CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — Plans for a new six-story affordable housing project on School Street were approved by the Central Falls Planning Board on Thursday night.
The project’s developer, the Central Falls Affordable Housing Corporation, is planning to construct a 58-unit apartment building located at 4-6 School St. The development will be restricted to households earning 60 percent of the area median income, or less. In Central Falls, that’s equivalent to a maximum household income of $43,020 annually for one person and $61,440 annually for a family of four, according to calculations by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Eight of the units will also be reserved for households earning 30 percent of the area median income, which means a family of four could not earn more than $30,700 annually, according to project representatives.
The building will have a mix of unit sizes: 11 one-bedrooms units, 25 two-bedroom units, and 22 three-bedroom units, according to the project’s plans filed with the city.
Bridgett Duquette, the executive director of the Central Falls Housing Authority, told the Globe on Thursday night the estimated cost of development will be $22.7 million.
The Housing Authority will apply to Rhode Island Housing for Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other ancillary funding sources in the 2024 Consolidated Funding Round. Applications are due next week, and awarded projects are expected to be announced by Rhode Island Housing in May.
Duquette said if they are able to secure funding for the development, she said they plan to break ground in “early 2025.” Construction is expected to take approximately 16 months, she said.
The Central Falls Affordable Housing Corporation was awarded $250,000 pre-development financing from R.I. Housing. Milton Baxter, a real estate attorney, told the Globe the development team has also applied for additional predevelopment funds from the Rhode Island branch of the Local Initiative Support Corporation.
Parking is not included in the site plans, and it is not required under the city’s zoning rules.
Paul J. Bannon, a traffic engineer who is on the project’s development team, said this development is “designed to promote the use of public transit and walkability.”
The project’s site is made up of two vacant parcels that are expected to be merged to total 19,100 square feet.
A corner lot at 4 School St. is currently an “underutilized” space that most recently held a “dilapidated” single-family home, according to project representatives who presented plans to the planning board on behalf of the corporation. Tax records show that the property, which was razed in 2023, was last sold in 2003 for $250,000.
According to the 2023 Housing Fact Book by HousingWorks R.I., 10 percent of Central Falls’ housing units are considered “affordable.” Central Falls is one of five municipalities in the state that has met the requirements of a state law that requires each town have at least 10 percent of its housing stock qualify as affordable for “low and moderate income” households.