Tony Cordeiro aims to take ‘the darkness’ out of downtown Fall River with new apartments.

FALL RIVER — Developer and local businessman Tony Cordeiro has made a name for himself by redeveloping downtown properties into market-rate housing.

Cordeiro has a new project coming online, with plans to build new construction at 60 Hartwell St., where the former Thomas Alva Edison Building once stood, near the entrance off Interstate 195 leading into downtown.

The Lofts at Hartwell Street will feature two new six-story buildings with 102 market-rate apartments, which Cordeiro said he will build in two phases.

Cordeiro said the buildings will have a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

The project will also have 5,000 square feet of commercial space.

‘I can’t keep up with the demand’:Fall River developer Tony Cordeiro expanding portfolio

“I think it will change the image of that section when people are coming into the city. The building will be designed to mimic some of the old buildings in the city,” said Cordeiro, adding the design will include granite on the face of the buildings.

Cordeiro said he wants the project to include a roof deck. Parking will be on the buildings’ ground level.

“It’s a huge investment, and that’s why it’ll be done in a couple of phases,” said Cordeiro.

Cordeiro estimated the investment in his most recent housing project at approximately $38 million.

What Zoning Board relief is Cordeiro seeking?

Cordeiro will go before the Fall River Zoning Board of Appeals on May 16.

He’s asking for a special permit to construct the 102-unit project in a commercial mill district; a special permit to offset city parking requirements; and a variance for setback requirements.

Cordeiro is also seeking a special permit to construct an electronic sign on the approximately 1-acre property.

“That electronic billboard will only be for marketing Downtown Lofts, which is my entity,” said Cordeiro.

The Zoning Board had previously granted Cordeiro permission to construct a 57-unit project with off-street parking in 2021.

But Cordeiro said with the current economic climate he had to pivot, with plans for The Lofts at Hartwell Street project.

“Costs for construction over the last three years have gone up over 40%. At 57 units, it becomes a lot harder to build that kind of building,” said Cordeiro.

Building housing ‘clusters’:Developer Tony Cordeiro making market-rate apartments a priority

Growing portfolio of downtown residences

Before setting his sights on increasing market-rate housing in Fall River’s downtown, Cordeiro and partners Alan Macomber and Larry Couto in 2017 reinvented the former Quaker Fabric Corp. Mechanics Mill building at 1082 Davol St. into a $30 million mixed-use project on the Taunton River. It contains over 100 loft apartments that have been consistently occupied.

As have the Downtown Lofts at the 20 Benjamin & Nathan building on Pleasant Street, 18 market-rate apartments in the top three floors of the four-story former Trolley Square building at 30 Third St., called Downtown Lofts at Trolley Square.

Last summer, Cordeiro completed the former International Ladies Garment Workers Union building at 38 Third St., across from Government Center. By July, it was fully occupied, he said.

Most of the projects are mixed-use, incorporating commercial space.

“This will be our biggest downtown project to date,” said Cordeiro regarding the Hartwell Street project.

“But I have a bigger one planned,” said Cordeiro.

Taking the darkness out of Fall River

Cordeiro talked about his vision for downtown Fall River and bringing in more people and families as part of its future economic development.

Cordeiro recalls leaving his office in the downtown at night, “and there were no lights on.”

“I just think logically, it’s common sense. If you can bring 400 people to live in a little area of downtown, you have taken the darkness out of the city. If you can create that little population, I believe the rest will follow,” said Cordeiro.