With spring right around the corner, NeighborWorks unveils its latest innovative affordable homeownership opportunity, 542 Front Street.
Having spent the last decade vacant and boarded up, the newly rehabilitated two-unit Woonsocket property is currently in the final stages of a gut overhaul that began this past October. Equipped with new windows, roof, siding and appliances, this energy efficient and essentially brand new home will be available via lottery to prospective, pre-approved home buyers in the coming months.
“542 Front Street was originally an eyesore to the community,” NWBRV Co-Director of Real Estate Development Bill Lewis said. “While ideally the property would have been demoed and a new structure built in its place, we found ourselves grandfathered in with the current footprint and went from there.”
Acquired by NeighborWorks in 2013, 542 Front Street faced numerous challenges in its preparation for rehab, including since remedied issues of lead and asbestos. In partnership with the city and the CDBG Program, NWBRV embraced the unique concept of taking a pre-existing, abandoned building in Woonsocket, and transforming it into an affordable housing opportunity.
“The idea was that we wanted to address the use of a vacant and underutilized building in the community and use it to provide housing,” Lewis elaborated. “We also wanted to make sure that it would be an environmentally sustainable development, as it hadn’t been updated since its inception in 1920.”
Listed at $165,900, this rare Woonsocket home will offer the buyer the opportunity to not only procure their own place of residence, but also own and manage a rental unit to offset their mortgage and supplement their income. While originally a three story home, the 2,526 square foot house was converted into two units. The redesign allows the buyer to live in either a one bedroom, first floor flat, or in a two story, three bed, two bath town house.
“For example, if an elderly person wants to live on the first floor and they only need one bedroom, they could rent out the second and third floors to a family that would need that space,” Lewis explained. “For that family, this situation could be ideal. And vice versa could be true. If it was a family who needed the three bedrooms, they could rent out the first floor to someone who needs a one bedroom. Either way it provides income for the potential buyer.”
With interest in the property quickly mounting, potential homeowners will soon have the opportunity to enter a lottery to be chosen as the buyer. In addition to being pre-approved, lottery entrants must be first time home buyers, meet income limits, and plan to use the property as their primary place of residence.