ONE Neighborhood Builders puts Housing Bond Funding to work

ONE Neighborhood Builders Puts Housing Bond Funding to Work, Continuing Olneyville Revitalization with Amherst Gardens

Organization also accepts HousingWorks charter, welcomes new Executive Director Michael De Vos 

Providence, RI (October 14) – Rhode Island Housing and ONE Neighborhood Builders were joined by Mayor Jorge Elorza at a groundbreaking for Amherst Gardens in Providence Friday. During the celebration, ONE Neighborhood Builders was presented with a NeighborWorks charter and officially welcomed its new Executive Director, Michael DeVos. Today’s presentation makes ONE just the third organization in Rhode Island to hold a NeighborWorks charter.

"I am excited to see the revitalization of vacant and foreclosed homes and applaud the work that ONE Neighborhood Builders does to strengthen our neighborhoods," said Mayor Jorge Elorza. "These mixed use developments not only provide additional commercial units to the area but also give the opportunity for 26 more families to find a home in our city. We should continue to invest in affordable housing and I urge all RI residents to vote YES on Question 7 to support more of these kinds of projects."

Amherst Gardens is a 36-unit residential scattered site development that continues ONE|NB Neighborhood Builders’ comprehensive neighborhood revitalization initiative to address the foreclosure crisis in Olneyville. The development will provide 26 apartments and two commercial units at 16 strategically located properties which are a mix of new construction and existing buildings that will be fully rehabilitatated. 

“NeighborWorks America believes that every community should be a place of opportunity. One Neighborhood Builders’ newest development Amherst Gardens is a prime example of turning blighted areas into a place of pride and a place where people can live affordably and safely” said Joan Straussman Brandon, Northeast Senior Director of NeighborWorks America.  “We are proud to have One Neighborhood Builders in NeighborWorks’ Network of Excellence.”  

All of the existing buildings included in Amherst Gardens are distressed properties that were previously foreclosed, blighted, vacant, or severely distressed and require significant redevelopment. The properties were selected due to their nuisance effect in the neighborhood, the high visibility of several buildings located at street corners, their proximity to previously developed ONE|NB sites and the positive impact their redevelopment will have on surrounding homes.

“I am extremely proud to join ONE Neighborhood Builders and to accept this prestigious NeighborWorks charter today,” said Michael DeVos, new Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders. “With Amherst Gardens, we are continuing Olneyville’s revitalization: instead of boarded up doors and windows, these renovated properties will offer the neighborhood healthy, affordable homes for families.” 

ONE|NB employed a similar strategy in their Olney Village development, which was completed in 2013 and focused on the area surrounding the D’Abate Elementary School and resulted in significant improvement of the area, 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.

“Amherst Gardens is a great example of the kind of transformational development that the proposed $50 million Rhode Island state housing bond will support,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “This 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.”

The total development cost for the project is more than $10 million. Financing sources include a Building Homes Rhode Island grant from the 2012 housing bond, a Rhode Island Housing first mortgage, equity from the sale of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an Affordable Housing Program grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and a City of Providence Eagle Square TIF award.
“ONE Neighborhood Builders has once again assembled an innovative and transformative project that will continue the revitalization of the Olneyville neighborhood.   And, National Equity Fund is proud to partner with ONE NB,” said Tony Lyons, NEF’s senior vice president and head of East originations team.

(release from ONE Neighborhood Builders)