Ever wonder who “fixes up” the fabulous historic buildings on Providence’s West Side, Elmwood and DownCity neighborhoods? It’s always “those people” and “they” fix them up, right? Providence has a rich, historic fabric of wonderful architectural structures all over the city which is why so many of us are drawn here to enjoy all that our city has to offer and call it home. Let’s face it, we’re proud to live here! TheRhodeGuide.com is no exception and this time we wanted to shed some light on who “those” people are that help shape our beloved city.
The Providence Revolving Fund has a rich history. It’s mission: “…is to preserve Providence’s architectural heritage and stimulate community revitalization through advocacy, lending, technical assistance, and development in historic areas. This is accomplished by: partnering with neighborhoods and community-based organizations; retaining and developing affordable housing; collaborating with others to preserve and develop real estate; and serving as a catalyst for public and private investment.”
Established in 1980, the PRF is a community-based, non-profit, development and lending corporation that manages two capital funds, the Neighborhood Loan Fund with over $2 million in assets and the Downcity Loan Fund with $6.5 million. These funds are used in specific historic neighborhoods and primarily serve low-to-moderate income families residing in the Broadway-Armory, South Elmwood, North Elmwood and Upper South Providence historic districts and property owners and merchants in the Downtown Providence National Register District.
Closely allied with the Providence Preservation Society the PRF is managed by an eleven-member Board of Directors with seventy-three percent of members living in the communities served by the Fund.
Since 1982, the PRF, through its lending programs has assisted 460 building restorations in the Broadway-Armory, South Elmwood, North Elmwood and Upper South Providence historic districts, including the renovation of 46 previously abandoned buildings and has created over 110 units of new housing and assisted 18 property owners with façade renovations, new signs and awnings in DownCity.
Acting as a historic preservation and development consultant through its significant experience in design review and historic tax credits, the PRF has helped many local Community Development Corporations including the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, SWAP, the Elmwood Foundation, Women’s Development Corporation, Omni Development Corp., AIDS Care Ocean State, Smith Hill Community Development Corporation, Foundry Associates, Armory Revival Company, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Cornish Associates, Urban Smart Growth, Belvoir Properties, Brown University and Youth in Action, revitalize and repair Providence neighborhoods.
Of particular interest to the new home owner, the PRF also maintains a select collection of architectural salvage, which is available to property owners who are renovating houses in Providence. The salvage has been collected from houses which have been demolished and/or are discarded historic items from house renovations. Homeowners can call the PRF at (401) 272-2760 ext: 205 to make an appointment to see what’s available or wait for the annual PRF Yard Sale. Now THAT’S is a COOL THING!
One of several new projects in which the PRF is acting as loan and historic consultant, is underway on Westminster Street and you may have already seen it! There is quite the buzz about the old Poirier Diner which was rescued from demolition in its former Eagle Square location in Olneyville and sat for years in the Loie Fuller’s Restaurant parking lot waiting for a new home. Finally the project is coming to fruition and the diner has been moved to its permanent home at 1380 Westminster Street. A joint venture between developer Jon Ozbek and West Side restaurateur, Michael Sears, who opened Loie Fuller’s and The Avery, the Poirier Diner will serve as another anchor connecting the Broadway/Westminster /Armory neighborhoods and add to the great West Side eateries that the community enjoys so much.
If you’re looking for a new home with historic character and charm, but feel a little daunted, come talk to one of our agents at TheRhodeGuide.com. We have the resources and tools to help you find the perfect historic home!