Council approves 10-year tax agreement for Nulco Lofts

Council approves 10-year tax agreement for Nulco Lofts

PAWTUCKET – The City Council last week approved a 10-year real estate tax stabilization agreement with the owners of Nulco Lofts, a mill conversion project at 30 Beecher St.

Developer Aurora Leigh requested the tax phase-in agreement as a way to help make the ongoing project to bring 112 residential apartments viable. Nulco Lofts qualified for the agreement because the value of the project is more than $5 million.

Under terms of the deal, the taxes on the property would incrementally increase from $47,285 today to $168,045 a decade from now. Without the agreement in place, taxes would shoot to $150,000 as soon as the project is done in the next few months, said Tax Assessor Bob Burns.

Leigh, who also developed the 125 Lofts residential complex at 125 Goff Ave., thanked city officials for making the stabilization agreement available for developments, saying it helps projects get their “feet on the ground.” She said the developers are hoping to capitalize on the planned development of a new commuter rail station nearby.

The mill property at 30 Beecher St. was the longtime home of Nulco Manufacturing Corp., a designer and manufacturer of lighting products.

Councilors Tim Rudd and Meghan Kallman asked Leigh about rental rates for the apartments being built, saying they’re concerned that the project does not fit the income demographics of the area.

According to Leigh, rental rates at the 125 Lofts are between $850 and $1,500, and rents at Nulco Lofts would be somewhat higher than that. Though the lowest rent hasn’t been determined, she said, it will likely be in the $950 range. Owners will likely start advertising the units in the next month, she said, with the target demographic being young professionals who like that “funky loft style” of exposed bricks and unique character.

“We did design this project with that in mind,” she said.

Kallman said she appreciates what Leigh is doing with the development, but cautioned against the “negative effect of gentrification” on a low-income community.

“This is a city where most people can’t afford to live in $950-a-month lofts,” she said.

Rudd agreed with Kallman, asking that Leigh keep in mind for future projects that mixed-use projects are more ideal for this area. As in Boston, he said, higher end projects like this “can out-price the surrounding area” and “displace the whole community.”

Leigh pledged that she will keep the idea of more affordable units in mind for the future. She said the developers have a motto of never having a unit empty, so they’ll give tenants breaks based on need. She noted that the developers tried to partner with organizations on more affordable units, but were turned down.

Councilor Albert Vitali thanked Leigh for investing a substantial amount of money into Pawtucket.

The Nulco Lofts project is located within the Pawtucket/Central Falls Station District, an overlay district designed to stimulate economic development in the area.

Nulco Lofts will have a variety of amenities, said Leigh, including a dog park and barbecue area.