Almost full, Commonwealth Landing drawing from outside of Fall River

By Kevin P. O’Connor
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 1:00 PM

FALL RIVER — You park by the water and walk to your apartment. You have a pulled pork quesadilla and sweet potato fries delivered to your door. You share dinner with your dog.

Is this heaven or Fall River?

It is Commonwealth Landing. And it is almost full.

Residents at Commonwealth Landing will begin moving into their new homes on July 28. That is one year and one week after construction started to convert the third, fourth and fifth floors of the former Mechanics Mill, 1082 Davol St., into 103 apartments.

The hope, when leasing opened in February, was to have 30 to 40 percent of the apartments claimed by opening day, property manager Margaret Farrell said.

Leases are signed on 90 of the 103, she added.

“All we have left are one bedroom apartments,” she said. “All of the apartments on the water side are rented.

“The product is good and the location is good. People are reacting.”

The team of Tony Cordeiro, Larry Couto and Alan Macomber bought the mill at auction in 2010 after Quaker Fabrics left town.

Three years later they moved Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill into the first floor along with offices, a hair salon and the Brian Fox art studio. Clique Lounge is occupying another restaurant space.

The owners initially planned to put a hotel on the top floors. Complications with financing put an end to those plans, but the delay gave the owners time to study successful apartment buildings.

“We learned a lot from other owners who have converted mills,” Cordeiro said. “We learned you have to add the extras — washers and driers in the apartment, nice floors, extra tall doors. We also learned that paying attention to sound was especially important.”

And Fall River had no new market-rate apartment complexes built in a generation. The city was ready, Cordeiro said.

“There was a pent up demand for quality housing,” he said. “And the location, on the water, is really attractive.

“We are seeing exactly what our business model showed. We are seeing empty nesters and millennials coming in.

“There are a lot of people from Boston and Providence. A lot of people are from Fall River, but the majority are from outside.”

The waterfront is a big draw, Farrell said. So is the ability to order food for delivery from Jerry Remy’s. But a lot of new tenants say they are delighted because they can move in with their best friend.

“Another thing that helped us is that we are a pet friendly community,” she said. “People were excited about that.”

The 13 remaining apartments are all one bedroom facing east toward the city. Those rent for $1,220 to $1,250 a month. The two and three bedroom apartments already leased carried rents of up to $2,000 a month, Farrell said.

For Cordeiro, Couto and Macomber, the project is winding down.

“The real work was three years ago,” Cordeiro said. “There was two years of legwork before we could do anything. We learned a lot.”

The renovation cost the team $13 million for the first two floors, $20 million for the apartments on three, four and five, Cordeiro said.

So they are gratified by the enthusiasm shown for the complex and the number of apartments rented.

“We are way ahead of schedule,” he said.

Email Kevin P. O’Connor at koconnor@heraldnews.com.

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