Gaia Pays $55M for 2 East Providence M-F Complexes6 May 2013, 2:58 pm
Gaia Real Estate has purchased two East Providence multi-family communities and 20 acres of undeveloped land for $55 million or $115,000 per unit, the Providence Business News reports. CBRE/New England, a joint venture of CBRE Group Inc. and Whittier Partners Group, represented the buyer in the transaction and procured financing.
Located in the Riverside neighborhood, the two properties, Winchester Park and Winchester Wood, offer 478 units distributed among 79 two- and three-story townhouse buildings. Winchester Park was built between 1971 and 1974 and renovated in 2000. It encompasses 416 units and 63 buildings. Winchester Wood was completed in 1985 and comprises 62 units and 16 two-story buildings.
“We believe in the Providence apartment submarket and intend to continue to embark on a substantial value-added program for properties,” said Gaia managing partners Danny Fishman and Amir Yerushalmi in a statement.
Amenities include a renovated clubhouse, a fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool with a sun deck, tennis courts, a private landscaped courtyard, 694 parking spaces, on-site management and 24-hour emergency maintenance.
Gaia, which will also manage the properties, plans to upgrade common areas and renovate unit interiors. The New York-based company owns $1.15 billion in assets nationwide, including 13,000 multi-family units.
Providence Station on Track for $5.7M Renovation21 Apr 2013, 6:57 pm
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation plans to begin construction next year on a $5.7 million makeover of Providence Station. Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other officials unveiled details of the project April 15 during a ceremony at the facility.
The Federal Transit Administration, Federal Highway Administration and the state will provide funding for the renovation. Plans call for sprucing up the 27-year-old station’s physical appearance, reconstructing pedestrian and vehicular access and adding bicycle parking facilities. Engineers will inspect the south side plaza deck and identify any necessary repairs. RIDOT will replace the landscape planter structures and add improved signage to direct users to the Station.
“These upgrades and improvements will help us make the experience of traveling to Providence via rail more convenient, more pleasant, and more reflective of our outstanding capital city,” Chafee said. “I am strongly supportive of strategic investments that strengthen our infrastructure – this is certainly one such project, and I am grateful for the State-Federal partnership that made it possible.”
Providence Station was among the first projects to be built as part of the Capital Center redevelopment. Serving more than 1 million Amtrak and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority passengers annually, the station ranks 16th among Amtrak’s 500 stations.
“In its 27-year history, the Providence Station has become a major hub for trains, buses, vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s starting to show its wear and tear,”said RIDOT Director Michael Lewis. “It’s critical that we maintain and improve this facility and position it for the future as a major rail stop on the Northeast Corridor.”
Photo credits: Loodog via Wikimedia Commons
High Rock Seeks Tax Credits for “Superman Building’s” M-F Makeover8 Apr 2013, 10:46 pm
High Rock Development of Newton, Mass. is planning to repurpose the 26-story Industrial Trust Tower in downtown Providence from office to residential rental space. According to the Associated Press, the owner of the 350,000-square-foot property intends to build up to 290 apartments on the upper floors, as well as ground-floor retail and restaurant space.
Bill Fischer, a spokesman for High Rock, told AP that the company is seeking historic tax credits to reposition the 85-year-old Art Deco landmark, which is Rhode Island’s tallest office building.
“Downtown Providence is in real need for residential rental space. It’s not in dire or desperate need for office space,” he said. “When you start to talk about the future of Providence and what it’s going to look like in five to 10 years … it makes perfect sense.”
High Rock is awaiting the results of an economic impact study it commissioned to determine the best re-use of the property. The company hopes to come up with a clear redevelopment plan in three or four weeks.
Also known as the Superman building, the property at 111 Westminster St. opened in 1928. Its only tenant, Bank of America, completed its move out of the building last month.
Photo credits: Julie Kertesz via Wikimedia Commons
Omni, WinnDevelopment Wrap $21M West End M-F Rehab23 Mar 2013, 3:22 pm
A $21 million makeover has transformed a series of dilapidated buildings in Providence’s West End into 83 units of energy-efficient affordable housing. A year of construction was capped off March 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Gov. Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and other federal, state and local officials.
To create the new rental properties, collectively named Phoenix Apartments, a joint venture of Omni Development Corp. and WinnDevelopment rehabilitated or rebuilt 22 abandoned and foreclosed multi-family buildings on Althea, Waverly, Bellevue, Hanover, Cranston and Waldo streets. The developers demolished seven buildings and replaced them with nine new buildings and three parking sites.
Another 17 buildings were gutted and rehabilitated; seven of those properties were rebuilt either with fewer units or fewer bedrooms in order to reduce density. Also included is 3,148 square feet of space for property management offices, a central laundry facility and a community meeting room.
A variety of public and private sources provided funding, including Rhode Island Housing, HOME, LeadSafe Homes Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the 2006 voter-supported housing bond, Building Homes Rhode Island, Bank of American Merrill Lynch and Housing Credits
“Preserving 83 units of affordable housing meets a critical need in our capital city,” said Joseph Caffey, president of Omni Development Corp., and managing partner of Phoenix Apartments, L.P. “We trust that our Phoenix residents will benefit for many years from these new HUD Section 8 apartments.”
Rhode Island Housing acquired the properties from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2010 and selected the Omni/WinnDevelopment team to redevelop them. As a condition of the plan’s approval by HUD, the developers maintained 83 apartments with the identical bedroom count identified in the Section 8 contract. The Section 8 rental assistance program allows each household to pay 30 percent of its income for rent
“These new affordable rental homes are a perfect example of turning a liability into an asset,” Governor Chafee said. “These formerly abandoned and foreclosed buildings – which previously were a risk to the community in terms of fire or vandalism – will now provide safe and affordable housing to Rhode Islanders in need.”
Photo: Rhode Island Housing
Washington Trust Finances Historic Downtown Office Building, Parking Facilities11 Mar 2013, 5:34 pm
by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor
Washington Trust’s commercial real estate group has provided mortgage financing for One Financial Center Plaza, an historic 128,000-square-foot office building at 10 Weybosset Street in Downtown Providence.
Completed in 1896, One Financial Center Plaza was the city’s first fireproof steel-framed high-rise building. It was a multi-tenant office and retail property until its acquisition by Amica Insurance Co. in the 1950s.
The property returned to multi-tenant status when it was acquired by its current owner, One Financial Center Plaza L.L.C., in the 1990s.
“This is an exceptional property— not only is it well positioned in Providence’s Financial District, but it is has good quality interior finishes and has the ability to offer parking onsite or in nearby owned lots,” said Joseph J. MarcAurele, chairman and CEO of Washington Trust.
In another recent Downtown Providence transaction, Washington Trust’s commercial real estate group provided a $6.2 million loan to Union Station Parking L.L.C., an entity controlled by the Marsella family, on a 160-space parking lot adjacent to Union Station Garage. Both facilities are owned by the Marsella family. The financing will assist the Marsella family in acquiring sole ownership of parking operations at Union Station Plaza.
The 1.17-acre surface lot is owned by Ron Marsella, who has completed several redevelopment projects in Downtown Providence, most notably the Capital Center.
Photo credits: Loodog via Wikimedia Commons