Press Release

Sweetbriar Now Home to Fourteen Working Families

Posted 10/13/09

Ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the development’s first phase

Barrington, RI (October 13, 2009) – This afternoon, Rhode Island Housing, East Bay Community Development Corporation (East Bay CDC), the state Housing Resources Commission (HRC), and other partners celebrated the completion of 14 new homes that working families in Barrington can afford to rent. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Sweetbriar, marking the end of the development’s first phase.

“After years of hard work, Sweetbriar is now a reality,” said Kathy Bazinet, Executive Director of East Bay CDC. “Families who would otherwise be unable to afford to live in Barrington are now calling this community home. We are thrilled that teachers, lab techs, and other blue-collar workers can take pride in their beautiful new homes and be a part of this thriving community.”

Located at the site of the former West Barrington Elementary School on Washington Road, the homes at Sweetbriar blend in with existing homes in the neighborhood. The new buildings have front porches, parking in the rear of the homes, and common open areas for recreation. A new road and infrastructure have been built and the Town of Barrington is providing ongoing maintenance. Phase 2, which consists of 12 apartments, will be completed on December 1, 2009, with the remaining apartments scheduled for completion in the spring of 2010. In all, Sweetbriar will feature 47 new homes for rent.

“Sweetbriar is an exciting, innovative neighborhood that embodies the KeepSpace philosophy,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing, the primary funder for the development, and a member of the KeepSpace partnership, whose goal is to build a better future for Rhode Island through healthy, vibrant and connected communities. “Located near commerce centers, schools, parks, bike ways and bus lines, and utilizing essential infrastructure that was already in place, the homes in Sweetbriar will promote state and local economic growth and an enhanced quality of life at a reduced cost to our residents and the environment.”

Financing for this $13 million development was made possible by the collaboration of several partners. Rhode Island Housing provided a $5 million construction loan, as well as a $1 million first mortgage, an $860,000 deferred payment loan and $500,000 in HOME funds. It also awarded the highly competitive Housing Credits to East Bay CDC, so that it could raise $7.5 million in equity from Red Stone Equity Partners. Rhode Island Housing’s land bank had purchased the property for the non-profit developer in 2003.

The HRC provided more than $2.4 million through its Building Homes Rhode Island program that is funded by the bonds authorized by Rhode Island voters in 2006 and was approved by more than 60 percent of Barrington voters. The Town of Barrington provided $175,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds. Sweetbriar also received a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank, the application for which was sponsored by Citizens Bank. Predevelopment support was also provided by LISC.

“The Housing Resources Commission is pleased to have participated in this development, which will expand housing opportunities in Barrington,” said Susan Baxter, Chairwoman of the HRC. “The residents of Sweetbriar will contribute to the town and will benefit from the great schools and other facilities that make Barrington a wonderful place to live.”

“LISC is proud to support efforts which thoughtfully and efficiently contribute to making all Rhode Island communities better places to live and work,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of LISC. “We’d like to congratulate East Bay CDC for their years of continued leadership in this development.”

Don Powers Architects is the architect for this development and Nation Wide Construction is the general contractor. When construction is complete, Sweetbriar will consist of one one-bedroom apartment, 17 two-bedroom apartments and 29 three-bedroom apartments. Most families in the development will have a total income of $35,000 to $45,000 per year. East Bay CDC will manage the property and also plans to build three additional homes on the site for ownership

“Much effort was put into the design to take consideration of the environment and the community,” states Marc P. Pincince, senior project manager of Nation Wide Construction Corp. “These efforts have emerged in the final construction product. The homes feature details suggesting the influences of Greek Revival, Colonial, Queen Anne, Victorian Cottage, Craftsman Bungalow and New England Farmhouse design to reflect the architectural character and complement the neighborhood. Carefully placed green spaces and landscaping elements create visual interest and enjoyment.”

“All members of the team pulled together from the very beginning to get involved,” stated Albert P. Valliere, Jr., President of Nation Wide Construction Corp. “As a result, the collective knowledge and ideas involving design, production, budget and quality resulted in a project that ran smoothly and truly benefits the residents. Sweetbriar brings new, affordable homes to the town of Barrington and we are pleased to have been a part of it. This is what our company does.”

Rhode Island Housing is a self-sustaining public agency, which generates its own operating income, without state funding. Everything we earn is reinvested to meet the needs of our state. Together with its partners, the agency works to ensure that all people who live and work in Rhode Island can afford a safe, healthy home that meets their needs. Rhode Island Housing provides low-interest loans, grants, education, advocacy and consumer counseling to help its customers rent, buy and retain their homes. It also offers special programs to ensure that these homes are safe and healthy.

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