An obsolete, 150-unit public housing development notorious for drug dealing and crime in Taunton, Mass., has been transformed into a vibrant mixed-income community through a public-private partnership between developer Trinity Financial and Taunton Housing Authority (THA).
Funded in part with a HOPE VI grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the THA, the redevelopment includes 88 units of townhome and duplex units on the original Fairfax Gardens site as well as 72 units on a separate lot about five miles away purchased from the city.
Instead of the barrack-style buildings in an isolated neighborhood, the new community offers a range of building facades, roof lines, and colors as well as new infrastructure to connect residents to the surrounding neighborhood. A new community building, with day care, after-school programs, and community space, serves as a focal point. Ample outdoor space also has been provided, including a central green, a playground, a basketball court, and a community garden.
“The redeveloped property now has an on-site property management office, a day-care [facility], a computer lab, and social services operated in collaboration with the THA, all of which help create a renewed sense of community. "We also made a concerted effort to give everyone their own front doors and backyards in the townhouses, as well as in the lower floor of the mid-rise at Lenox Green,” says Mathieu Zahler, Trinity Financial’s project manager for Bristol Commons and Lenox Green. “These elements work together to make the community safe and secure.”
Bristol Commons provides 59 public housing units, 10 market-rate units, and 19 units with Sec. 8 project-based vouchers, while Lenox Green provides 44 public housing units, 10 units for households earning no more than 60% of the area median income, and 18 units with project-based vouchers.
In addition to the HOPE VI grant, the $71.7 million development, which was completed in December, was financed with federal and state low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, and funds from the city of Taunton.