Providence, R.I. – U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Congressman David Cicilline, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and leaders from RIHousing and Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) celebrated 128 newly renovated apartments at Oxford Gardens and Oxford Place today.
The recently completed $25 million project, undertaken by POAH, involved a $7.5 million renovation including new roofs, siding and insulation, solar panels, energy efficient windows, hot water heater and furnace replacements, upgraded fire protection systems, common-area improvements, handicap accessibility modifications and the modernization of many original apartment kitchens and bathrooms.
“Investing in our local neighborhoods and working families creates a ripple effect, employing construction workers, beautifying our community, addressing public safety issues and strengthening our economy,” said Senator Jack Reed. “I am proud to help deliver funds and drive growth and investment in Rhode Island’s accessible housing.”
“It is critical that we support our housing partners in their efforts to modernize and expand the housing stock in our state,” said Congressman David Cicilline.“The Rhode Island delegation will continue to ensure that our tax dollars are re-invested to benefit hardworking Rhode Islanders, like the residents of Oxford Place and Oxford Gardens Apartments.”
“We see cranes in the sky and new development throughout our neighborhoods, but it’s improvements like Oxford Place and Gardens that truly make our communities stronger,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “We need more homes that working families, seniors and college graduates can afford. Thank you to Senator Reed, Congressman Cicilline, RIHousing and Preservation of Affordable Housing for investing in the residents of Providence.”
This project marks the 40th renovation of a Providence housing development in the last three years. In the past year, the agency financed the development and preservation of 470 homes statewide. This development activity represents a $98 million investment in Rhode Island communities and supports 400 jobs.
“Affordable residential housing is a critical component of economic development and Rhode Island has suffered through one of the slowest economic recoveries after the great recession,” said Treasurer Magaziner. “This project will improve the quality of life for dozens of Rhode Islanders, many of them senior citizens or those living with disabilities, while investing in upgrades that are good for the environment and create savings.”
“RIHousing is proud to be a part of the transformation of Oxford Place and Gardens,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RI Housing. “As we saw this week through the release of the 2018 Housing Factbook, 35 percent of renters are paying too much of their income for housing. Under the leadership of Governor Gina Raimondo, RIHousing is investing in communities across the state to ensure that Rhode Islanders at every income level have access to quality housing.”
Located between Broad Street and Prairie Avenue in lower South Providence, Oxford Place and Oxford Gardens were originally developed by Peoples Redevelopment Corporation (PRC), a community nonprofit organization. The buildings were constructed in 1978 and 1989 respectively and were supported by financing from RIHousing. After nearly three decades of ownership, PRC selected Boston-based Preservation of Affordable Housing to carry on their important work and ensure preservation of the developments. POAH combined both properties into one ownership entity and extended the affordability of the apartments for an additional 40 years.
“POAH is excited to share today’s celebration of this renovation with residents and our partners who made it possible – RIHousing, Peoples Redevelopment Corporation, Boston Private Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank Boston,” said Aaron Gornstein, President and CEO of Preservation of Affordable Housing. “With this renovation, we are committed to the long-term sustainability of Oxford Place and Oxford Gardens and the health and success of our residents.”
The rehabilitation was partially funded using the State’s Housing Preservation and Production Program (HPPP), a pilot program that was proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo and approved by the General Assembly. The HPPP program, administered by RIHousing, provided gap financing to developers to rehabilitate existing apartments and build new homes within financial reach for Rhode Islanders.
RIHousing issued tax exempt bonds that were purchased directly by Boston Private Bank & Trust Company. In addition, financing included State Housing Preservation and Production funds and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity from Stratford Capital. Peoples Redevelopment Corporation provided seller financing, and POAH also contributed a sponsor loan. The project also benefited from a grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston Affordable Housing Program.