The Bowdoin Street Rowhouse is under construction and is expected to be completed by May.

By Amy Russo
The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE — One by one, pieces of prefabricated homes, each sized to fit on a flatbed truck, were stacked on a Bowdoin Street lot last week.

The installation was captured overhead by drone video, which shows the modular units rapidly set into place on day one of this weeklong process.

The home that once stood here was destroyed by a fire that reduced it to rubble and took the life of a resident in 2018. Shortly before the disaster, the building had been condemned and was rife with extension cords and electrical issues that went unaddressed. Tenants who weathered the conditions were lured by cheap rents.

Now, the Olneyville lot will be home to eight affordable units for renters with modest incomes.

Helming the project is local nonprofit ONE Neighborhood Builders, which has opened numerous affordable units throughout Providence, including a small homes development a short walk away from the Bowdoin Street site.

Apartments will be offered to renters making 50% to 80% of the state’s area median income, with one-bedrooms starting at $800 and two-bedrooms starting at $975, depending on income. With the help of rental subsidies, two units will be reserved for people facing homelessness.

ONB Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins said the idea, funded by $2.2 million in city and state funds, was a long time in the making.

“The idea of doing modular development actually started at the very beginning of the pandemic,” she said, noting that the organization was considering “the fastest way that we could construct homes.”