NEW BEDFORD — Continuing the mission of serving those in need, the Diocese of Fall River is working to renovate the Talbot Apartments in New Bedford after a devastating fire in November of 2022 left the 26-unit low-income housing uninhabitable with smoke and water damage. The historic building, built in 1901, will be restored to its former glory with a tentative completion date of summer 2025. The Queen Anne architecture, popular in the early 19th century, landed the structure in the National Registry of Historic Places.

The Talbot Apartment building before a 2022 fire made the
low-income housing uninhabitable. Renovations are underway to bring it back to life.

An unofficial “gateway” into the North End of the city, the four-story multi-unit residence with its iconic turret, is visible from Route 18 and the entrance to Interstate 195.

Located at 1168 Acushnet Ave, the building was known as the Waverly Hotel for many years then as Hotel Touraine. The diocese took ownership 10 years ago to expand housing opportunities for persons of limited financial means.

Managed by Community Action for Better Housing (CABH), a mission of the diocese, the rehabilitation project is being led by CABH Interim Executive Director, Victor Andreozzi.

“The renovation is well underway. We have gutted the interior and are weatherproofing the roof. We plan to have the new roof framed by the end of February,” Andreozzi said.

Guzman Architects, LLC are providing the design work and A Plus Construction Corporation the building.

When completed, there will be 26 single-person units on four levels, two will be handicap accessible on the first floor. Each studio unit will include a full bathroom, kitchenette and living space.

Commercial space will also be available on the first floor.

Potential tenants need to be referred through New Bedford Housing Authority or Catholic Charities of Fall River.

Funding for the renovations comes from a variety of sources.

According to Joe Harrington, Vice-Chancellor of Finance for the Diocese of Fall River, his team has been working with the city to apply for housing and historical restoration grants, as well as investigating other revenue streams.

“We are estimating the cost at approximately $3.4 million. The significant costs include a state-of-the-art sprinkler and fire alarm system and the cost of keeping the building in compliance with historic preservation guidelines,” Harrington said.

The diocese has applied for Community Preservation Act funding of $255,000, which would be used for windows, siding and interior and exterior paint.

Harrington said there is insurance money from the fire that will be utilized, and they are looking for other grant opportunities. Discussions are underway with BayCoast Bank for the possibility of a loan as well.

“It takes a village. We included our parish pastors from New Bedford in the discussions and they endorsed the project. The city is investing in the North End and together we are working to bring this landmark building back to its glory,” he said.

Originally Published on The Anchor

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