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Why does Fall River government keep killing new housing projects?

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In the past week, the Fall River government has killed two housing projects that would have produced 52 new apartments; 37 at the Bank Street armory and 15 veteran-preferred apartments. Is there any wonder rents keep going up?

The Decaying Bank Street Armory

The Fall River City Council doesn’t want to spend the money needed to fix the Bank Street armory, but doesn’t want to sell it either. A lot of wives know this story all too well – it’s like the husband with the old car in the drive way who refuses to sell the piece of junk because he’s going to restore it “any day now.” Years go by and the car is never sold or restored. Decades have gone by and the Bank Street Amory sits in decay (see photos here).

For those that need to catch up, early last year, Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan approved the sale of the Bank Street Armory to a developer for $200,000 and sent the proposal to the City Council for review at the July 18th meeting. The developer committed spending $13.6 million to convert the armory into 37 market-rate apartments. In September of last year, the Fall River City Council couldn’t get enough votes to finalize the sale. In October, Mayor Coogan resubmitted the proposal and the city council tabled the vote. In November, the City Council yet again decided not to act on the proposal. In December, the Fall River Historical Commission unanimously agreed that the city should not move forward with the sale of the Bank Street Armory. Last Tuesday, the City Council voted against a plan for apartments at the current Bank Street Armory.

15 new veteran-preferred apartments denied in Fall River after neighbor complaints

Last week, the Fall River Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a proposal for 15 new veteran-preferred apartments. If you are wondering why rents keep going up in Fall River, you just have to look at how unfriendly the Fall River government is to developers which keeps the inventory down. One has to wonder, how many vacant buildings sit empty while residents see their rents increased due to the lack of housing with the most vulnerable getting evicted and becoming homeless? How many developers won’t even consider Fall River because of the city’s horrible reputation?

I recently pointed out that Fall River home prices have nearly doubled in value since 2019 with the average rent of $1,881 for a 934 sqft apartment. As property values increase so do the taxes and landlords pass on some if not all the cost onto the tenants. Also, with home prices doubling in value they have become unaffordable to buy so there is an increase of people renting. With a higher supply of renters and a lower supply of inventory, landlords can increase the rent. With this in mind, why is the Fall River government working so hard to keep the supply of new apartments low?

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. TeeTot

    January 29, 2024 at 8:11 pm

    There’s enough housing in the city. Let’s wait for the MBTA to finish, see how much housing is needed for people who want to live here and don’t need assistance, and take it from there.

    Our services are overburdened, and bringing in a base less reliant on government services would allow savings for the taxpayer.

  2. Stop being stupid

    January 30, 2024 at 8:02 am

    Maybe it’s because no federal monies incoming unless you building rent controlled apts. they don’t want market rate. Fools

  3. ROSCO17

    January 30, 2024 at 10:38 am

    Here are the real statistics. Fall River doesn’t need more Subsidized housing.

    Chapter 40B Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) as of December 21, 2020*

    Community 2010 Census Year Round Housing Units Total Development Units SHI Units %
    Fall River 42,650 4,631 4,535 10.60%

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