Providence Hopes To Acquire 300+ Abandoned Properties In Battle Against Blight

Feb 24, 2017

The city of Providence hopes to buy up more than 300 abandoned properties scattered across the city. The city wants to take control of the properties in order to quickly get them into the hands of real-estate developers and back on the market. This is the latest program in a years-long effort to tackle the issue in the city.

This newest initiative identifies approximately 350 properties the city hopes to buy up across various neighborhoods using a variety of tools including eminent domain. Bob Azar of the city’s Planning Department said that number could change.

“That number is really a moving target, and we expect that number to change either up or down prior to the city council giving its final approval,” said Azar.

Similar tactics have been used to tackle blight in Providence before, said Azar, but this time, the difference is the scope.

“Instead of having a smaller project area that might be based in a neighborhood, this project area covers a great deal of the city, and the individual houses that it identifies are scattered,” said Azar.

Azar said the plan still needs approval of the City Council following public discussion of the proposal.

“Once it’s approved I would expect that we would immediately start going back out to reevaluate the properties,” said Azar. “We would start, probably, late spring, early summer with acquisition activities.”

Two years ago Providence unveiled the EveryHome initiative with the goal of ridding the city of an estimated 600 abandoned properties. So far that project has seen 43 properties completely rehabbed through a receivership process.