Additional Sayles Mill apartments moving forward

Additional Sayles Mill apartments moving forward

Construction is underway to transform 90 Industrial Circle into apartments, and the developer behind that project hopes to expand into the building located to the back of this one at 60 Industrial Circle. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – A developer’s plan to add 22 more units to a 45-unit apartment development currently under construction in the historic Sayles Mill complex will move forward with a public hearing on Nov. 20.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company Dakota Partners is currently transforming vacant mill space at 90 Industrial Circle into 45 affordable apartments. Construction began in the summer.

Now, the company is seeking approval for an additional 22 units, which would be located to the rear of the building currently under construction, at 60 Industrial Circle.

The first phase of the project, called Lincoln Lofts, calls for 30 one-bedroom units and 15 two-bedroom units – all deed-restricted as affordable housing under the standards of Rhode Island Housing.

To move forward, the Planning Board would need to grant a series of waivers allowing for multi-family residential use, reducing the number of required parking spaces from 44 to 38, reducing the size of the parking spaces by 2 feet, reducing the required 100-foot buffer to 4 feet, and replacing granite curbing along Industrial Circle with concrete curbing.

On the last point, Town Planner Al Ranaldi said the town is pushing back.

“The only issue with the proposal is the concrete curbing. We really look for granite curbing on a public road, which lasts 75 to 100 years. They ultimately agreed to that,” he said.

As for parking, Ranaldi said the reduction of six cars isn’t very significant, adding that “in these projects the developers are well-established. They know their clientele and what to expect for parking.”

Ranaldi said Dakota Partners is hoping to complete phase one of construction on 90 Industrial Circle by July of 2020.

His office has been receiving phone calls from people interested in applying for one of the apartments. “Lincoln has a high demand for affordable housing,” he said.

The developer is expecting a number of people from within Lincoln to move in.

“People are looking to downsize,” Ranaldi said.

New life for Sayles Mill

He added that the historic Sayles Mill complex has been “ripe for development” for some time.

The town is expecting a separate application for another building in the complex, 40 Walker St., within the next few months. That project also calls for renovating vacant mill space into apartments.

The developer for that project, listed as Willow Oaks Apartments LP out of Philadelphia, purchased 40 Walker St. in June 2018. This July, they also purchased the building directly behind 40 Walker at auction.

A third developer – Wall Street Investments LLC, owned by Carl Benevides – came before the Planning Board back in 2015 to apply for live/work spaces at 85 Industrial Circle.

Though that building has several tenants including Body Rock R.I. and Studio One R.I., the live/work studios have not yet come to fruition.

In 2015, Benevides said he planned to beautify the pond area in front of the building, upgrade its windows, stripe the parking lot and renovate the bridge over the Moshassuck Dam.

With new apartments on the way all around 85 Industrial Circle, Ranaldi said he hopes that owner “carries through with his plans” for that site.

Benevides did not respond to a request for comment.