Jul 29, 2014
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Affordable Housing Planned for Nursery

East Bay Community Development Corporation to construct an affordable-housing complex at the Sowams Nursery site that is similar to Sweetbriar in West Barrington.

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Another affordable-housing complex similar to Sweetbriar in West Barrington is being planned for a site along the Barrington River.

The complex will be built at the Sowams Nursery site off of Sowams Road by the same nonprofit that built Sweetbriar -- East Bay Community Development Corporation

Construction is expected to start next year. The timetable calls for completion by 2015.

“We have a purchase-and-sale agreement for the site,” said Kathy Bazinet, exective director of the East Bay Community Development Corporation. “It will be very much like the Sweetbriar development.”

The nonprofit corporation is looking for funding and will apply for low-income tax credits from Rhode Island Housing this year. Construction will start soon after the credits are awarded next year.

“We’re at the beginning of the project,” Bazinet said.

Approximately 56 units will be built on the 9-acre nursery site, which straddles Sowams Road, she said.

“We have the same architect, who has already put together some designs,” she said. “Aesthetically, it will be very much like Sweetbriar.”

Don Powers of Barrington is the architect. He plans to incorporate plenty of green space, especially near the waterfront on the river, said Bazinet.

Unlike the Sweetbriar development, which encountered some resistance in the community, she said, “I expect to move along seamlessly. A lot more people understand affordable housing now. I think we have proven the kind of neighbors we are.”

Bazinet said the quality of Sweetbriar's construction also has won over a lot of converts.

“I have every reason to believe the new development will be of similar quality,” she said.

The owners of the nursery land, Joseph and Maria Silveria, approached the corporation and indicated their interest in selling the site for affordable housing, Bazinet said. The P&S agreement has a $1.2 million price tag.

There is a waiting list of tenants for Sweetbriar, Bazinet said.

“We’re in a good position,” she said.

As it does at Sweetbriar, Bazinet said, the new affordable housing complex will have a part-time property manager and a full-time maintenance chief.

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