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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — An office building on Pontiac Avenue in Cranston is one step closer to becoming an apartment complex.

A proposal to turn 747 Pontiac Ave, a three-story multi-tenant office building, into 18 multi-family residential units, earned preliminary approval by the Cranston City Plan Commission last Tuesday.

The proposal calls for 15% of the building, which is three out of 18 units, to be marked as affordable housing units. They will be rented out to those making up to 80% of the area’s median income.

Planning documents for 747 Pontiac show that based upon the affordable living expense calculations, a month’s rent plus utilities could range from $1,354 for one person up to $1,741 for three people.

“We’ve been doing quite a bit of multi-family development projects within the city,” Cranston Planning Director Jason Pezzullo said. “Most of them have had an affordable housing component.”

The planning director said this year alone, four of the five housing projects have had an affordable housing component. 

“The city has been very permissive with the affordable housing units this year, knowing that we want to keep our affordable housing status,” Pezzullo said.

Pezzullo told 12 News for years market rate and affordable have not been that far apart, but “that’s not the case right now” and “it’s become very dire for people.”

“It’s a pretty bedrock concern for every family about being able to work and afford housing and not go into debt,” he added.

A timetable for interior renovations at 747 Pontiac Ave is not yet set. Pezzullo said since the exterior was constructed, it was one of the city’s housing projects closest to being completed pending final approval.

Pezzullo says the next step is to complete the final application for the project, and if approved, to pull building permits for internal renovations.

The planning commission recently approved a 160-unit housing project, on Cranston Street, which will also include 15% affordable housing.

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