services to occupants who have been involved with the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families, or were at risk of being involved, according to One Neighborhood Builders.

The remaining 60% of units will be designated as affordable for households earning a low to moderate income, meaning their household income is 60% to 120% of the area median income.

So far, the collaborative has secured $7.1 million to establish the housing development. Additional funding will be needed to finish the redevelopment project, according to One Neighborhood Builders, which has a goal of opening the new apartments by the summer of 2025.

Initial funding for the Taunton Avenue Collaborative has been provided through the Rhode Island Foundation and federal grants secured by the Rhode Island congressional delegation, among other funding partners.

In addition to 160 residential units, the collaborative will create 6,000 square feet of commercial space as part of the housing development, to be used for a new “early learning center,” along with 1,500 square feet of community amenity space and “plentiful” playground areas, according to the announcement from One Neighborhood Builders.

“The Taunton Avenue Collaborative is a creative and unprecedented collaboration that provides access to affordable housing and supportive services that will help low-income individuals and families maintain their housing and live healthy lives,” said Crossroads Rhode Island CEO Karen Santilli, who credited “the other women leaders” from the other organizations in the collaborative. “This partnership is groundbreaking in Rhode Island and I hope this model is replicated throughout the state in the years to come.”

The Providence-based One Neighborhood Builders also recently began construction on a separate affordable housing project in East Providence. The $5.8 million Residences at Riverside Square project includes 16 one- and two-bedroom apartments, which are expected to be finished in early 2024, and is located at 336 Bullocks Point Ave., along the East Bay Bike Path.

Marc Larocque is a PBN contributing writer. 

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