Sixty King, the former Imperial Knife building, reopens as affordable housing in Olneyville

GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO, center, speaks at the ribbon cutting for Sixty King./COURTESY CITIZENS BANK.
GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO, center, speaks at the ribbon cutting for Sixty King./COURTESY CITIZENS BANK.

PROVIDENCE – A former textile mill, later converted to a factory for hand knives, has been converted for a more immediate need: affordable housing.

The completion of the Imperial Knife Building conversion to 60 affordable apartments was celebrated on Tuesday by state and local officials.

The $22.5 million project was completed through a partnership of the Olneyville neighborhood’s nonprofit community development organization, ONE Neighborhood Builders, and Boston based developer-Trinity Financial, whose work is well known in greater Boston.

The adaptive reuse of the former mill, now called Sixty King, remediated the site of hazardous wastes, according to a news release issued by one of its financiers, Citizens Bank.

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In all, 54 of the 60 apartment units will be leased at affordable rates for residents with a range of incomes.

Forty-seven of the units will be rented at an affordable rate for those that earn 60 percent of the area’s median income, or affordable for a family of three earning up to $43,400.

Another seven units will be leased at rates affordable to a similar family earning up to $21,700.

Six units will have rents set at market rate prices.

Apartments include configurations of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The larger units often are styled as lofts, with one of the bedrooms on an upper level.

The building originally was built in 1923 by the Rochambeau Worsted Wool Company, then acquired by the Imperial Knife Company in the mid-1950s. It operated until the late 1980s.

The building had a series of tenants over the next several decades. It has been vacated since 2007.

60 King was financed with a combination of federal, state and local funds, including federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and federal and state historic preservation tax credits. The project received a $10 million construction loan from Citizens Bank and a $16 million equity investment by Citizens.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at