GLOCESTER – NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley has purchased the former Purple Cat Winery and an adjoining 19-acre lot with a plan to create 38 units of affordable housing in the village of Chepachet.
The Woonsocket-based agency purchased the 6-acre former winery at 11 Money Hill Road for $750,000 from Old Village Properties, LLC. The property, which once housed an indoor mall and an antiques market, opened as winery named after the famed restaurant in 2014. It was once home to the Theatre Company of Rhode Island and Philanthropy Tea & Coffee, but has sat vacant in recent years on a lot set back from Route 44, and now shows signs of blight.
An adjoining vacant lot known as 0 Money Hill Road was purchased by NWBRV from New Village Properties, LLC at a cost of $650,000, according to deeds recorded in the Glocester Town Clerk’s office this week.
Deed restrictions filed with the sales note that the properties were purchased with the help of grants from Rhode Island Housing & Finance Corporation, obtained through the American Rescue Plan Act. The acquisitions will be used for future development of affordable and supportive housing, according to the deeds.
Both selling entities are owned by Kevin Lavoie, a member of the family that opened the original Purple Cat Restaurant in 1929. Lavoie sold the property by the roadway that once held the restaurant to developers last year, and the building has since been demolished, with construction of three new buildings set to become, “Purple Cat Antique Co.,” now underway. Owners Al Costantino and Meshell Adamo reportedly plan to build a total of six structures, to hold the new antique store, along with commercial units and eight one-bedroom housing units.
Now, it seems the land set back from the roadway will see development of its own, with creation of 38 affordable units.
NeighborWorks, also known as Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corporation, applied for grants to finance both properties last March. As a sub-recipient of the federal ARPA funds, the organization has signed on to develop 18 units at the former winery, and another 20 on the neighboring vacant lot, “to serve residents at or below 80 percent of the area median income.”
RIH provided $477,000 for the purchase of the smaller lot and another $400,000 for the vacant property, according to deed restriction signed by NeighborWorks Executive Director Joseph Garlick. The restrictions note that the units must remain affordable for a minimum of 30 years.
NeighborWorks Director of Resource Development & Communications Meghan Rego did not respond to NRI NOW‘s request this week for more information on the project.