160 Beechwood Ave., Pawtucket

The city of Pawtucket is looking to acquire this state-owned vacant property at 160 Beechwood Ave. and then seek developers willing to convert it into affordable housing units.

PAWTUCKET – The city is looking to acquire a long-vacant brick building near the former Memorial Hospital campus, at 160 Beechwood Ave., to have it converted into new affordable housing.

The City Council’s property subcommittee will meet tonight, Nov. 10, to consider purchasing the property for $400,000 from the state of Rhode Island. The city would then turn around and put it out to private purchasers for bids to create new affordable housing units.

Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo said when Tom Coderre was previously special adviser to Gov. Gina Raimondo on recovery issues, there was a plan to convert the space purchased by the state in 1998 for a BH Link facility to be located here, but it was subsequently decided that the building doesn’t fit the needs for such a recovery center and it was instead moved to East Providence.

In putting the property up for sale, the state first puts it up for auction and whatever the auction price comes in at, the city is then given the opportunity to purchase it for that amount, which in this case is $400,000, said Zelazo.

The state purchased the property in 1998 for medical office purposes, and it was an office building owned by Medart Associates prior to that, according to Emily Rizzo, spokeswoman for Mayor Donald Grebien. About 10 units would fit in the building, she said on Monday.

The city recently completed the same council-approved process to purchase a state-owned home on Owen Avenue using a HOME block grant and American Rescue Plan Act funds, and will put it out to bid for affordable housing.

Zelazo said the building is well suited for affordable housing, and converting it into affordable units would not only add to the city’s stock of units, making it more affordable, but it doesn’t take a tax-productive property off the property tax rolls.

The city’s property tax rolls have the 16,166-square-foot building listed as being owned by the state and its Community Counseling Center. The property is assessed at $1.6 million in records, but the state doesn’t pay property taxes to Pawtucket.

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