Developer looking for tax breaks to build downtown Fall River apartments

FALL RIVER – The best way to add life to downtown is to add people, especially after hours, Anthony Cordeiro said.

The easiest way to do that is to convince people to live there, he added.

Cordeiro’s latest project will test that idea and the market for upscale housing in the city’s core.

The Downtown Development Company LLC will go before the city’s Tax Increment Financing Board Thursday to present plans to build apartments in the Benjamin-Nathan building, 162 Pleasant St., and the former trolley building at 30 Third St.

“You will have 28 units of new housing right in the heart of Fall River,” Cordeiro said. “I think we can create a dynamic in Fall River, to give the area life, especially after hours.”

The plan is to begin a conversion of the Benjamin-Nathan Building by gutting the third and fourth floors to build eight apartments on each floor. The project would also add an elevator, refinish the exterior of the building and renovate the first floor, which now houses offices.

After that, work would begin on the third and fourth floors of the building at 30 Third St., directly behind Government Center and the post office. There will be six apartments on each floor there, Cordeiro said.

“The look of the apartments will be identical to the apartments at Commonwealth Landing,” Cordeiro said. Cordeiro developed 103 market rate apartments in the former mill building at 1082 Davol St. along with his partners, Larry Couto and Alan Macomber.

“I won’t reinvent the wheel for this project,” he added. “Eighty percent of the contractors will be contractors I used before.

“We are looking at a seven-month construction cycle. We hope to have the units ready for November.”

Cordeiro is asking for the TIF board to approve the project and provide tax relief similar to the relief given to similar projects.

That approval would allow Cordeiro’s company to then apply to the state Department of Housing and Community Development for tax credits to help finance the project.

“The state tax credits were very helpful in making Commonwealth Landing work financially,” Cordeiro said.

Typically HDIPs are issued as tax credits that developers can then sell to a third party to help offset the cost of redeveloping an older building in a gateway city. Fall River is one of 26 gateway cities in the state.

This is not the last plan for housing in the city center, Cordeiro said. His company is looking at plans to build 128 new apartments on 1.25 acres at the corner of Bedford and Seventh Streets.

“If this is as good as we think it will be, we’ll move forward with the bigger project,” Cordeiro said.

“I believe this will be part of the future of Fall River,” he said. “If you want to change the dynamic, you have to bring in housing.”

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