Council to consider tax agreement for apartments at former R.I. Textile site

Council to consider tax agreement for apartments at former R.I. Textile site

Jules Emerson says she loves the beautiful light that warms her home at 211 Columbus Ave., where construction of apartments is now underway. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

PAWTUCKET – The new owner of the former Rhode Island Textile Company is seeking a tax agreement with the city to help redevelop the property on Columbus Avenue as a residential complex.

Tax Assessor Robert Burns, in a memo to the City Council, said developer Jonathan Savage “has an excellent record of converting old mill structures into quality residential apartments.”

Those successful projects include the long-term renovation of the Lorraine Mills building at 560 Mineral Spring Ave., which is now a mix of living/work units and commercial units, and the recent conversion of the dilapidated mill at 110 Kenyon Ave. into 34 studio units, increasing the value of that property from $280,000 to $968,000.

“This project fits the tax stabilization section of the ordinance both by term and improvement value,” said Burns.

The company, 211 Columbus Ave. Associates LLC, has already begun renovations and will be done with the conversion by December of this year, he said. Savage is one of the principal owners of the company.

Current taxes generated at 211 Columbus Ave. total $48,525 based on an assessed property value of $1,391,200. The “as complete” value is estimated at $2.76 million, with taxes doubled to $96,000.

The increase in value over 10 years would be $1,368,800, or an additional $4,775 per year in new taxes.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its meeting Wednesday evening, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Tax stabilization agreements are used as a tool by developers to make a project work financially by not having to bear the full brunt of the tax burden tied to improvements right away. By phasing the increased value in over a decade, the developer is able to increase revenue and better afford the tax increase.

According to a proposal submitted by Savage, the 60 studio-style apartments at 211 Columbus Ave. would be priced between $850 and $1,100 per month.

Rhode Island Textile, a longtime maker of braided items, moved from Pawtucket to Cumberland in 2016.

The Breeze reported last fall that city officials had reached an agreement with the new owners of the R.I. Textile Company property on an easement requiring the city to construct a new $134,000 parking lot at the property in return for allowing families going to the neighboring McKinnon-Alves Soccer Complex to use the lot for parking on game days.

An interior view of renovations at 211 Columbus Ave., former home of Rhode Island Textile.
An exterior view of 211 Columbus Ave., in Pawtucket, where developer Jonathan Savage is seeking a tax stabilization agreement as part of a residential conversion of the mill.