Bristol Commons and Lenox Green
In May 2011, the Taunton Housing Authority (THA) and Trinity were successfully awarded a $22 Million HOPE VI Revitalization grant from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). In addition to the HOPE VI Grant, private equity resources and other public funds will be used to rehabilitate the distressed 150-unit Fairfax Gardens public housing development.
Fairfax Gardens was built in 1951 as an isolated, 150-unit barracks-style development in the middle of a low density, single-family neighborhood. The units are clustered on a third of the 43-acre site, leaving the remaining acreage open as meadows and wetlands. The development’s infrastructure, utilities, and many building components are original to the site and are outdated and need complete replacement. The buildings are neither energy-efficient nor accessible; the units are cramped and much smaller than current space standards dictate; and mold, pests, and deteriorated finishes are problems throughout. The distressed conditions at Fairfax Gardens not only negatively impacts residents’ health and quality of life, it has also brought down the property values of nearby homes. The award of the HOPE VI grant has allowed for the complete demolition and reconstruction of the existing Fairfax Gardens.
The new project, renamed Bristol Commons, will de-densify the existing site replacing the 150 units across two distinct sites for a newly redeveloped total of 160 units. Once redeveloped, the site will contain 80 townhomes and eight duplex units, as well as new site infrastructure, a new community center, community gardens, green space, a basketball court and other community amenities. The 88 units in the Bristol Commons phase will include one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units and 78 of the units will be affordable to households earning between 0-60% of the Taunton area median income. Returning residents will be given first priority to return to the newly created development. The majority of the families are considered to be extremely low income and will require operating subsidies from the THA. These operating subsidies will allow all residents to pay only 30% of their income as rent. The remaining ten units will be market rate units and will have no income restriction assigned to them.
The second site to be developed is located in downtown Taunton in a transit oriented development (TOD) overlay district. The Parcel 6A-2 site is adjacent to public transit and other services. The Parcel 6A-2 site, named Lenox Green, will have new site infrastructure, eighteen townhomes, a three story 54-unit mid-rise building with community space/management offices, raised community planting beds, walking paths connecting to local services, a playground and other community amenities. The 72 units in the Lenox Green will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units and all 72 of the units will be affordable to households earning between 0-60% of the Taunton area median income. The same operating subsidies offered to residents of the Bristol Commons site will also be available to the residents of the Lenox Green site.
The project had its financial closing in July of 2012 and was completed in the spring of 2014.
Total development cost: $73 million