Pennrose chosen as developer for Parcel 9 in I-195 Redevelopment District, proposes two buildings

Updated 9:42 a.m.

Pennrose plans to build two, five-story buildings on Parcel 9 with a total of 130 units of mixed-income housing. COURTESY I-195 REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT COMMISSION.

PROVIDENCE — The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission chose Philadelphia-based Pennrose as the developer for Parcel 9, a site in the Fox Point area. The development company, which has a long history in construction of affordable- and workforce-priced housing, has pledged to build 130 units over two retail spaces in two buildings.

The proposal was the larger of two considered by the commission. It will involve two separated, five-story buildings of similar design. About 40% of the units will be leased at market rates. Another 40% will be leased at rates affordable to Providence residents who earn between 30% and 80% of the median income in the area. The remainder will be rented at workforce housing rates, which fall in between the two.

Pennrose, which has offices across the country, including in Boston, has built more than 265 projects in 16 states and the District of Columbia. This would be its first in Rhode Island. The company had previously sought to gain permission to develop on Parcel 28, a process that attracted four development proposals in 2019.

Its Fox Point project would set the new housing over commercial spaces at street level, and would include a courtyard oriented toward a walking trail known as City Walk, which will connect Fox Point through the I-195 district to other neighborhoods of the city.

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Commission members chose the proposal over one submitted by Providence-based ONE Neighborhood Builders, which had proposed a building with two wings containing 58 mixed-rate apartments and a childcare center to be leased by Children’s Friend.

Commissioner Mike McNally said the choice was made because of the clear experience that Pennrose has in building new affordable housing. The company has partnered with architect The Architectural Team.

“It basically came down to them having almost double the amount of affordable workforce housing [and] their national experience,” he said.

According to the initial proposal, Pennrose plans to purchase the 1-acre parcel for $800,000, subsidized by a loan from the I-195 district, according to an analysis prepared by the district’s economic consultant, Real Estate Solutions Group.

Construction of the two buildings is expected to begin in July 2022, at a project cost per square foot of $311 for the first building and $324 for the second.

In a statement, the Providence city councilman for the district, John Goncalves, said he welcomes the investment in Fox Point. “While the ONE Neighborhood Builder’s “Ernestina” project was definitely a favorite among constituents, I certainly look forward to the Pennrose project and the much-needed housing, robust development and investment it will bring to Ward 1 and the city,” he said.

(CLARIFIES 7th paragraph by inserting “[and]” in quote.)

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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