Providence City Plan Commission approves 44-unit affordable housing proposal

THE PROVIDENCE CITY Plan Commission unanimously approved a preliminary plan from Marathon Development LLC for a five-story building of 44 affordable apartments in Upper South Providence. / COURTESY MARATHON DEVELOPMENT LLC

PROVIDENCE – The Providence City Plan Commission approved the preliminary plan for a five-story building of 44 affordable apartments in Upper South Providence on Tuesday, despite concerns about the concentration of affordable housing in the area.

The commission unanimously voted to approve the plan submitted by Marathon Development LLC for the 52-foot-tall building, which will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. It will be built over a former restaurant at 220 Broad St., in a district for transit-oriented development.

The 12,421-square-foot lot is located at the corner of Broad and Summer streets, with the main entrance on Broad Street. The ground floor will include a lobby, bicycle space, a utility room and four apartments. The remaining 40 units will be distributed on the remaining floors.

The building will include a total of 44 units of affordable housing, nine of which will be two-bedroom units with an affordability range between 60% and 80% of area median income.

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This is the second phase of the Copley Chambers development by Marathon Development, a three-phase development that will bring more affordable housing to the area. Phase 1 of the project, a 26-unit residential building located at 206 Broad St., is under construction and about 85% completed, said a representative from Marathon Development.

The third phase of the development, a five-story, 80-unit mixed-use building located at 228 Broad St., which will also host a community health center, will be brought up in front of the commission in the near future.

During Tuesday’s meeting, some members of the commission raised some concerns over concentrating multiple affordable housing projects in one area, in particular considering the vicinity to several high schools.

Michael Gazdacko, chair of the commission, agreed that concentrating units of affordable housing in one area is not “ideal” but said that the state needs more affordable housing.

“I think it’s a good project and these guys are trying to do the right thing,” Gazdacko said.

Dexter Vincent, a junior at Classical High School, one of the high schools close to the development, spoke in favor of the project.

“I’ve never had a negative interaction with anybody along Broad Street,” said Vincent, who joined Tuesday’s meeting remotely. “I don’t think it will have a negative effect on students.”

Despite the animated discussion, the commission ultimately concluded this was outside of the commission’s authority and proceeded with the vote, unanimously approving the preliminary plan.

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com.

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