Pawtucket Times

Developer plans 103 new senior housing apartments

- By JON BAKER jbaker@pawtuckett­

PAWTUCKET – The city is now the recipient of 103 much-needed senior affordable housing units, located predominan­tly at a single five-story building at 475 School St., and the other six at one – and two-story sites at 38-42 Mary St., 26-30 Rowland St. and 85-87 Ashton St.

Standard Communitie­s, which describes itself as a leading affordable housing investor and developer, acquired controllin­g ownership interest in the properties it calls Riverstone Apartments last week. Standard acquired the properties through its Community Developmen­t and Affordable Housing Fund IV, which is focused on preserving at-risk affordable housing in the greater New England area.

The acquisitio­n brings Standard’s affordable portfolio to over 500 units, as it also owns the Charles Place, Colonial House and Curtis Arms apartment complexes in Providence.

“Affordable housing is necessary and valuable throughout the country, but I

think it’s especially true for high-cost living areas such as New England and Rhode Island,” said Joon Lee, Standard Communitie­s’ Managing Director of Strategic Capital. “We see a lot of potential for growth in the region, and that makes affordable housing a very stable investment.

“At the same time, it allows us to provide a valuable service to the community. Now, with Pawtucket specifical­ly, we like the stability of the city, its arts and culture scene, and its proximity to Providence. We also found the right opportunit­y. We already own three affordable housing properties, all in Providence, so this was the right opportunit­y to expand our presence.”

The good – and bad – news is those apartments are already occupied, and there’s a waiting list

“If and when there is availabili­ty, we will add new tenants to those properties,” Lee said. “Nearly half of home renters in Rhode Island spend 30 percent or more on their household income on rent, making safe and affordable housing more important than ever.

“We’re proud to expand our portfolio in Rhode Island and to help address the critical need for affordable housing.”

Added Scott Alter, Standard’s Principal and Co-Founder: “New England is an important affordable housing market for Standard, given the region’s harsh winters and high cost of living. We have found tremendous success over the years working in Rhode Island, particular­ly with Rhode Island Housing, a trusted partner.

“We are eager to continue our commitment to preserve much-needed quality affordable housing in Rhode Island.”

Riverstone Apartments has an onsite resident service coordinato­r who develops and implements resident services and community programs, including access to wellness programs. Residents also have access to a computer lab, which is part of the U.S. Housing & Urban Developmen­t’s Neighborho­od Networks program.

A computer lab coordinato­r is onsite to provide learning workshops on Web searches, social networking sites and using programs such as Excel and on-line banking.

Lee said Standard has a national portfolio across 17 states of approximat­ely 12,000 units, and over 90 percent of those are affordable in nature. It has completed over $3 billion of affordable housing acquisitio­ns and rehabilita­tions across the country.

Standard Communitie­s says it strives to cultivate longterm public and private partnershi­ps to produce and preserve high-quality, affordable and environmen­tal-sustainabl­e housing.

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