The 5 John Street Development included a complete renovation of a once foreclosed, vacant and blighted structure – located within the Constitution Hill neighborhood. A neighborhood where proximity to surrounding amenities promote walking, utilization of area recreation facilities and resident safety, along with providing easy access to public transportation and state highway systems. The “ rebirth” of this building has had a tremendous impact on the Constitution Hill revitalization Initiative – a process that has allowed the neighborhood to thrive and prosper for over 15 years.
The History of 5 John Street
5 John Street was a blighted hot spot for crime in the Constitution Hill neighborhood of Woonsocket. Drugs, squatting, and other illegal activities created regular calls for calls for service from neighbors as the vacancy sat unoccupied. Ask Woonsocket Police Officers on duty at the time and they likely had been on a call for service to the location. As part of the Local Initiative Support Corporation’s Our Neighborhoods initiative, NWBRV acted on resident and police concerns, acquiring the property in 2010 and immediately securing the building.
Neighborhood Placemaking: Temporary Art
As NWBRV worked to gather financing for renovations, they were contacted by an artist interested in bringing her latest project, HousEART to Woonsocket. Artist Lydia Stein’s project, which began in Providence’s Smith Hill neighborhood, turned vacant buildings into temporary art as they awaited renovations and allowed local artists a platform to showcase their murals. Supported by the RI State Council on the Arts, Lydia facilitated a design selection process and used young artists and neighborhood residents from Riverzedge Arts to complete the mural on the property.
From Blight to a Home
Renovations began in 2014. The structure took close to a year and a half to complete and supported the local economy with over 27 construction jobs during the renovation process.
The building provides eight one-bedroom units of affordable rental housing and offers residents a common meeting room, screened in porch and laundry area. Each unit is handicap adaptable and the building is designed to meet/exceed Energy-Star level efficiency. Green additions include spray foam insulation in all of the exterior walls, double glazed “low-e” windows, high efficiency space and water heating equipment, programmable thermostats and motion detection lighting in common use corridors. In addition, the building is constructed with engineered lumber siding, which has a 50 year warranty, and the trim is made from a composite material that contains over 70% recycled content. These features will help keep operating costs low and increase sustainability.
In 2015, the property became home to eight individuals. We have partnered with Seven Hills Rhode Island to offer supportive services to any resident requiring them and the property is managed by Maloney Properties.