ONE Neighborhood Builders begins construction of new housing in Olneyville

ONE Neighborhood Builders begins construction of new housing in Olneyville
– The nonprofit community development corporation ONE Neighborhood Builders (formerly Olneyville Housing Corporation) commenced development of 36 new affordable rental apartments and 2 commercial spaces in the Olneyville neighborhood this month.  Known as Amherst Gardens, this project involves the rehabilitation or replacement of 16 properties, many of which were vacant, abandoned and/or highly distressed when ONE¦NB acquired them.  It includes a mix of apartment sizes, to accommodate both individuals and families.  
Amherst Gardens is a scattered site housing development, with the new or rehabilitated homes scattered throughout the residential core of Olneyville, primarily along the Amherst Street corridor.  The development will reinforce the small residential scale of the neighborhood, provide much-needed affordable housing, and resolve long-standing areas of blight.  
“We are excited to be starting construction,” exclaimed Wendy Nicholas, ONE¦NB’s Interim Executive Director.  “Amherst Gardens has been in the works for several years, and we are delighted that all of the pieces – the properties, the designs, the construction crew, and the funding – are now all in place.  In producing 36 new apartments in 14 different buildings, ONE Neighborhood Builders is continuing its campaign to improve the neighborhood, block-by-block, making it a better place for families to live, to raise their children and to find employment.  
The Amherst Gardens project follows on ONE¦NB’s Olney Village development, completed in May 2013.  Olney Village improved the area around the William D’Abate School, creating 40 affordable apartments and several commercial spaces that now house vital community assets: the food pantry serving 450 families each month and the Manton Avenue Project, an after-school arts and theater program.  Both projects serve to upgrade the neighborhood’s housing stock and create better places for families to live.  
The total development cost for Amherst Gardens is $10.4 million.  Project funding is coming from Rhode Island Housing, the City of Providence, the State of Rhode Island, the Federal Home Loan Bank, Citizens Bank, and the National Equity Fund.  TDBank provided early financing for the property acquisition.

“Rhode Island Housing is thrilled to partner with ONE Neighborhood Builders for this development, which will reinvigorate blighted properties into vibrant, much-needed housing for families,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “The Amherst Gardens initiative builds upon other investments in housing, commercial development, parks and the arts – all of which are enhancing the quality of life in the Olneyville neighborhood.” “Amherst Gardens is a great example of the kind of transformational development that the proposed $50 million Housing Bond will support,” Fields added. 

“On behalf of the Olneyville community, I’d like to thank ONE Neighborhood Builders for rebuilding and reimagining Amherst Street,” said City Councilwoman Sabina Matos, who represents Olneyville.  “Quality affordable housing is paramount to a thriving urban community. This development expands our housing options, creates a safer, more vibrant neighborhood for Olneyville families, and further improves the area around one of our most important assets—William D’Abate Elementary School—and directly benefits the students who learn and play there.”  

“Citizens Bank is excited to be a partner on the Amherst Gardens project to provide more affordable housing in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood,” said Marc Paulhus, Rhode Island President of Citizens Bank.  Citizens Bank is providing $6.6 million in construction financing.   
A community celebration is being planned for September. 

(release from ONE Neighborhood Builders) 

The CW