PARTNERS IN PROGRESS
Forging productive partnerships to realize ambitious projects is a Wingate Companies hallmark. This was dramatically demonstrated in 2020 when Wingate teamed up with Omni Development Corporation, an award-winning, minority, non-profit planner and developer, to redevelop the Barbara Jordan II in Providence, Rhode Island.
The development challenge was daunting. The Barbara Jordan II housing development, comprising 26 buildings with a total of 74 apartments, had fallen into severe disrepair and neglect, forcing the displacement of 34 families. In June 2019, the Rhode Island Housing Development Corporation (RIH) issued an RFP for developers to revitalize the property. The agency received six competing proposals, including plans to either rehabilitate the existing structures, replace them with new construction, or a combination.
The proposal by Omni Development and Wingate prevailed by a unanimous vote of RIH.
The plan calls for demolishing the existing structures and replacing them with 83 units of new construction in 12 well-designed, energy efficient, and amenitized buildings. All of the one-, two- and three-bedroom rental units will be affordable to residents earning between 30% and 80% of Area Median Income. The mixed-use development will include office space for community service providers, central laundry and community meeting space, and an on-site management office. To help fund the development, the partnership would apply for both 9% and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
The Omni-Wingate partnership is spearheaded by two female leaders in the New England affordable housing development community: Sharon Morris of Omni and Elizabeth Schuster of Wingate. As Executive Director of Omni, Ms. Morris has a long history of engaging communities and providing affordable homes. As third generation leadership at Wingate, Ms. Schuster brings to the partnership her firm’s deep expertise in financing, acquisition and development, including extensive experience in affordable housing.
The project also features the talents of a design team led by Virginia Branch, Associate Principal at DBVW Architects, and Barbara Sokoloff Associates (BSA), integral to underwriting the project.
When completed in late 2022, the new Barbara Jordan II development will stand as a shining example of how a disadvantaged community can be revitalized when the right minds come together to achieve a common goal.