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State Armory, Cranston St, from HABS/HAER

Dartmouth Avenue Revitalization Project, Neighborhood Revitalization/Residential Award

This project involved the successful rehabilitation of five historic properties in South Providence by the Elmwood Foundation into affordable housing. Originally constructed as single and two-family homes, the buildings had been subdivided and amended throughout the years to maximize rentals, resulting in single-room boardinghouse style properties with communal amenities. The architectural firm of Brewster, Thornton, Rapp was given the challenge of preserving as much of the historic fabric of each building as possible, completely reconfiguring the building’s interior, and complying with lead safety requirements.

The result is the creation of five new affordable home ownership units and four new affordable rental units within five historic properties that may otherwise have been demolished. The project would not have been possible without the skill of project team members Brewster, Thornton, Rapp Architects, Elmwood Foundation, Barbara Sokoloff & Assoc., Bayo Construction Co., Robert Hawkinson, and Jim Fitzgerald, utilizing both city and federal funding sources. The project team was able to retain the historic character of the buildings and the streetscape while addressing the affordable housing shortage within the city. The retention of the properties’ rich visual texture has infused the streetscape and surrounding neighborhood with a sense of place as well as pride.